There are only two bills left that I have to pay by mail: my second mortgage, and then more money to my second mortgage. This bank likes to drain me the slow way; they won’t lower my interest rate, but they’ll take principal payments…but only if I mail them. You would think they’d just hook a siphon up to my account, or electrodes to my nipples, and then give me two startling electronic notices that go zzzzzt “we got your first payment” and zzzzzt “we got that second payment you like to make…right in our P.O. box. Feels good.”
The bank that holds my primary mortgage (and the second one, and apparently the imaginary third one called “principal” that I like to throw all my extra cash at) is, I think, run by men. I started to get the idea that all banking institutions must be run by men when I was on the phone with a representative from my Credit Union last year and he informed me that I was now an “enhanced member”.
“Pardon me?” I said.
“I said that, like, since you’re an enhanced member, you get unlimited transfers.”
“An enhanced member? When did I become that?”
“Cuz you’ve had your money with us for like twenty years.”
I wondered why he didn’t say “your tiny money”. I remember driving as fast as I could across Phoenix one day in 2004, trying to get to the only Credit Union branch I knew of—tucked into the bowels of Arizona State University’s campus, well beneath the Nipple of Knowledge that dominates the library’s lawn, a public art project gone wrong—deep down under the desert floor where there are bathrooms that don’t get cleaned as often and arcade games that don’t get played. This was before my awesome cell phone skills developed, not that the Credit Union had a phone back then, but there was a pay phone around the corner next to a janitor’s closet, and I’d heard it ring before.
I was trying to prevent a $1500 mortgage payment check from clearing because a nice divorce attorney had told me that I didn’t have to pay my husband’s bills anymore.
I wish I had figured that out a couple years earlier.
It was too late for that check that time, and all the technology in the world couldn’t protect me from what a real person was capable of doing anyway. What a fool I was to get back into my car, sweat standing in puddles on my face, smiling the smile of a woman who thought that a stopped check would save her.
I know a lot better now.