Monday, 1 February 2010

Kiss, Ride, Pay, Weep.

I am a grown up. I am fiscally responsible or would at least like to be so one day. And so, even though it is Monday and the kind of day that should be speedily put out of its misery with gin and anaesthetic tv, I sit down and open the post. I sit on the hall floor with my small white pile of misery, so that the wailing and gnashing of teeth and fruitless recriminations cannot contaminate the rest of the house. I am facing my fears. Usually I just shove these kinds of envelopes somewhere far away, artfully hidden under piles of junk mail where they might, quite inadvertently, end up in the bin. How unfortunate! (Yes, this is pathetic. I am pathetic. An adult should not have to write a blog post about their inability to deal with bills. But I have it on good authority I am not the only one with envelope issues. )

Worst first: iphone bill. I am pleasantly surprised, even though it is eye-wateringly expensive at 450 euros. I had begun to fear - dream even, in prosaically convincing detail -that my iphone bill would be somewhere in the region of ten thousand pounds and I would have to sell all my surplus organs (there must be a few) on Ebay. This fantasy has been ghoulishly fanned by my friend, the wonderful Ms Deseine, whose iphone bill equals the national debt of Somalia. This is bad, terrible even, but it is sort of conceivable. Stupid, but conceivable. The next time I am in a foreign country with my iphone and alcohol is available, I will be asking someone to wrap my hands in thick black masking tape reducing them to useless, iphone impractical, flippers. Who knows, this might pass for a courtship ritual in some places.

Next: credit card statements. I mistakenly open the old one before the new one, so my pleasant surprise is dashed on the second, which covers the whole Christmas period. Bleugh. Not unexpected, but not pleasant either. If I look at it with both eyes half closed and the lights off, it looks perfectly fine. I will continue doing this right up until the moment the HSBC loan sharks come to take my kidneys.

Third: ominous looking envelope from the bank. I take a deep breath and open it, only to see that it is actually Elle PAYING ME. Hurrah!

I open the electricity bill completely blasé, the worst is over. Until I look at the numbers. The electricity bill is TWO THOUSAND EUROS. I start breathing again when I realise it is actually for the CFO's house. Not that he would ever run up a two thousand euro electricity bill, not in fifty years. I am filled with a cold terror for my own bill, but at least this one isn't my responsibility.

I stagger back into the light, where the boys are playing Mario Carnage whilst the dog, whose chair they have stolen, looks on appalled. I inhale forty three nasty mini muffins (trans-fats are good for shock) and contemplate the bottle of Smirnoff Black that someone has unwisely left on the table. I drag my eyes unwillingly away from it, and prepare a nutritious meal of grass and dog biscuits. This is no way to start the week.

Not even Kiss and Ride can save us today. The whole message board is trying to sort out "Voyage Perturbé", who wants to know what it means if a man on her train stares at her. There is page of page of vague, slightly philosophical advice and pages more of sensible people saying WHAT TRAIN WHAT TRAIN. I have been completely sucked into the hopeless poetry of Kiss and Ride. I even like the ones that go "Cherche femme qui ne veut pas être seule ce soir" (looking for a woman who doesn't want to be alone tonight) or the deadpan economy of "cherche plan cul mais pas le courage de m'inscrire sur Meetic" (basically 'want sex but can't be arsed to join Meetic', but the way they say it is funnier). The height of romanticism this week is Vincenzo, who would like the beautiful blonde to know that he was so aroused by the sight of her, he had to masturbate in the old SNCB toilets. Delightful, Vincenzo; I'm sure that's going to work. Especially since you don't even say what TRAIN you saw her in, you ass.

22 comments:

auntiegwen said...

Fear not, my credit card bill was £1896.13 for A MONTH.

And I have to provide all credit card and bank statements as part of my divorce so the ex mr auntiegwen and his solicitor can tut tut at my extravagence and general failure to be a grown up ness.

Em said...

I would ride the trams with no particular destination just to read the beautiful words of Belgium...

So,so understand what terror the post can drive into a frail person. It's hyperventilation-verging-on-wishing-I-could-faint-at-will for me. I once left the country and mother with a STACK of unpaid (because I hadn't opened the envelopes and it was her car) parking tickets worth over $2000. And that was back in the day when they only cost something like $9. I'd like to say maturity has changed me but it's just easier to hide it in the chaos of my life. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Oh no, you're definitely not the only one with envelope issues. It may lead some people (not me *obviously*) to not get round to arranging forwarding of their mail. Luckily some ex landlords are extremely scrupulous at sending it on. Bastards.

Do not have your hands taped. It would really really hurt having it ripped off.

I would never ever sell my organs on ebay. Imagine if the bidding doesn't even reach the holding price (or whatever it's called). Oh, the humiliation.

Fran

Lisa-Marie said...

I hate bills. After my mum died, I unwisely let my student overdraft go unpaid, and blithely ignored letters. 2 years later, there were debt recovery companies looking for me. I've still only paid a bit of it off. often we get to the end of the month, and take all of the money out of our account so that bills bounce but we can still eat. Also, all of our bills are in husbands name so that I don't have to open them.

Avoidance is the only way.

Anonymous said...

Never mind not making the holding price, what about the eBay cut? You should just advertise on Twitter like my friends do. It's free and you get to keep all the money.

WV = vishe. A Bavarian wish for cheap organs

Completely Alienne said...

I feel like that whenever the e-mails from BT and O2 turn up telling me I can check my bills - though they are not exactly 'my bills' as they are run up on my behalf by one of my teenagers. I wouldn't mind so much if it had been me.

jenn said...

Okay, CLEARLY Vincenzo is the one who perturbed the girl on Voyage Perturbe, who we now know is a beautiful blonde. N'est-ce pas? So the answer to "what it means when a man stares at you on the train" is... well, obvious. Don't go in the men's room at the station. Which is good advice, anyway.

Anna Lisa said...

I haven't opened a bank statement in months. The other day, I accidentally hit the 'display balance' button on a cashpoint (damn cold/fat fingers) and had to physically cover the screen with my hand so I didn't see the number on the screen. Now THAT's pathetic.

WV is 'whout'. Like 'without' but without the 'it'.

I don't even have an 'it', let alone any money.

the polish chick said...

alrighty then. i pay my bills on time. i am anal and scrupulous and highly organized, and more than willing to offer my services to the highest bidder. i am like super nanny for adults. but i charge extra for spankings; it's just not my thing.

the polish chick said...

yeah. with bills, i'm great and all that. i am, however, entirely and completely unable to force myself to continue to drop off my resumes with possible employers. that is my darkness, right there.

Z said...

You seem to be coping quite well really. If you're going to be spending a great deal of time in England, might it be worth getting a second phone with a British contract, so that there won't be an extra charge for overseas use? If that €450 is a month's bill, it's worth several months' contract.

awhirlinlondon said...

Damn you, lovely Waffle! I've just gone into a tailspin of listing the things I've not done, many of which involve the post and all of which have driven me to literally hide under my bedroom blankets, from whence I type. The worst of which? Can't figure out-- and can't bear trying to figure out-- how to fill out my tax forms. Which were due, along with my payment, on January 31st. At this point, can't even figure out how to log in so as to scratch head, wring hands and weep over patent incomprehensibility of said forms.

awhirlinlondon said...

Also? Have been ignoring frantic texts from 02 informing me that they've sent me a new iPhone-- that I've not received-- which either means that they're going to bill me for it or that they think I've signed up for a new contract. Or, possibly, they're trying to drive me insane. Whcih is working.

jonathan said...

I'm having to tear myself away from 'Kiss and Tell' for fear of spending all afternoon on it by mistake and ending up getting the sack. My favourite so far is 'Elena', who is writing to a beloved who waits on the other side of the train track every day and has done for seven years (I can't work out if this other party is her boyfriend or just someone she admires from afar, I hope of course it is the second otherwise Kiss and Tell is being used here for messages which could be as readily conveyed across the kitchen table). Anyway the post ends 'J'espère que, même plus âgés, on sera toujours aussi fous l'un de l'autre et qu'on se fera encore des "au revoir" au travers des vitres des trains. Or 'I hope that, even when we are older, we will be just as crazy about each other as we are now, and that we will still do 'goodbye kisses' through the train windows'.

The word verification du jour by the way is 'Throb', which can surely be n coincidence.

Sewmouse said...

In an effort to help make your day a little less fraught with anxiety, I offer this Video of Dancing Owl in a box.

Enjoy.

fd said...

i swing from one extreme to the other when it comes to those envelopes. i paid 100s of euros in the end to a hospital once for a procedure that took less than 30 seconds cos i ignored the bills and then moved house and then they employed people to chase me for it. but be warned: belgabastards are sneaky with the envelopes. they get other people to do them for them. for over a year now every few months i get evil letters from huissiers de justice asking for money for belgacom for a phone i dont have, services i dont receive and bills that have never come through my letterbox. and every time they change huissiers. i now have a standard response letter. i DO LOVE belgium. a little. ok, so that was somehow meant to make you feel better. it probably doesn't. but i hope you know that you are not alone in the realm of adult fiscally responsible/irresponsible. i take from your post that i must never ever buy an iphone.

monk said...

someone very wise told me that there was a Royal Decree or something recently which means Belgian iphones can't be locked to a network. This means you can get FRENCH and BRITISH sim cards and be as drunk and irresponsible as you wish. The downside (for those of us who don't have iphones) is that they cost massively more than elsewhere, but look! you already have one! Just get the King to unblock it.

Beatrice said...

me, it's 12 days till pay day , 00,00 on the current account, -800e on credit card. Eating pasta. Haven't paid the rent.

pinolona said...

The student loan company doesn't know which country I live in, and I'm going to keep it that way. Even though the interest is phenomenal.

My Mobistar bills go on my credit card automatically so I don't have to open them at all...

(wv - sunpot = can't remember, probably anywhere but Brussels in January)

ko0ty said...

I paid off an extremely high credit card bill in November and swore that I'd control my spending in December. January rolled around and when I got my statement I was sooo shocked. I did not remember spending that much (and I didn't have much to show for it)!! I guess that's what Christmas does to you. =(

Corte Inglesa said...

Oh god, reading this has all but made me break out in the sweats. I feel your pain. I've been lusting after an iPhone for at least a year now, but the thought of the bill that will inevitably come with it has made me back off. and i took years to pay off my credit card bill in England just to get a new one in Spain which I've quickly spanked. i'll never learn.

i read your Elle article btw - very moving.

bevchen said...

The money for my electricity is taken directly from my bank. I never even see a bill... just the statement after they've taken it. The Internet people also take the money directly from my account, but they do send a bill... which they charge me for. And I can't figure out how to get them to stop.