Yesterday was going to be a good day. Nothing to do, nowhere to be, I awoke in the morning happy and content. I took a long warm shower to start my day, counteracting the negative affects of the grey cloud cover that has continued to this day. Then without warning the phone rings.
It was only an 800 number, so I let it slide. I figured if it were anything of importance (something other than a telemarketer) they would leave a message. I got back into the shower, just before the phone rings again. Every inch of me is soaked and freezing as I step out again. Knowing the number, I answer it while trying to avoid dripping all over the receiver.
It happens to be one of my mothers friends, reminding me that I have to go up to the Department of Motor Vehicles to register my car. As I am unlicensed, and my mother happened to be working at the time, she offered to take me with her.
You see she used to work there a few years ago, and still likes to keep in touch with the women she worked with. As she was going up anyway to deliver some of her homemade ‘scrubbies’ it seemed silly not to invite me to tag along. We agreed to meet at 2:00, and I hung up. Barely acknowledging what I had just agreed to.
When I finished rinsing off a minute or so later, it was around 10:00. With four hours to kill I decided to start playing online. One of the first things I did was go to this writing forum I had found a few weeks before. I had an account there earlier, but I the night before I had created a new account just for fun. Kind of like creating a whole new persona.
I have done this on many other sites before, abandoning my old accounts to start a fresh new one. No one had ever caught me, it seemed no one even cared. I had no ill intent, it’s just how I keep my boring life interesting. But I wasn’t getting away with it this time.
“I’m going to have to ban one of your two accounts. Do you have a good reason for not using the hazledream account and pretending to be new?” The big boss man questioned.
I felt like a puppy that had been caught piddling on the rug. I kind of knew what I did was wrong, but I couldn’t really understand what the big deal was! It wasn’t like I was going to use one account the sing the others praises, or use both to go against another member I might not have liked.
I didn’t even understand how he found out where no other site had made any mention of it. I had used a separate e-mail address for the second account, a different name, and even a different birthday! How could anyone have known?
“There is a good reason actually…” I began typing as my response. But what good reason did I have?
My first idea was that maybe I could say something was wrong with my account and pretend that I was unable to log in. I typed a few sentences up before I started thinking. If something was wrong with the account, wouldn’t I have contacted them before taking action as is the normal thing to do?
I thought again, and tried to explain that something happened to my e-mail account that I used for the first account. Maybe I had lost my password, and I couldn’t have it sent to my e-mail address. So I thought it would be easier to just make a new account. Yet before I could finish I had some more doubts.
What if they could check and see if the e-mail account was still valid? I could delete it, but it is my main e-mail account. What’s more, if I had lost my password, wouldn’t I have at least tried to either contact them or have it sent to the e-mail address anyway?
I thought again, and came to the conclusion that they found out about the multiple accounts because I had used the same computer for both. So then I began a story saying that ‘we’ were two room mates sharing a computer and we both wanted to use the same site.
But I was stopped again by the thought that maybe using the same computer wasn’t the only clue. Maybe there was something similar in our accounts that hinted at the same person. Maybe I posted a link to a personal site on both accounts. The point was, I had no clue how they found out, so I had no clue about how I should explain myself. I sighed and then wrote this true and honest response.
“I’ll be very honest with you, there is no good reason. I’ve done this before on many sites, trying to reinvent myself. Make myself a different person if it makes any sense. I had no intention of using HazelDream again, but I had the responsibility to contact you to do something about it if I wanted to rename my account. I understand I broke the rules, and I accept any action you must take as a result.
If you are only going to delete one account, let it be hazeldream. And I will promise you to always toe the line after this incident. But if you would rather have me off the site completely (which you have every right to do) then I understand.
As ridiculous as it is to say, still I’m sorry. I had no malicious intentions, but will accept the consequences.”
Soon after he also responded with…
“I will allow it this time, and ban only the hazeldream account. However, please read the site rules right away. You only get one free pass.”
I was relieved! I figured since I had been forgiven, and since I had been a good girl with telling the truth, karma or some such would take care of the rest of the day and make it all right. And if it had been some feel good sitcom, that might have held true.
Karma covered enough of that afternoon for me to make the perfect batch of one bowl brownies before tossing me to the wolves. As soon as I put the pan in the oven and walked back to my room to get the paperwork ready to finish registering my car I noticed something seriously wrong.
This past Tuesday I had already been down to my town hall to pay excise tax on the car. Though I was far from happy to hear the Department of Motor Vehicles was closed for the day due to a state office shut down, I paid my dues with a convience check from my credit card.
I had brought a second of those checks with me that day to pay for the rest of the registration, new plates, and title. But as I couldn’t go there, I tucked it in with the rest of the paperwork they gave me. Taking a closer look at it, I noticed the dates printed at the top.
When I had taken these out to pay for registration, I assumed that the date noted was just a date for when the promotional offer that came with the checks would be invalid. But in looking carefully at it, I noticed some more writing I had missed last Tuesday.
“Check void for all purposes after this date.”
The date was 1/31/2010, almost four complete months ago. Needless to say, but said anyways, I panicked. Thinking I had just committed the most horrible of horrid crimes, I did what any 23-year-old would do. I called my mommy! Crying and boo hooing over the phone to her while she tried to give me options about what I should do, I barely registered any of her suggestions.
“Just go down to town hall and explain what happened!” she finally said with enough finality that I shut up and listened.
I mumbled something in agreement, and hung up. Soon after my mother’s friend called again as I had called her at the onset of my panic to cancel the entire afternoon out. She agreed with my mother as well, and said she would take me to town hall before we went to the DMV.
Shaking all the way downtown, and all the way in the building, I was amazed at how well I was able to speak. All that I was able to find out was that there was nothing I could do about it. The check had already been cashed, and all I could do was wait and see if I had to pay them an additional $25.00 on top of my excise tax. And if that were the case, I would have to come up with some clever funding as my regular checking account is tapped. Because, lucky me, they don’t accept credit cards.
Surely that should be the end of my trials for the day right? I wonder if I person could die from using so much sarcasm?
On the way out of town hall, I asked my mother’s friend if they accepted credit cards. She told me yes, before muttering something about not being entirely sure about it. Thus leaving me wondering for the next 20 miles about how I’d pay my registration if they didn’t.
I followed her into a building I had never been in my whole life, lost in a maze of cubicles and cement walls. She said hi to all her friends, people I would probably never see again in this lifetime. There was really nothing I could do but nod my head and smile as I had no common ground to share with any of them.
After what seemed like forever, I was finally taken upstairs to finish my registration. After worrying about filling out the right paperwork, and if I filled it out correctly, I was handed my first license plates and stickers and sent on my merry way. At least once my mother’s friend had finished catching up with another round of her friends.
When I got home, I sat down on a wet lawn chair to put on my plates, filed away all the important papers that remained, and went to bed until about 2:00 this morning.