Twelve years ago, I realized I was a wimp.
I had always been frugal, refusing to buy what I didn’t really need. But when I bought something, I nearly always paid full price. That all changed, after I took a trip to Morocco.
My education began when I lined up for a bus in Casablanca. “Sixty five dirham,” the man behind the ticket counter said. I fished out my wallet and paid him the equivalent of $10 for the three-hour ride to Marrakesh. Another man told me I owed more money. My backpack would cost another 20 dirhams. So I handed over the cash.
I carried my backpack to the luggage area and another man snatched it. He didn’t work for the bus company. But he tossed my pack onto the bus. Then he demanded 20 dirhams. “Sorry,” I said. I had already paid for my ticket, paid for the baggage. This guy was trying to con me.
He followed me onto the bus, spewing spit and insults. Opening my wallet, I handed him five times what he probably would have accepted.
Then I sat there shaking.