Sunday, January 19, 2020

more than zero

My brother Darrel should be a gerontologist.

When I was in Oregon earlier this month, he told me: "I don't understand why some people say they become forgetful in old age. It is just the opposite for me. I remember things that never happened." Amen to that.

I was looking forward to the arrival of my CFE (electric) bills this month because I wanted to show you what a "zero-peso" bill looked like. As you can see in the photograph, the best I can offer you are bills for 5 and 7 pesos. Hardly zero. And therein lies a tale.

When I flew north in December, I was not certain when I would return. But I knew there was a good chance that my home telephone and internet (Telmex), my cellular telephone (Telcel), and my CFE bills would come due before I returned. Rather than leave Omar without internet or electricity, I gathered up my old bills and trundled over to Banamex to make advance payments.

After I waited for the usual 45 minutes to talk with a clerk, everything zipped along. If everything was only my telephone transactions. The clerk accepted payments for about three months in advance.

I also deposited , according to my memory, a year's worth of electrical service. That is not as much as it sounds. Since I installed the solar array on my house, I pay only the CFE connection fee required of all customers. About 85 pesos every two months for my two meters.

When my CFE bills arrived yesterday, I was surprised to see any amounts (though small) were due. I thought I had paid enough for a year in advance.

I was ready to take my bank receipt to the CFE office on Monday demanding to know what had happened to my money. Fortunately, I looked at the receipt -- and it all came back.

When I tried to pay for a full year, the bank clerk told me CFE would allow the bank to receive only the equivalent of the amount on the last bill. He then asked if I wanted to pay the bank's service fee out of the payment I had handed him or to make an additional payment for the fee.

I was a bit distracted by the limited amount I could pay, and I must have mumbled something. Because I handed him no other payment, he assumed I wanted the fee to be taken out of the CFE payment I had just made. Meaning, I had handed him 12 pesos less than was necessary to close the deal.

And that is why CFE was now telling me I owed an additional 12 pesos. Because I do.

Even though the mystery has been solved, I will still drive to 
Cihuatlán tomorrow to deposit a year's worth of money in my accounts. 2020 is going to be a travel year for me, and I do not want to miss bills that may arrive in my absence.

Come March, I may be able to show you a zero-peso electric bill.

Unless I remember something else that did not happen.

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