Seven April, Twenty Twenty-One
Was I always like this? Maybe. I don’t remember now. But I can almost hear the ticking and dings that go on all the time. Every person I speak with, every door I walk through, every choice I make every day gets ticked through my never-resting story-seeking brain. And a remarkable number of these events turn into ideas that turn into stories. Sometimes very good stories. Not always.
I’m like a truffle-hunting pig and stories are my truffles.
So seeing, of all things, a Bitcoin ATM in, of all places, a tiny store at the corner of West Houston and Varick, really got the motor running. I’ve been diddling around with what to do with that item in that location for months. As often happens I’ve had a number of false starts. Sometimes I walk away after a couple of these wild goose chases but there are always very determined truffles that won’t be denied.
This is one. However, instead of trying to turn the oddity of a Bitcoin ATM — the only one I’ve ever seen anywhere, btw — in a dingy little candy store into some clever bit of flash fiction, I’m taking the easy route. What it is, where it’s at, and what’s happened in that curious little corner store.
This tiny, hole-in-the-wall corner candy shop is where I got my passport photo when it was time to renew my passport several years ago. The friendly gentleman behind the counter came over to the window with his Polaroid camera, pulled down the window shade for the background, and snapped my photo. That man, who is no longer behind the counter, always called me “my friend” as he handed me my change or my passport photos. I hope he’s ok.
To be clear, this store can’t be called a deli or a bodega because all it sells are soda, candy, cigarettes, and lottery tickets. So I guess the handsome black and white cat who rules the place can’t be called a bodega cat. And candy store cat doesn’t fly (Ping goes my brain: there’s a story there).
In order to make this a proper story I suppose I’d have to try and find out why there is a Bitcoin ATM in such an odd location. Not going to do that. I’m on a tight deadline here with this project, writing something new and hopefully fun to read every day. Is this fun to read? Could be, I suppose. But also I really like the mystery of the whole thing. It’s fun to puzzle out how a Bitcoin ATM wound up in this completely innocuous place and try to imagine who uses it. In the numerous times I’ve been in there since it magically appeared several years ago I have yet to see anyone use the machine. I’m guessing you can slide your debit card or credit card into the slot and move whatever amount of Bitcoinage into your Bitcoin wallet.
I don’t have a Bitcoin wallet (smooth segue, huh?) but I did finally succumb to the call of PayPal and purchased $100 worth of four different cryptocurrencies. This is $100 I can afford to lose. I never invest or lend money I can’t afford to not get back.
For the first week or two after I made my daring purchase I probably logged onto PayPal three times a day or more to check my investment. At first, my hard-working hundred dollars leapt up to a hundred and ten. Then it dropped, stabilized, rose a pinch, dropped again and then again. Now it can’t fool me. Sure it’s up again but that won’t last. I have better things to do with my time than breathlessly checking that dumb number.
I have writing to do. The old truffle-sniffer never lets up.
But if anyone has ever used that Bitcoin ATM in that corner candy store, you must let me know!
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