Right now, I am sitting on the floor of my living room next to my dog, Dexter, who is having a really crappy day. He’s been stumbling around, weak and not eating. Just yesterday, I was gloating to my mom about how fantastically he was doing, wanting to shout from the highest skyscraper “my dog beat cancer!!!”, and then whammo, Dex is suddenly seeming like the end is near. Now I wish I’d just kept my braggadocio to myself.
I was planning on telling you all a story about something that happened to me recently, but now… actually, maybe now is the perfect time.
A few months back, I was having a pretty good day. I had booked a big job in the morning, had lunch with a friend who owed me money and paid it, went to the gym and did NOT fall off the treadmill (long story), did a little shopping, and headed home to walk the dogs and have a nice healthy dinner with my boyfriend. As I got off the train, I remembered the drawing for a sizeable Powerball lottery was that night and, though I never do, I figured I’d pick up a few tickets. I stopped in to my local liquor store and requested “THE winning lottery ticket, please” – a demand that I thought was much more charming than my liquor store guy did. I had $180 in cash in my pocket leftover from my friend’s repayment of $200 so figured I’d run to the bank before heading home. I never walk around with cash over $40 and it had gotten dark.
Now, I grew up in New York and I’ve never been attacked or jumped or even mugged. I’ve had a few strange men show me more than I’ve wanted to see, but all in all, I’ve been very lucky. But I think there’s something about walking around with a lot of cash in your pocket that just makes you a target. Maybe your posture changes, maybe you have a different look on your face, but it’s like a “tell” and I think the world can sense it. I only had a few blocks to go, but the streets seemed much more quiet and ominous that night. I walked by a man who passed very close to me so I started to walk quicker. Someone dropped something loudly across the street and I made a point not to turn and look back. I thought I heard footsteps behind me and I picked up enough speed to make it into my local Citibank ATM without trouble. I looked back but no one was there. The ATM vestibule was empty too. I exhaled, took out my card, and began my transaction; relaxing a bit as I keyed in my password and followed the deposit instructions.
I took the cash from my pocket and that’s when it happened…
The ATM opened its mouth to receive my money and then, very quickly, the screen said “Thank You” and then went black.
I am pretty sure I said “WHAT???” out loud to the ATM, which then spat out this lovely note…
I literally turned around in the small room to see if I was being punked. I love the “I’m sorry, I can’t return your cash”. Who is “I”?!? I turned back to the ATM, which was now off and then moved to the other ATMs for, well for what I’m not sure; some sort of comfort or support I suppose. I wanted them to spit out notes that said “That’s Hal and he always does that. He’s one of the bad ones. Don’t worry sugar, you’ll get your money back.” But of course, that didn’t happen. I was flummoxed. I turned around again to see if anyone was in the bank but it had been dark for hours. I looked back to the first ATM and hit some buttons. Nothing. Still off.
It had finally happened. I had finally been robbed – for $180- though the experience was quite different than I had expected. I think I was just as shocked as I would have been had a knife been pulled. Well, shocked in a different way I suppose. But still!
I walked the remaining few blocks home – suddenly feeling it was us citizens against the banks of the world and therefore much safer on the street. I got home and jumped at the first thing my eyes saw… a plateful of a new cookies I have been mastering. I took the plate, beckoned my dogs, and sat on the couch, devouring the batch as I watched none of my Powerball numbers get drawn.
Sometimes when you’re an adult, it’s ok to have cookies for dinner.
I did call Citibank of course, who managed to credit the money to my account within a few days. They didn’t sound the least bit shocked that it had happened either. I might walk around the city with a lot of cash again, but I’m never trusting another ATM with it.
So then, cookies for dinner you say? They had better be some awesome cookies.
I had been thinking about fusing my two favorite cookies – oatmeal and gingersnaps, for some time. Then I came across an old Cook’s Illustrated recipe which did it almost perfectly. I don’t think their cookies were gingery enough though, so I changed a few things and made it my own.
I think it’s very important to make sure your dried ginger isn’t too old because its distinctive spiciness turns weak after a few months.
Makes 3 dozen cookies
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ cup white whole wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 ¼ teaspoons dried ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 cups oats (not quick cooking)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In bowl of electric mixer or by hand, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time.
- Mix flour, salt, baking powder, ground ginger, cloves and cinnamon together, then stir them into butter-sugar mixture. Stir in oats.
- Place heaping tablespoonfuls of dough onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper and bake until cookie edges turn golden brown, 20 to 24 minutes. (Halfway during baking, turn cookie sheets from front to back and also switch them from top to bottom.) Slide cookies on parchment onto cooling rack. Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.