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Later that Same Year

December 19th, 2006 at 08:41 am

The past months have been...just surreal. To put it plainly for a change, I've been trying to clear an account that had been sent to collections. Since the summer, the collection agency has been stonewalling the application of a settlement offer - which meant, according to the creditor, the account hadn't cleared.

We'd called, emailed, practically sent a message in interpretative dance, but it seemed like luck was against me here. In fact it got so bad that at one point, after I'd called every day for about two weeks straight, a rep from the collection agency hung up on me. Then hung up on the original creditor when they called to see WTF was going on. I think it was some computer glitch, I don't know. But the upshot was that I was in line for some aid that would have covered out the remaining balance of the account -- but only under the terms of the settlement.

With the settlement not appearing on my records, I couldn't get the aid. Without the aid, I couldn't clear the account and that was going to be a hole in my tiny lifeboat.

So we go round and round and round some more: more calls, more emails, more tension headaches and nails bitten to the quick. Not to mention the stomach-churning feeling I got when they reported that (courtesy of the ghost in the machine) my account had been cancelled and reinstated which (due to the rules of the aid) would disqualify me from getting any assistance for 6 months. Cue stress-induced vomiting.

Or when I discovered that they'd overcharged me 3 times after I sent in a one-time-only electronic debit payment. That week's menu: peanut butter, lots of water.

But last week, I get a letter in the mail saying that I just needed to approve a wire transfer from the aid agency to the collection agency. I signed the forms and gave the courier some candy, and then sat, trembling for about 10 minutes.

By now, I felt like Charlie Brown, gazing down the field while Lucy balances the football and looks up with a beatific smile and the promise that this time, she won't yank it away, no really she won't.

So I waited until today to make a phone call.

And they said to me, in a briskly efficient voice, that they've made a wire payment, but maybe I should call the collection agency just to be sure?

And I call the collection agency and they say in a similar tone that while I had a balance with them last week, I don't have one today.

And my head feels kind of empty and quiet right now, which is crazy, because that little number -- that zero, that ending? That zero is a tiny little chance for me to make a huge change in my life. And I don't know if it's an anticlimax or the center of the storm, because I feel like I've accomplished everything but it's coming at a cost and a responsibility that I can't even articulate.

So I'm back from the palaces and the temples and returned to the mundane world. Not quite in the condition I left in, but with some added goals and priorities.

Of course I am still at the souk -- for now.

4 Responses to “Later that Same Year”

  1. miclason Says:


  2. baselle Says:

    Congratulations on surviving two sets of bureaucratic morons. It'll be awhile before you feel free. Congratulations from all of us!

  3. Bookie Says:

    "The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceeding fine."

    I'm glad your foray into the underworld has yielded positive results. You make it sound like something out of the Odyssey -- satisfying the drinkers-of-blood in order to gain their favor.

    I've missed your reports from both the high towers and the marketplace. Welcome back.


  4. LuckyRobin Says:

    Wow, that's an important step. It's good to have you back. How are the camels?

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