In my home town, our electric company would send a notice to shut off power if and when your bill became 3 times your average monthly bill. So if my average bill was $100 and it reached $300 without being paid, then a shut-off notice would arrive in the mail.
When this happened, and thankfully it wasn’t often, I called them to make payment arrangements. That way, I could keep the power on until CP’s next paycheck, at least. They were good about working with their customers. It wasn’t often that our electric bill would get out of hand because I was the one in charge of paying the bills. Later on, when CP took over, he wouldn’t even open the damn bills!
This particular time I got behind on the bills because of doctor visits and we had to pay out of pocket because we had no insurance. I figured I’d just “rob Peter to pay Paul” as they say and as I had done many times. We were living paycheck to paycheck and sometimes we didn’t even make it. Borrowing money from my Dad or my Grandmother became par for the course.
When the shut-off notice came I really didn’t want to have to borrow money yet again, so I tried the old “rob Peter to pay Paul” bit and I just couldn’t quite work it out. Too many bills that pay period. I was able to extend the shut-off date by about 5 days, so that was something. I explained to CP the situation, and he told me in no uncertain terms that he would take care of it and was sure his uncle would help us out. Of course, I was skeptical, knowing CP the way I did. I made sure he knew the shut-off date, day, and time (which was by 5pm). “Don’t worry about it,” he said. “I’ll take care of it.”
It was Monday and 2 weeks had passed. We had until Wednesday, 5pm to get the bill paid. I reminded CP. He got that ‘pissed off for being reminded’ look on his face that I wanted to smack off with a cast iron skillet. I knew what I had to do because I knew what was going to happen. Just like always, I was the one who had to take care of everything.
I borrowed the money to pay the electric bill from my grandmother on Tuesday and went to the electric company office and paid the bill in person. I was relieved but pissed that it fell on me, yet again. I didn’t say a word about borrowing the money or paying the bill to CP when he came home that day. He had had 2 weeks to go see his uncle about borrowing the money. He had come home by 1pm nearly every day both of those weeks. What does he do? He waits until the last possible freakin’ minute, just as I knew he would.
He came home Wednesday, a bit later than he had for the last couple weeks. It was 3pm. He went in to take a shower. A good, long hot shower that lasted for an hour, I might add. It was now 4pm. He came out of the shower, got dressed and while putting his shoes on he told me he was going to his uncle’s house to borrow that money. I was so freakin’ angry I told him, “Don’t bother. I already took care of it because I knew you wouldn’t.” He started to raise his voice and say something. I interrupted him, “You and I both know that IF you got the money for the bill, by the time you get to the electric company office to make the payment it would have been closed and our power shut off. That’s what happens when you wait until the last fucking minute!” He was pissed, which I knew he would be. How dare I not tell him I took care of it already? How dare I cause him the extra work of taking a shower! I knew what he was thinking but he knew better than to say it out loud.
You see, he was a coward for such a narcissistic asshole. He knew that if he started an argument he would lose. He also knew better than to hit me because I told him after our second date so many years prior that if he ever did hit me, he’d better make it good because when I get up he’d be the sorriest son of a bitch that ever walked the face of the Earth.
Go me, right? It worked. He never hit me, ever.