Those of you who were coming to see me today in one of the places where they put the ladies outside the law and were perhaps planning on bringing a picnic lunch, cancel the plans. Don't devil the eggs. I have been sprung. In fact, I have never even been detained.
Instead, I heard from a nice young lady with a voice like the rustle of apple blossoms. She is a division supervisor in Banking and Remittance Processing at the Los Angeles Tax Collector's Office. Her name is Theresa Centi. The phone in her office is answered by a happy young woman named Zenaida whose nickname is Zenny. How fortunate that we do not work at the same office. Zenny and Zanny might be confusing even for those whose minds are as quick as yours.
Here is how I got off the railroad track before the 7:18 came roaring through. Gary, my friend in customer service at the Tokai Bank, called me and said the check I had written for the second installment of my Los Angeles County property tax had cleared. He said, "See, I told you they send them through twice."
He had. I told him I had already written another check with an extra amount tacked on for delinquency and mailed it in my eagerness to stay straight with the tax collector. He said, "Stop payment on the second check."
I pointed out that the second check had been written on my Old Lady Account, which is not to be touched and is with Dean Witter Reynolds in New York where it was already 7:30 p.m. He suggested I try the next day. I did and stopped payment on the check that included the delinquency charge.
Here comes the part that makes the whole thing like a magic dream. This morning I heard from Theresa Centi, who said I wasn't delinquent after all. I was relieved, thinking that delinquency at my age was not only ridiculous, but well nigh impossible. I told Theresa that I had stopped payment on the duplicate check and she said she would try and find it lest it finally escape and get through the system to Dean Witter Reynolds in New York.
She did and called me a few minutes ago and said she was, even then, holding the check in her hand. She is now searching through the maze for a smaller check, which I had been informed I owed and which I will not explain to you because it makes me whimper. I have also stopped payment in New York at the Dean Witter office on the smaller check. The Dean Witter lady, Genevieve, was not at all ruffled by the flurry of early morning phone calls from Pasadena. She had probably decided, quite rightly, that one of the sweet little inhabitants of my town had gotten loose again, and was stripping the gears on her walker.
I am now safe from the authorities unless there is some other, well, loose end for me to trip on.
There were a couple of other oddities yesterday. I had been waiting for a check for some writing I had done. Yesterday, I received a special delivery package from Leonard J. Estrada, director of customer services at the Pasadena post office. Leonard explained that one of the postal vehicles that plies the hills where Patsy and I live had been broken into and the mail stolen and torn apart. The postal service found it and matched it up as best they could, which was very good, indeed. Patsy and I got some very interesting scraps back and I thank Mr. Estrada immensely. My check was there, half of it, that is. It will be no trouble to have it reissued and shouldn't take more than two or three weeks.
Then yesterday, I called to find how much theater tickets to the long-running show, "Cats," might be. I was given an 800 number and connected somewhere on the planet to a young man. I asked him how much the tickets are. He said, "In what city?"
I didn't know I had a choice. He said, "Chicago, New York or Los Angeles?"
I quickly decided that Los Angeles would be the most practical and he told me the price. This, of course was all done by computer. Do you think sometimes they might help us too much?
Last night, my friend and fellow struggler against the system, Phyllis Marlow, called and said that she knew what was going wrong. "There's a lunar eclipse," she said.
Well, of course, that explains it. I think it might be best to go on with the picnic to take our minds off the past few days. There will be quite a group. Phyllis and her accountant and contractor, Patsy, me, Gary from the Tokai Bank, Chuck Waterman from Dean Witter Reynolds who takes care of my Old Lady money, Theresa, Zenny, Leonard Estrada from the post office customer services and Genevieve. Do you think Dean Witter Reynolds will let Genevieve come all the way from New York? Sure they will. Just say it's Zan from Pasadena and they'll realize it's easier not to fight it. Things could get worse.