Okay, so this is going to be a nerdy entry. Consider yourself warned.
I’m the kind of person who balances their checkbook. Not online, like they do in the commercials, with a few clicks of the mouse, but on paper, with the form they send out every month with my statement. (Yes, I still get a paper statement. I know, I know, it’s all online, I’m old fashioned, so sue me.) For those of you who have never done this (possibly because you’re too cool or busy to bother with such geeky things) you basically write down the ending balance on your statement, then add in the money you’ve deposited, subtract any checks you’ve written that aren’t on the statement, add any interest from the month, and the amount you come up with should match exactly what you have written in your checkbook.
Let me just say this: when I come out even, to the penny, it is a great thing. It makes everything feel so exact and perfect, like folding everything in your closet and emptying the dishwasher AND having a perfect hair day all at once. I am no math whiz, but I get this great feeling of accomplishment (fleeting, of course, as in the next moment I usually can’t work my phone or manage to delete something crucial from my Tivo) whenever I finish and everything comes out exactly right. And when it doesn’t? It drives me CRAZY.
The worst part is, it’s never for a big amount. If I’m off seventy five bucks, I can usually find that by adding everything up again (I am fast and loose with a calculator, it seems) or discovering something I forgot to include, a check or deposit or whatever. It’s the little amounts that, no matter how many times I re-add and re-subtract, that I just can’t find. Like ten cents, for example, which was how much I was off this month. Ten cents! And yet, there I sat, pounding calculator keys, cursing, while my husband kept passing by, saying things like, “I’ll give you a dime. How’s that?” Not good enough, I wanted to say. And it’s not about the dime. I mean, it is, but it’s more than just that. It’s wanting to restore a balance to my universe, one way or another, and as long as those ten pennies are out there, floating around someplace, I feel all askew.
I know this sounds crazy. It IS crazy. Especially since lately I’ve been all about trying to relax, let go of my Type A-ness, stop worrying about every little thing every little second. The truth is, some months, I come out perfect, and some months I don’t. Some writing days are good, and some are not. Sometimes I find my keys easily, leave the house on time, and hit every green light on my way into town; some days, I’m behind even before I have to hunt for my keys for ten minutes, and then get behind the slowest truck in the world, spitting gravel back onto my windshield. Such is life. You’d think by now, I would have learned this lesson, and also learned to just roll with it. But it’s hard. Still, hopefully I’ll get there, someday. One penny at a time.
On the other hand…maybe, it’s some Office Space-esque conspiracy. Maybe it’s NOT my addition or subtraction, but some big scheme designed to make someone really rich. All those dimes have to add up to something, right?
Okay, okay. I’m letting it go now. Really. Letting it go…..