This is my week to buy 5 sets of lottery numbers. I have to admit I was a bit intimidated. I waited until the last day which is today.
I left work a little early tonight, at 4:15. First I had to stop at the bank to make a deposit. Then I had to decide where to get my winning ticket. I chose the supermarket nearest to my house as it was on my way home.
As the automatic doors opened, I picked up a shopping basket and made my way to the "Guest Services" line. I felt a bit nervous. I've never bought lottery tickets at the grocery store. I also am a novice at this form of legalized gambling.
I was in luck, there were several people in line which gave me time to get my bearings. On the second attempt, I found the correct form for the Mega-Millions game. My plan was to pick my own numbers, using at least one of the combos from last week that I felt good about.
I borrowed a pen from the service desk and pulled out last week's not so lucky ticket. The lottery form looked like a punch card. As I tried to find the numbers to x out, I found the numbers on the card blurry and almost impossible to decipher. Reading glasses would have come in handy.
The line was starting to grow, but lucky for me it was slow going. I gave up trying to make out the numbers and changed strategy. Instead of choosing my numbers, I made pretty patterns with my x's. This took me back to my school-days. I would do this on multiple choice exams when I did not know the answers.
I overhead two men behind me in line talking about a recent winner who didn't realize he had been filling out his card upside down until after he finished picking what turned out to be the winning numbers. This story gave me hope that being sight impaired might enhance my chances of winning.
I had just finished my picks when it was my turn for service. I was a bit uncomfortable and nervous, like I was buying something illicit. I held my breath as the clerk ran the ticket through the machine.
The card was rejected. The clerk studied the ticket to see why. "Come on, come on, come on..." I said silently as I squirmed.
I had forgotten to pick the + number in each row.
"Do you want to pick the numbers or have them done on auto-pick" the clerk asked.
"Auto!" I tersely answered. I didn't want to hold up the line.
The card was put through and rejected again. The clerk scanned my ticket and discovered that I picked an extra number on one line. I guess I was too focused on pattern making and trying to pick in a hurry. He asked which number I wanted to get rid of and I randomly picked the number 12.
At this point I felt eyes burning into my back like lasers and I wanted this to be over. I took a deep breath and hoped the machine would finally spit out my ticket. Thankfully it worked!
I snatched my change and receipt from the cashier.
I took my empty basket to fill with a few random groceries to justify my trip. I hurried through the checkout line and to my car. I felt a rush of adrenaline.
" I did it!" I thought to myself. I called David on my cell phone. " Do you feel lucky?"
I told him I would email the numbers to him when I got home. I also confided being proud of overcoming my fear of buying lottery tickets. He told me that I should feel good about myself.
I was doing a good thing. I was making a donation to our schools and helping pay for my children's education.
A few more hours to find out how we fared.
I feel like a winner already!
Update - Later the same weekend
P.S. In case you are wondering we did not win. In fact I only had one number right. Hope David does a better job this coming week.