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It's the very, very little things...

It's a BAG RAFFLE, for heavens sakes. One does not get exercised about a fifty-cent reusable bag.

Of course not. And one does not go to the grocery store to win prizes. One goes to Trader Joe's because they have those great bananas for seventeen cents each... or all those nifty gluten-free choices... or free coffee at the kiosk pushing something new (which one always manages to buy while sampling the coffee.) Still, after everything's loaded into the canvas/plastic bags brought from home, there's that subconscious tremor of anticipation in dropping the little ticket into the treasure chest whence winning tickets are reportedly drawn.

It's not like I haven't ever won anything. An actually useful paperweight award from the Georgia Mental Health Association for a newspaper series on "The Well Person's Mental Illness" years ago. I loved that series -- depression, addiction, anxiety, periodic obsession. I did personal research into every affliction, but on days I felt better wrote the articles. And imagine an actually useful award thingie. Of course, it's lost in the attic of a former life. Then there were all those knick-knacks from the bridge club over the years, and those women played killer bridge. There was even the four-day trip to Paris we picked up in a restuarant raffle, and the REAL biggie: a Literal Latte short fiction prize. It's not like I need to win anything any more.

Plus, I try to keep my addictions under control. Knowing what I now know about nicotine and alcohol, it is necessary to remain calm (while dropping the little ticket into the treasure chest) about the possibility of winning a fifty-cent reusable bag. Once, on a dare, I dropped a nickel into a slot machine and got a pile of loot. It was touch-and-go to stay out of Gamblers Anonymous for years after that.

But the bag raffle. I mean, saving the enironment while grocery shopping? A no-brainer. You play the bag raffle lottery for a higher purpose. You do not even for a moment consider the news someone let slip about the bag raffle netting not just a reusable bag but a $25 gift certificate to boot. You pick up your bananas and go....... dropping the little ticket in the treasure chest simply as a courtesy.

One dark, gray, foggy San Francisco morning, satisfied with my history of significant wins and the conquest of all identified addictions, I was into my second cup of coffee -- some addictions we do not equivocate on -- when the phone rang.

"Fran?" said the friendly voice. "I'm calling from Trader Joe's. About the bag raffle..."

Everything after that is a blur.