Ice Currency


Higdon, Emerson G. (Mountain Pub, June 2001, ISBN 9780962317392)

No apartment building in suburbia qualifies as complete until it has its own laundry room. To pay for it, instead of tacking a few extra bucks on to everyone’s rent, we attach coin boxes to the washers and dryers and everyone keeps big jars of change. Each week when you attend to your laundry, rather than the pleasant sense of sharing a resource with your neighbours, you have the sense of an external “management” inconveniencing you for the sake of two dollars in dryer money.

A few years ago, a shrewd friend of mine started to strike back by manufacturing his own dryer change out of ice. He freezes disks of ice in his icebox using the plastic rings from the necks of soda bottles and then shaves them down to the right thickness. The coin slot never knows the difference.

I like to imagine the serviceman who empties the coin box wondering why the coins always feel damp at this building. The possibility that some resident has started minting his own ice money can’t even cross your mind. It just doesn’t fall within the gamut of reasonable explanations.

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