Friday, June 03, 2005

FOR THE PAST TWO WEEKS, I have been broke. And I mean broke. No money whatsoever. After getting the registration on my new (used) car transferred over to me ($52 fee) and after renewing my driver's license ($25 fee) and after taking out car insurance ($271 for the initial payment), I was way overdrawn in my checking account. I had no money for anything, including food. At work, I ate leftover Chinese food from the refrigerator in the break room (from group orders that I had not been part of) because I had no money to buy lunch from the cafe and no food at home to pack for lunch.

Then, today, I was looking for a utilities bill so I could find the number for Customer Service because I have a shut-off notice for tomorrow and I wanted to find out the minimum amount I could pay to get out of Collections so my attorney and my synagogue could loan me the money. The bill wasn't in the usual place, so I looked in a file cabinet that I have in my kitchen. There I found the utility bill. As I picked up the bill, I saw an unopened envelope beneath it. The return address was my accountant's, and it looked like there was a check inside. I opened the envelope, and there was a check, dated April 4, for $180 -- my federal refund. I must have somehow overlooked the envelope when it came, two months ago. And if I had not been searching for the utilities bill, I would not have found it.

Can you imagine how I felt, having found a check for $180, when my checking account is about $300 in the red, and I had no cash at all?

But this is not the end of the story. I knew I could not cash the check at my bank, because I had no funds in my account to cover it. And if I deposited the check, it would vanish -- eaten up by the overdraft. So I went to the bank that the check was drawn on -- which, miraculously, was not the same bank that I use. When the teller asked me if I had an account there, and I said no, she told me she could not cash my check unless I had an account there. I panicked.

"But the person who wrote me the check has an account here," I said.

There must have been something in my face. She hesitated, then said: "I'll cash it this one time, but I can't do it again."

I thanked her profusely, but still did not allow myself to feel the joy and the overwhelming relief until I actually saw her open the cash drawer and start taking out the bills. When she handed me the $180, in cash, I said to her, "Thank you so much. You have no idea what a good thing you have just done." And I said it with my heart in my voice.

And then I went straight to the bagel store and bought breakfast.

They say money doesn't fall from the sky. But sometimes it does.

No comments: