Am I Afraid of the Mean Green?

Doing a lot of thinking lately about the nature of reality and creating your own reality, etc. It got me thinking about the concept of cash money, cash in hand to spend on whatever adventure comes to mind. What does it look like. If I try to visualize all I can picture is $10,000. Why is this I wondered. Ah ha! I know why.

Way back when in the land before Credit Cards (in my universe) I used to travel with cash and travelers checks. $10,000 was the amount I usually considered a starting place for a journey. Why that amount? Because it used to say on forms to enter a country, usually the U.S. that you have to declare anything over that number. Whose business is it how much mad money I’m carrying anyway?

Why was I so terrified of having cash on me? Part of it was a fear that my cash could be labeled “possible ill gotten gains” and confiscated. Am I a tax evader or a drug dealer? Nope. But I just don’t fit into the usual boxes and that scares me. Maybe it’s not so bad now that I’m older, but a young women traveling alone with cash is automatically suspect of being a drug mule. I know this from personal experience. I have had my luggage spread out all over customs tables more times than I care to say because of this unfounded suspicion.

Could I simply be a woman of my own means who chooses to travel? Nooo, not in the reality of the soldiers in the war on drugs and money. I must be some stupid filly hauling someone else’s illegal articles or substances around the planet. Else wise, why I am traveling unsupervised? Yes, I have actually been asked this exact question. And the ever popular, “what does your husband have to say about you traveling alone?” Asked before even finding out if I was married.

Courtesy: Vasiliy-Kova/PhotoXpress

But do I actually have a fear of money in general. Now that’s a disturbing thought. I found an article on CNN entitled Are Girls Afraid of Money?  Disturbing reading to a woman who links of herself as all enlightened and liberated. Maybe not as much as I think I am.

Back to the visualizing cash. I have to wonder if using credit cards and other alternate less tangible forms of payment sometimes prevents us from visualizing abundance. Money out there in the electronic ether doesn’t seem real to most people I talk to. It’s all numbers and it seems natural to them. Their pay is directly deposited into a bank, payments made on-line or directly by their employer. Then these numbers get all jumbled around. “I have a 3 bazillion dollar mortgage, 80 zillion in credit card debt, and I need a bigger house to put all my junk in.” Are they surrounded themselves with possessions as a material example of having “things”? Sort like birds feathering their nest.

My mother in law constantly frets about money. She has enough for the next 5 lifetimes. However, she never actually saw or handled it. Even in electronic form. Her dear departed husband had a tight grip on the purse strings. He doled her out an allowance for household expenses via a check written to deposit in “her” account. But he sometimes went through her checkbook line by line questioning her purchases as if she were an irresponsible child. No wonder the fear of spending or not having enough money terrifies her. She has no tangible concept of it really belonging to her.

I’m tempted to tell Mr. Husband to work a deal with the bank to make a 3 hour withdrawal of some mind-boggling, eye-popping amount of cash. Then bring it to his mother’s house and plop it down on her coffee table and say “here ya go, Mother. Can you spend this is you lifetime? Don’t think so? OK, well now that you’ve seen it, I’ll put it back  in the bank cuz it is not gonna fit in your mattress.”  Hey, I want to see it too, so I can picture it in my brain.

8 responses

  1. I’m afraid of not having enough of it!

    1. Well ya, that too 🙂

  2. Cheques are very hard to use in Australia – I haven’t had a cheque book for about 15 years. While you can use a cheque to pay for your utility bills, no-one does. Debit cards for everything.

    Cash can be difficult in some places, I know.

    As for travelling “unsupervised” it is only very recently that women in Mozambique have been allowed to cross the border alone without a letter of authority from their husband or, if single, their father.

    $10,000? WOW! I think the most I’ve ever travelled with would be $3,000! EVER! Not including airfares, of course. I NEVER carry more than $100 in cash of the local currency, except in Japan where it is VERY difficult to withdraw cash or exchange travellers cheques.

    Many African countries (Nigeria being one) will not accept travellers cheques anywhere. You cannot cash travellers cheques at all. Cards or cash only.

    1. It’s fascinating how each country has its own idiosyncrasies just like people. Many women don’t realize how precious freedom is because they already have it. I was at a middle eastern restaurant once where the men were eating, drinking and laughing while the women just sat there in their burkas. It was like looking at ghosts in black shrouds.

      The 10K was because I was going to be traveling around for months with no set itinerary and buying plane tickets, train tickets, etc. I don’t carry huge wads of cash when I already have it planned out.

  3. I can’t believe you were asked if you’re traveling unsupervised! How rude!

    1. Oh believe it. I consider myself lucky that I didn’t get cavity searched. But that really isn’t necessary anymore with those handy dandy strip-o-matic machines at the airports now.

  4. You’re not alone in your thinking about money. I believe a lot of men have similar thoughts . . . and fears. Our world has become so electronic and digital and we’re sold on the convenience of dealing in “virtual” money – that we may have lost sight of the “real McCoy.” Believe it or not, I know some people who have had cold hard cash refused for payment. So, what does that tell us?

    1. Oh I believe it. It actually happens a lot when you think about it. It’s difficult to rent a car or a hotel room without a credit card. Cash only is not good enough. I have had cash refused when trying to buy stamps from the outsourced mail room at the office a used to work in. They only accepted checks.

      Wikipedia: Federal Reserve Notes are legal tender, with the words “this note is legal tender for all debts, public and private” printed on each note.

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