I stood patiently in line, trying not to look too anxious. I kept my eyes focused on the man ahead of me, with a slight smile across my face. Mentally, I was far, far away; so far, the impending winter storm warnings meant nothing to me. I hoped no one saw the twitch in my upper lip. Soon it was my turn, and I shuffled forward.
“Five Powerball tickets please,” I said, and held out my $5 bill, resting my hand on the counter so it wouldn’t shake.
“That will be ten dollars,” the nice man behind the machine said.
Oops. I guess my lottery-ticket-buying naiveté was showing.
I didn’t win. The good news is that I no longer have to make the decision between architectural drawings for my perfect house, or decide if I want a mountain view or a waterfront view, or perhaps that of an urban landscape. I don’t have to pick the perfect state (yes, I was staying in-country), or if I want dark cabinets or light, or maybe a combination of the two. Even though I would now be able to afford several homes, I was fixated on the first, and it was going to be perfect. So the packing boxes I’ve started to stockpile will all be broken down and recycled, because it finally occurred to me, when I hit it big, someone else is packing my junk and they’ll bring their own boxes.
So what causes the millions of us who seldom buy a lottery ticket to think we actually have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the big one?
I blame it on this gloomy, ugly Michigan weather; and my penchant for dreaming. First will be a house that can accommodate all of my family and friends when they come to visit so they don’t have to cozy up in connecting rooms at the nearby County Inn and Suites. And they will come to visit me because they’ll want to swim in the infinity pool, and watch the glorious sunset every single night because every single day will be sunny and clear; and if they like my homemade soups now, wait until they taste those made in my new gourmet kitchen. And I’ll have a craft room with all the natural light possible that has room for all three of the quilters in the family to sew at the same time, and a special area with all the resources my genealogist sister needs. Oh wait, and a work out area where Hans, my German born personal trainer, will put me through my thrice weekly workouts. That is, when we’re not traveling.
Ah yes, traveling. In our own plane with a well stocked bar and pantry, with seats that actually recline without the threat of impaling the person behind with their tray table in the down position. And we’ll all pay the $85 TSA precheck fee so we don’t have to take off our belts when we’re forced to travel commercial flights.
Oh, the dreams went on and on, and my goal of becoming a philanthropist was actualized. I just hadn’t settled on a name for the foundation yet, though I had a clear understanding of my giving priorities.
To my Tuesday movie group, you need to know I was going to spring for the $5 matinee tickets and $2 popcorn this week. Sorry to say, you’re on your own, per usual.
So what’s the price of a dream? For me, it was $10 last week, but alas, tomorrow I will go to work just as I do every Monday, just as millions of other Americans will who did not win the big jackpot. I will have a smile on my face, and I’ll have the good sense to refile my undated resignation letter at home – yes, I was prepared to submit something in writing – you never want to burn bridges, right? The jackpot is up over a billion dollars now. Will I invest any more in my dream? I rather doubt it. I’m enjoying it too much just the way it is.