Since I couldn’t conceive of going cardless, I refused to believe my being placed in that group was at all possible. If the unthinkable occurred, I figured I simply wouldn’t spend any money for the week, rent and other revolving expenses either having been covered or not coming due until after the contest period.

Sure enough, the Universe knew I was simply not cardless material, and assigned me to the cashless group. Since the only time I use cash is for an occasional breakfast bagel at Magnificent Muffin (a cash-only hole in the wall with delicious, heart-attack inducing food) it would be a piece of cake. As I read the desperate emails of my newly-cardless classmates, all apparently caught without funds and trying to exchange small amount of foreign currency left over from their recent trips, I literally laughed at them. The fools.

Bad move. My family’s move to Mozambique got moved up several weeks, meaning I needed to send my passport off to their consulate quickly. And – you guessed it – they only take money orders. I thought of asking my wife to buy it, but while technically not disallowed, it seemed.. wrong.

The point is that going cashless is all fine and dandy until that sudden, unexpected, and unescapable cash-only transaction comes up. Until there is a simple way for a consulate, in this case, to receive electronic transactions which can be quickly and securely matched to paper visa applications – or until they move to completely online applications – cash will be occasionally necessary. From formerly cash-only transactions such as paying for drinks on an airplane or buying produce at farmers’ markets (where I’ve seen vendors accepting Paypal), cash is slowly disappearing. But it will be some time yet until it’s gone for good.

Or maybe the point is not to laugh at your friends.


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