Wednesday, April 7, 2010

For everyone who was ever in their 20's

Wake up on the floor, on the pile of white and blue blankets you call a bed. There are pink daisies next to you in an old wine bottle. You bought them for yourself as a treat, because you won a writing award and if you aren't going to celebrate it then who will? They were only four dollars; you bought them with your debt card. Because you have no way to get cash. Because there are no Wells Fargo banks in town or anywhere near. Yes, you've checked.

Outside your bedroom window the morning sky is bright blue and the young trees are covered in colorful birds. You stand up, feet on the cool floor, feeling luck race through your veins like caffeine. There is your boyfriend, so very nice to look at no matter how many times you look at him. And there is your dog, still asleep curled up in the pillows. You have these things. You have a car and a roommate and a seedling career that's starting to take shape. You have your own towels that match and a decent collection of cookware. By all accounts, you're doing okay.

On the way to the cafe you listen to music and sing along and the traffic doesn't bother you at all. You're drinking coffee from a reusable mug and feeling smugly responsible. Today you're going to work hard and write and make some money. Today is going to be the day when things really start to happen, you know? Oh yeah, you roll down the window and let the wind whip at your hair, oh yeah, today is the day.

And in the evening when it grows cooler, you'll pick up that nice boyfriend from work, drive into the hills and go rock climbing.

Isn't life a breeze.

Inside the cafe, there's that beautiful barista who knows you by name. You tell her what a nice necklace she's got on, you used to have one just like it. Then you go upstairs with your coffee, smile at the faces you recognize, open the computer and check your email real quick before starting work.

Whadayaknow, you get a mysterious message from your bank. You open your online bank statement and drum your fingernails against the table as the page takes forever to load. Maybe you start to feel anxious, maybe just curious.

You take a look at your bank account and see that the bank has taken all your money. A lot of money. Even money you don't have.

Have you ever had a day like this?

This is my day so far. My overdraft protection was canceled- after eight years of it- for no reason. And the bank never bothered to notify me. My last rent check overdrew, not because I don't have any money- but because I have no way of putting my money into my checking account. Because, remember, there isn't a Wells Fargo around here. My checks accumulate until I go to Vermont where I put it in my Vermont bank account. Because there isn't a Wells Fargo in Vermont, either.

Now I know what you're thinking- some of you who have really got it together- this isn't a great system. And to you I say hold your judgment, I'm only in Boone for a few more weeks and then it's back to Seattle, where there are Wells Fargos on every street corner, and on Fridays they offer free doughnuts.

So anyway, I was suspicious that I might overdraw, but it didn't really concern me knowing that overdraft protection would just transfer it to my credit card for the time being, and paying that back would be a snap.

Well, they cancelled the overdraft protection, meaning every time I purchased anything they fined me $35.00. Meaning those pink daisies I bought for myself were not four dollars, they were $39.00

Hey- all of a sudden, I'm sweating! The day is curdling in the sunlight. Am really drinking coffee? On an empty stomach? Don't I know better? Hey, is that my dog barking outside, disrupting the peace?

So....You load up the dog, forget the errands you had to do- the library books can go another day before being returned- and you go home to face an afternoon, possibly an evening, of arguing with bank tellers and bank managers. Trying not to multiply 35.00 dollars by any number because the math will only upset you. And don't forget the head hanging phone call to the parents to ask for help. Croaking, like a frog. Help.

Every time I think I've got it figured out, well...something reminds me that I don't.


Ali said...

With a few little details changed, this is my everyday.

elissa said...

Awww, is this why you texted me?!! (we're an hour behind in Madison)

Why is this story soooo damn familiar. I hope you get it resolved, that is definitely a bank error... and not fair.

fozz said...

i'll just leave this here:

perhaps a plan of action?

Rose said...

Oh man.. I overdrew my bank account in January, too, when I was using my debit card for grad school applications. Ended up having to pay Bank of America fifty dollars. But how crazy, $35 for every purchase?? Hope Wells Fargo gets it all figured out soon, Melina. :[ And don't worry, life is full of these snafus (especially my life). :]

Gabe said...

If it isn't debit cards, it's cars. If it's not cars, it's pay get the picture.

I firmly believe that I will never figure it out. Thank God we have good friends, tasty coffe and intoxicating booze; or life would win every day.

This is easily becoming my daily blog of choice.

Anonymous said...

About 8 years ago I paid my last overdraft fee. I then fired my bank and joined a credit union.
I honestly have no idea why anybody uses banks anymore when there are credit unions that don't charge you a fee for not having money. This goes especially for Wells-Fargo, which is the devil.

fire your bank, fiiiirrre themmmmm!