Posted by: Patti Dickinson | 02/28/2014

What I learned about myself at the bagel shop this morning


9776057I’m outdated. I’m a regular at Einstein Brothers. I go right by this place every morning and a couple of mornings a week, I will stop in for some high octane caffeine and/or a bagel.  Asiago cheese, plain cream cheese, not toasted.  I know, fat overload.  But I don’t have lunch.  That’s how I justify that dollop of cream cheese.

This particular morning, I was fishing in my wallet for enough change to make the purchase, and I apologized to the cashier for taking so long.  She said, “Oh, no worries.”  She followed that comforting comment with, “Do you know I actually had some woman in here who wrote a check?  I detected a sneer as she said “check”.

Yup.  Outdated.  I write checks.  I write lots of checks.  Mainly because I don’t like having a whole pocketful of receipts.  Because (better sit down for this one…..) I still write the debit card amounts in a check register.  If you’re younger than 35 you probably have no idea what a check register even is.

Here’s where it gets gritty. Confession: I b.a.l.a.n.c.e. my checkbook.  There, it’s out.

In 2014, that probably makes the short list of OCD characteristics.  As I have explained to my kids dozens of times, the check-the-balance-online is built on a false premise.  It presumes that every purchase is accounted for.  So the chances of an overdraft are high.  Believe me, I have lots of teenage/college kid examples to be pretty darn sure that I don’t need a Nielson poll to prove my point.

I know it takes time.  Time I can’t ever get back.  But it’s so ingrained.  And I live with someone who rarely, if ever thinks it important to leave me the receipts for his purchases.  The receipts?  In his dresser drawer.  Smushed into the cup holder in his car.  Or in the lint filter of the dryer. So when the statement comes in the mail, and I start uncovering dozens of things that didn’t get written into the check register, he knows to lay low.  This woman is now in kerfluffle mode. Or he could go get a root canal, which would be less painful than me storming around the house saying, “DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY OF YOUR PURCHASES DIDN’T GET WRITTEN IN THE CHECKBOOK?”  And to be consistent with my OCD leanings, I know exactly how many receipts didn’t get written in. And I have no problem sharing that two-digit number with him.

I guess I need to get with it.  I don’t pay bills online and for no particular reason.  I’m just used to the stamp method.

But my teenagers keep me laughing when they call from campus wanting to know their balance.  Or, as Meghan, my K-Stater found out, the gas pump just shuts off when you’re out of money on your debit card.  Imagine, a gas pump with no conscience.  It’s happened a time or two at Sonic as well.  There have been plenty of overdrawals….but there seems to be a never-to-be discussed-aloud competition in the Dickinson household to see who can get closest to a zero balance without actually overdrawing the account.  I think it was $.17.

Hmmmm.  Maybe I needed to spend a little less time insisting on please, thank you, flush, do your homework and a little more time on managing money.  The debit and credit thing.  Checks and balances.

Yup, I said checks.

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