Tonight, I’m looking for meaning in a mysterious dollar bill that showed up on the windshield of my car a few minutes ago.
I had been writing at Chick-fil-A for a couple of hours and left about 9:30 p.m. As I started my car, I noticed there was something under one of my windshield wipers. I was dumbfounded to realize it was money.
I got out of the car and looked around. There were other cars all around me, but none of them had stray dollar bills. I asked a couple of people nearby if they had seen anyone near my car, but nobody had noticed anything.
And now I’m left trying to construct a narrative around the mystery of this wrinkled dollar bill.
Maybe somebody wanted to do some small, random good deed for someone. Maybe that’s the only meaning. Maybe someone had a spare dollar in his or her pocket and stuck it on a random car in a fit of good will toward random humans.
Or maybe it was a token of good will from someone who randomly met me tonight.
Anybody who is around me for longs knows that I have conservations with random strangers all the time. Tonight, I talked with a young mother who had a 7-week old baby who had been premature. The baby’s grandmother was also there and the three of us had a pleasant conversation about the baby and the experience of having a premie. They seemed pleased to have a stranger ooh and aah over their little man. I wished them a good evening after 10 minutes and that was all.
Shortly after — right as they were leaving — I ran out to my car to grab my camera for a sunset picture. (The sunset has nothing to do with this story, but I’ll put a copy at the end anyway.) As I got my camera, I spoke to them again and wished them a safe trip back to Atlanta, where they were from.
Then I went off across the street the get a decent angle of reflected light in the clouds.
Could those people have been responsible for the dollar bill on my car?
I realize I’m stretching, but I like a narrative that makes sense to me — at least in some way. The random good will explanation seems more likely, I suppose, but it’s not the sort of thing I’ve ever heard of. Of course, I’ve never heard of strangers sticking money on the car of someone they just met, either.
So I have no explanations that make sense. I guess I never will. And this bugs me.
Does it mean something? Am I supposed to understand a message which I’m overlooking? Is it random? Is it intentional? Or is there some “message from the Universe” I’m supposed to see in this? None of the explanations make sense.
I like stories. I like explanations. I like the endings of stories to make sense — unlike the typical French film, but that’s another issue. So I’m sitting here trying to see a pattern or meaning or explanation, but I’m not finding one.
In a way, this reminds me of a mysterious note that someone left on my car last year, but this one makes even less sense. At least that note was in English, even if its intention wasn’t clear.
Apophenia is the word for the human tendency to look for patterns in meaningless random data. Maybe that’s what’s going on here. Maybe there’s no meaning. Maybe I should just pocket my free dollar and happily move on.
But something in me wants meaning and an explanation. It doesn’t appear I’m going to find one tonight.