David thinks I might be
getting carried away with the scissors.
"It doesn't have to be molecularized,"
he says ... his voice a mixture of amusement and concern. He is less
worried about me veering into off into obsessive-compulsive territory,
I think, than he is with the whole
emotional-female-holding-a-sharp-implement thing. (I notice that he's
remaining pretty firmly entrenched over there on *his* side of the bed,
as I'm cutting.)
"I'm having fun," I
reply. And I give the credit card another satisfying snip.
I've never cut up a
card before. At least, I've never cut up a still-active credit card
before. I've cut up expired cards, and cards with my old married name
on them, and cards from companies that have moved on to that Great
Trendy Overpriced Marketplace in the Sky. Last year I accidentally cut
up a brand-new Mervyn's California card before the ink was even dry on
the signature block: I'd inadvertently confused it with the expired
card it was supposed to be replacing. But this is the first time I've
ever sat down, of my own volition, and voluntarily taken a pair of
shears to a credit card that was still registering a pulse.
It feels good.
In fact, I'd say it
AMAZINGLY good, especially when you consider that this was my very
first credit card ever. Actually, this is a direct descendent
of my very first credit card. The original card expired a year after I
got it, and has been replaced two or three times since. But
was my first credit card account
-- something I considered
nothing less than a miracle
time -- and for that reason alone you'd think there would be some
residual emotional attachment here, as I reduce the card now to a pile
of plastic confetti. This is the card that funded my wedding. This card
has flown me and assorted loved ones back and forth between TicTac and
California at least a dozen times. This card has seen me through the
past three Christmases ... the last ten or twenty Critically Important
Birthdays ... gods know how many Tot emergencies and computer
emergencies and First Day on the New Job wardrobe emergencies. I should
be feeling sad here, shouldn't I? Or at least ever-so-slightly
sentimental? But I don't. Mostly what I feel is a lovely calm sense of
empowerment, flowing through my veins like liquid determination.
should have done this two
years ago is what I'm thinking
as I snip.
It's like every other
dysfunctional non-David relationship I've ever been involved in. In the
beginning it was all sweet-talk and flattery and impossible promises
made on both sides. I was so stoopidly grateful for the attention that
I ignored all the warning signs. Even when things started going sour --
and they didn't start going sour right away: that happened gradually,
over the course of years -- I still didn't immediately understand that
I'd aligned myself with the devil until I was in so deep there didn't
seem any way out. I didn't see the balance of power shifting until it
was too late. Towards the end of the relationship, we weren't even
speaking to each other. Once a month we would do our business, quickly
and dispassionately, and then we would go right back to ignoring each
other for the rest of the month.
It was sort of like my
"I guess that's probably
enough," I say to David, giving the card one last snip,
through the stoopid little Providian logo. I haven't even used the card
in over a year: this overdue snipping is purely ceremonial at this
point. Sometime in the next week or two, I am going to be officially
closing this ridiculous excuse for a credit card account, once and for
all. It's taken me months of financial and emotional maneuvering to get
to this point -- it's going to cost me an arm and a leg and another arm
to end the relationship -- but it'll be worth it, in terms of debt
relief alone. I've got another credit card company now: one that treats
me well ... one that doesn't change the rules in mid-relationship, just
for fun ... one that doesn't entice and overload me with more of a
credit line than I can handle.
(One that doesn't
charge me 29 fudking per cent interest.)
Satisfied that the
too microscopic for even the most skilled dumpster-diving identity
thief to reassemble, I scoop up the whole mess and head into the next
room. For a long moment I stand there and look at the little puddle of
cut-up credit card pieces in my hand: thinking about how much my life
has changed in the past three years, and about how much I've learned
about money in general (and credit cards in particular), and about how
much smarter and better and more efficient I'm going to be about these
things, from now on. And with that, I sprinkle the pieces of credit
card into the swirling water, ceremoniously, like the ashes of a former
loved one distributed over a tidal pool. And with that I reach out and
grasp the handle firmly, give it a quick decisive tug ...
... and bury my credit
Ohh. the storm of protest this entry
created! But I learned a lesson, and I have never EVER flushed a
decimated credit card down the toilet, not even once in the years since
this was written.
throw a rock?