The bills keep coming. They find their way through the small slit in my door while I’m away, relishing in their ability to surprise me at my door. As it were, the paper traffic often piles up on my dresser like a crowd of refugees, starving and huddled together, waiting for their fate to be decided.
But I’m no fool. Leave your dirty laundry out too long and soon shame becomes your roommate. I’m all for company, but in the past year I’ve grown accustomed to not sharing well with others—least of all with an emotion that demands that I feel bad about myself. So, to prevent such a happening and to absolve myself from the lingering dread of responsibility, I sometimes put them in drawers so they can’t find me. I don’t look for bills; they look for me. Truly, the best way to hide from a pursuer is to put the seeker in the dark—so, the drawers.
Eventually, this game makes me curious about who decides how much I owe the gods of modern comfort and what kind of device they use to measure and translate that into currency. Although most likely automated, I try hard to think about the man who writes them. He sweats a lot and wears thick-rimmed glasses, working with a scientific calculator with fancy functions into the night as he calculates the debt of my survival.
I am numbers; I am energy spent; I am a carbon footprint, deep and persistent. Every step I take is stalked by some measurement of my impression. Payment of debt ensures continued participation in society—and you don’t want to get kicked out of this club. When did the world stop thinking about my life and start thinking about my wallet? This dilemma encourages me to get cheeky: maybe if I throw out my wallet the world will think about me again. And then I realize, in that case, the world would only think about where my wallet went and when it would be coming back.
When I get to this part—the part that prevents the bill writer from getting adequate sleep with that kind of moral burden—I remember that it’s probably automated; leaving me no one to blame, no one to hate, and bills to pay.