November 15th, 2000

self portrait (escher)

The Money Saga - Part 1: Background

I tend to view money in terms of karmic retribution. I try to help everyone around me, and in turn the universe keeps me warm and fed. When I do something particularly useful, I am rewarded with my choice of material goods. My credit card bill keeps a running tally of how much work I have left to do before I can rest. Foolish, impetuous decisions are always reflected in the paperwork. Here is what I did this month, both good and bad. How can I restore balance?

This is an unbelievably stupid attitude for a freelancer to take. I know this, and yet I still have a very hard time forcing myself to bill people.

Because I've been in debt for so long, I rarely see the money I earn. So, it's hard to think of it as anything but an abstraction. Start rationalizing the abstract forces that control your life, and you're well on your way to forming a new religion. Just need to pass these delusions on to future generations...
self portrait (escher)

The Money Saga - Part 2: Twist

So, I'm looking at my credit card bill. I'm past the limit, with more money due than I'd care to think about. I've got a few days left to pay off the minimum balance, and am hoping more work comes in before I hit that deadline again. It's never fun when that happens.

Three checks arrive in the mail, each for jobs I completely forgot about.

Cool! I think. I can pay off a good chunk this month.

I briefly consider taking some of the money out to buy myself a toy, but decide against it. I'll be good this time.

I bring that up because I think it was a test. And look what I get for passing:

The next day, I receive a mysterious envelope from Washington Mutual.

Odd, I think. I've got all my money at Wells Fargo.

The letter says I've gone through my ten day grace period, and that they're extending the terms of my account for another six months by default.


It seems I have a savings account, with $1500 in it.


Not one to question fate, I rush down to Washington Mutual to close out this account. They decide to penalize me $21, but I leave with a check in hand.

...So, I'm looking at my credit card bill. But this time, I can pay it off.
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    confused confused
self portrait (escher)

The Money Saga - Part 3: More Background

I lost my ATM card. It's been gone for a long time. Every month, I wait in line at the bank to deposit checks directly into my credit card. "I'd do this at the ATM," I explain "but I've lost my ATM card."

This isn't always easy, so I had to call Wells Fargo's 1-800 number a few times to try and reverse the resulting late fees. Each time, I had difficulties getting through their security questions.

"No, I can't read off my ATM card's number for you, because I lost my ATM card."


"No, I don't know my checking account number. I lost my checks too."


"Amount of my last deposit? If I had that available, you'd think I'd know one of the other questions, wouldn't you?"

I'm eventually able to get through. They apologize for the inconvenience.

"No problem. I get this a lot, what with not having an ATM card anymore and all."

I hint and hint and hint, but none of these conversations end with anyone offering me a replacement card.

Sure, I could ask directly, but where's the fun in that?
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    amused amused