Today was a Magical Mystery Tour kind of day. Got up and saw the crisp blue sky, and the warmer-than-usual temps, and decided to let the day take charge. No planning, no scheme, no . . . nothing. I would let things happen as they might. To go with the flow, you might say, and to let life surprise me with it’s awesomeness and wonder.
It’s been a pretty boring day.
It started when I realized that I was a week late in paying my utility bill. Truthfully, I knew this a week ago, but I wasn’t motivated enough to write out the check to pay them. I spent most of the week lacking that motivation, and last evening it dawned on me that I might get hit with another bill before I paid the first, so I thought I should do something about it. I still wasn’t motivated to write the check, but I somehow found the strength within me to tough it out. Fifteen seconds later, I was staring at a newly minted check for eighty dollars. Because I didn’t want the utility to know that I’d been lazy this month, I backdated the check so that it appeared as though it’d been written on time, just not delivered as such. (Sorry, USPS.) All of this was rather pointless because I don’t mail my utility check; I take it to the payment box just outside the main office’s front door. Maybe they’ll think that whoever was in charge of collecting the payments screwed up. I hope.
Anyway, I kept thinking about the fact that I could do a lot of other things with the money in my hand. It’s a miracle that I actually made it to the main office; in my mind, I’d spent that check at least a half-dozen times before I got there. I walked over to the payment box and dropped in my envelope. Goodbye, five-pound bag of M&M’s. As I turned to walk away, I was greeted by a sign announcing the end of the payment box. Seriously?? This is a box outside the main utility office. No one has to go anywhere; just one employee with a key comes and collects the envelopes. And now they’re putting an end to that as a cost savings? Their solution – for those like me who hate buying stamps or hate paying using their wonky online service – pay it at a third-party station. For the unenlightened, a third-party station is another business, like the corner drug store (you know, some business that has absolutely nothing to do with the utility) – that will allow you to pay utility bills as an act of “convenience.” Oh, did I mention that the third-party station also charges you a fee for the privilege of paying your bill? This is a scam if I’ve ever heard of one. I guess I’m buying a boxload of postage stamps next month.
After that episode, I tried to locate an antique store. We used to have this large antique mall near my home; I visited at least once a week and usually walked out with something or another. I like old stuff – what can I say? Truthfully, I could hang out at an antique store for hours if it’s interesting. I like ephemera (small items, usually paper-based, like labels or boxes), and had a sizable collection of various items at one point. I stopped visiting this particular mall a few years ago, and it’s only recently that I’ve developed the urge to return. I heard that they’d lost their previous building, and that a new site opened several months ago. So . . . I was off to find it.
Unfortunately, it was a fool’s errand. I couldn’t find the new site, and it didn’t take long for me to toss in the towel. I’m not finished; I’ll just have to sit down at my desktop and look up the location. I’ve got two other antique malls that I visit, so it’s not like I’m without options. But this one had been pretty decent, so I’m curious to see how it’s changed since my last visit.
From there, I roamed around town. Visit to a gaming shop? Check. Visit to Barnes and Noble? Check. Standing outside a restaurant with a grill just to smell that charcoal aroma? Check. Because I’m looking for a particular book, I stopped at a local small bookstore in hopes that they would have a copy. They didn’t. But while there, I thought, “Gee, I’ll step in next door at Starbucks and get a small coffee.” Don’t cheer, kids – it was not to be. Fortunately, the gal in front of me took more time than I would have liked, and I used the extra wait to actually look at the menu. The cheapest size was $2.50. Now, for some areas, that’s cheap; not here. I could make coffee at home for the month for just $6 (and I make pretty decent java, thank you very much), so there’s no way that I could justify that. I promptly backed out of line, and decided to finish my exploration.
Later, a trip to Trader Joe’s netted me their Bacon Cheddar Ranch Dip (and a small sample of brewed coffee), and suddenly, the day did a 180 degree shift. It’s been a long time since I’ve had that, and I’m glad that I picked up a tub. It’s just as good as I remembered, but I’m starting to remember why I stopped buying it – the stuff’s addictive!
Maybe I was wrong. Today’s turned out to be a lot more fun that I could have anticipated. The weather was nice, the people were generally nice, and I’m sitting here with dip and chips. Yeah, life will have to take charge more often, methinks.