Monday, July 02, 2007

A life lesson from the hard-headed one...

Momma always told me a hard head leaves a soft behind.
In other words, when you don’t listen or take heed to doing things the right way, life is going to whup your behind. (That's right, not whip it, but WHUP it!)
Well, at 27, I’m still learning that lesson the very hard way.

I tend to tread carefully when it comes to revealing certain things about myself for the whole wide world to see. However, I feel like this story may be one that can help others going through and adjusting to some of nuisances of adulthood, like, um paying your bills on time.

See, I have a terrible habit of not doing that.

And no it’s not because of a lack of money, but more like a lack of memory.
Yes, I know it’s a shame. I can still hear all the childhood admonitions my parents gave me on the importance of financial responsibility.
Those same warnings followed me all the way to my college days when I had to make those shameful calls to mom and dad to put more money in my account because I’d shopped my money away.

However, I like to think I was much more responsible now. I mean I'm saving, investing, 401K-ing, the whole nine. Yet, here I am, a grown woman and not paying my bills on time. Well, let me clarify that – not paying SOME bills on time.

I just always felt like as long as I at least made the payment somewhere during the grace period, I'd be OK.

I’d come up with every kinda way possible to remind myself to pay these bills. Had moved most of those bills to online to make it more convenient. Even bought an eraser board to keep track of when each bill was due.

I think the last time I used that eraser board was in January… I bought it in December.

There’s one bill in particular, that always seems to slip through the cracks of my short-term memory – My car insurance bill.

Some kind of way, had to be God, that bill came to mind the other day and I called them just to find out how far behind I was so I could just pay the late fee and get on with my life. And that’s when I got the devastating blow – It was so behind, my policy was cancelled! Cancelled!!!!

I was on the verge of sheer panic but, thank GOD, we were able to work it out. However, not without me having to get an entire new policy. This meant that the bad dent in my car door that I could have had repaired practically for free months ago (but kept procrastinating to get it fixed,) NOW has to come out of my own pocket. That’s because, since the ding didn’t occur under my new policy, it’s no longer covered.

I could have cried when the insurance agent explained that to me. No, seriously, my stomach dropped, I doubled over, shook my head and moaned “OH! That’s a haaard lesson to learn…” rocking back and forth in the seat like a church mother catching the spirit during a fiery Sunday service.
For a moment, I coulda sworn I saw a trace of sympathy in her eyes. Of course, that was right before she burst out laughing at me.

And that lesson only got harder: Soon as I checked my mail after that, I saw a nice little notice from the Department of Motor Vehicles informing me that because they received notification of my auto insurance cancellation I'd have to either verify I'm covered and pay a whopping $125 fine or have my license revoked!!!!! I practically fainted reading that. I mean is this some kinda conspiracy or something]?!

And all I kept thinking about is how my parents would be shaking their heads. My mom did just that when I told her the news, of course that was right before she burst out laughing. (I'm still not getting what's so funny!)
I haven’t even told Dad yet. (Hopefully he’s not reading this!)
The only thing that gives me even the slightest bit of comfort is knowing of at least three people who've gone through similar situations. One of them was the chuckling agent.

And so now I must pass this reminder on to y'all: PAY YOUR BILLS! And pay them ON TIME or go broke suffering the consequences!

Needless to say, now I have my payments automatically withdrawn. I’ve always regarded that as a last resort, but clearly at this point, it’s the best one for me.
(Now I just need to remember to keep money in my account!)
The point is I’m not playing around this time. I bumped my head on this particular life lesson one time too many and boy is my bottom sore!

1 comment:

Adam Kealoha Causey said...

Dang, Joel. That is rough.