I have this old adding machine and for about ten years, the battery cover has been missing. It’s because of this I feel a profound sadness every time I pull it out of the drawer. Without the support, I know it will only be a matter of time before those little coils relax and let the batteries fall to the floor. But it would hurt me to replace a perfectly good thing due simply to the fact that it’s missing a piece. After all, it still works fairly faultlessly and if anyone appreciates a bit of help, it’s me. I can’t add worth a damn. I still count out on my fingers and have to write anything more than a three-digit sum down on paper before the numbers climb, trip and topple over one another in my head.
I used to waitress and kept a tiny calculator tucked into my billfold, never wanting anyone to happen upon me using it. Fellow servers let bills flail from their pockets or flap from their cleavage and somehow still managed to finish their close-outs ahead of me and my anally-organized stash of cash.
I once worked in retail and eventually learned to make my fingers fly over the chunky buttons without even looking. It gave me a sense of power, being able to ‘rule’ math that way. The bookwork to be done was very formulated and not much could go wrong. The numbers either balanced or they didn’t and if it turned out they wouldn’t, the mistake was usually very easy to find. It got so that I could do the hour-long nightly paperwork in twenty minutes – fifteen if I had somewhere exciting to be in a hurry.
Much to my dismay, today math lingers in my life and the only time I can call it rewarding is when I’m gauging the tip for a sneaky lunch at the pub. Things like balancing checkbooks, crunching numbers, logging endless expenses and estimating interests do not bring me joy. What. So. Ever.
I was cleaning out my junk drawer…zzz – Oh hush. Yes, I have more than one – near the end of 2013 and you can probably guess what I found. That’s right. Lo and behold, there, on the drawer’s gritty bottom, lay the battery cover for my old adding machine. I have to say my heart skipped a beat.
Never give up on something disjointed or incomplete. You never know when you’ll come across what you’ve been searching for. And sometimes, that little piece is all it takes.