I have found that it’s not the big, monstorous, knock-you-down things that get you… it’s the petty little annoyances… the everyday nuissances that pick at you… nagging and insistent… voices that whisper in the darkness so that you find no peace, no safe haven, no escape. For me, it’s a petty, paltry $4.15.
Most of us think of this as a small, inconsquential amount of money… and i’m blessed to agree. It is, after all, only a tiny fraction of the bill on which it was based. A mere four dollars and twenty-three cents. We spend more than this at the coffee place on a Saturday morning. I leave more than this as a tip to a good, attentive waitress for a meal in a nice restaurant. So you’d think I’d be able to overlook this little thing without much trouble.
Only I can’t seem to manage it.
You see, it galls me beyond reason that in a town where I’;m paying an obscene amount in property taxes, I must be further accosted for $4.15. Don’t they get enough money from me already? Aren’t they making enough to fund every progressive social program, every essential building project, every public employee contract? Do they really NEED my $4.15?
The worst part… the most galling injustice of the whole sorry little episode is that I planned and saved so that I could pay that tax bill on time. Being conscientious, I logged on and scheduled the electronic payment at the bank well in advance. The due date came and went, and only when the date passed did I learn something was not right… much to my utter surprise and irritation.
But by then, it was too late.
Even more maddening? NO ONE is a fault. The tax collector isn’t at fault… they have a clear policy, printed right on the paper bill I no longer use. The bank insists they are not at fault either… everything was processed properly and in a timely fashion. The bank says the bill was paid on time… the town insists it wasn’t. Both insist thy can prove thier claims. Neither is willing to budge.
So where does that leave me? Writing a check for $4.15 while I grit my teeth at the injustice of it all. Nobody did anything wrong and still I must pay… how can that be?
Add to this that I’ve already spent more time and effort fighting for my paltry $4.15 than it is worth… at least an hour of work time that bills (at a minimum) for $35.00. That’s not counting the time taken away from attending to the needs of family and home for which there is no hourly compensation. I’ve made all the calls… sat on hold and listened to music and taped instructions… talked to mindless representatives and determined public servants… all to no avail.
I can’t help but wonder how many more $4.15’s like me are there out there. If I was a conspiracy-minded soul I might even try to find out…