It is 3am and I have just got home from work. Once again I close the door and my composure decomposes but the earth is not crumbling beneath my feet this time. I am simply picking splinters out of my butt and swearing!
My paranoia is bubbling over along with my anger. This is INSANE! I just had a huge fright on the way to work.
I mentioned in another entry that I have sworn off credit and credit cards. I have only one bank account now and I use only one card. The bank issued me with a debit card some time ago which I activated in case I ever want to pay for something online but I have never used it. It was my intention to never use it.
Tonight I stopped in to get petrol and smokes from a service station on my way to work. I handed over my card and the man said the transaction was declined. I was sure there was some error — there were more than enough funds to cover the bill. I made him try again and, again, the transaction was declined.
The man asked me if I had any other cards and I said only the debit card so we put the transaction through as a credit purchase. Same bank, same account, no access to my funds but access to credit! On the way out of the servo I tried my usual card in the ATM they had at the entrance to see if that would let me access my cash. The ATM said I had a zero balance in my account!
I went into orbit!
ZERO BALANCE?? What happened to my savings? Pitifully small as they are there should have been more than enough to cover that purchase. All I could think was I should NEVER have gone against my pessimistic, negative, mistrustful beliefs about the safety of online banking. My mind went into meltdown and started screaming:
“SOMEONE ONLINE HAS HACKED MY BANK ACCOUNT AND CLEANED ME OUT!”
By the time I got to work I had myself under control. The only signs of my internal panic were the palpitations of my heart, the trembling of my whole body and I was not able to catch my breath. I sat down at my work computer and tried to control the trembling of my hands to log on but I was having a lot of trouble concentrating.
One of my co-workers asked me how I was and I looked at her, dazed and unable to focus. I said I don’t know how I am. I’ve just had a nasty shock. I told her what had happened and she suggested I tell the supervisor and ask if I could go home and check my account online. I just changed my access codes and have not yet memorised them so I would not have been able to do it until I got home.
I get on well with this particular supervisor so I spoke to him and he let me race home to check my account.
Turned out the service stations connection to the banks was down and my money was right where it should have been. I went back to work with a big, relieved, smile on my face and everyone was pleased for me. We talked about the pickle I would have been in if such a dreadful thing had happened. I have no credit card to see me through if my account is wiped out. They all said they make sure they have at least one credit card for just such emergencies. Some of them said they don’t use online banking for the same reason I never used to — they don’t trust it. Several of them had experienced eftpos machines going down and having to use a credit card so they didn’t understand my panic and fear.
It has never happened to me before so I was not aware it can happen. Further adding to my panic is the fact that unthinkable things have happened to me before. The most recent time an unthinkable disaster happened to me was last year. I fully believed this disaster, having my bank account hacked and cleaned out, could happen to me. Given my predisposition to pessimism I also believed it HAD happened to me!
Once I reassured myself it had not happened I was able to settle down and do my job but there are lingering questions.
Everyone I know, and I do mean everyone, has a credit card of their own or the use of someone else’s credit card. Everyone seems to accept the need to have at least one credit card. Is it really true that it is not possible to live in today’s world without at least one credit card? If I had not had the ability to press “credit” on my other card I would have been in big trouble tonight.
The Aries ram in me is snorting and digging the hooves in. I will NOT be forced to do this! I will NOT be forced to use credit when I have made up my mind I don’t want to use it! I’m not sure exactly how, or if, I will be able to avoid it but I intend to give it a damn good try.
The first of my new rules is to always have enough cash to pay for the petrol I put into my car in case this happens again. I could have avoided pressing “credit” if I had not put so much petrol in. I could have let him put the smokes and sandwich back but it wasn’t possible to return the petrol.
I tend to be a little eccentric at times. This is one of them. I have drawn my line and I will defend it no matter how inconvenient it becomes for me. I’ll tilt at this windmill since it will harm nobody if I do. It will become another of my personal triumphs if I am able to beat the system and become someone who doesn’t ever use credit.
As far as I am concerned credit has just cemented its place in my mind as the most likely contender for how “the mark of the devil” will be stamped upon us. My battle with credit may cause me to fall on my butt and have to pick the splinters out again some day but “the mark of the devil” is not going to catch me with my pants down!
OK — OK — I know I’m being paranoid. I have not been able to completely rid myself of negative thinking, paranoia, and anxiety so sometimes I just have to channel them somewhere relatively harmless. I prefer to be suspicious of, and go into battle with, concepts and ideas like credit and gambling than have people become the focus or the target of my paranoia.
Sometimes I just like to be Don(na) Quixote and tilt at windmills hehehe