One night my ultimate hostess sister and her husband took me out for supper. When he went to pay the bill, we were laughing at the thickness of his billfold. Sorting through his cards, he hilariously justified the need to have each one in his hip pocket at all times. Playing along, I pulled out my measly-in-comparison stack, from Voter Registration to Belk’s Bra and Panty Club. (“Betcha’ don’t have one of these,” I kidded.) (He didn’t.)
All well and good—until the next morning when I went to pay a bill online using my credit card. Not in my wallet. I hate that feeling—which I’ve experienced several times, unfortunately. After the usual thorough search of pockets, purse, and car, I called the restaurant. Hadn’t been turned in there. So I zeroed in on my most recent transaction and called a gas station downstate where I’d stopped. Yup, they had it. Great. Could they please mail it to my sister’s address? Nope. They had to destroy it.
Thus began my major infrastructure accident while on the road. Card was cancelled, a new one issued with a different #. Could they mail it to my sister’s address? Nope—had to go to home address—where mail was not being delivered-so, I called… Okay, this story is essentially quite boring, with many more details of managing finances on a major trip without benefit of a credit card. And yet, there were gains.
Even though there was some insecurity, I found the challenge of a “hand-to-mouth” existence invigorating. Could I sell enough books at an evening event to fill my gas tank the next morning?Another good part was being reminded anew of my privileged life and able to stay calm in the assurance that my resources would not fail me. Friends and relatives would cash my checks, if necessary. Or I could do this… or that… I wouldn’t be on the street. I wouldn’t miss a meal. Not knowing exactly where the next dollar would come from was “faux poverty,” not the debilitating daily grind endured by those actually living in poverty.
There were two other infrastructure issues woven into the tour: using my car as a warehouse, continually having to shift books and materials around so that I had what I needed going into each event; and, my brand new android smartphone. While enabling me to receive email on the road as well as process credit cards, the learning curve for a person of my limited tech savvy is steep and the transition time lengthy… which keeps me yearning for the days when phones could not be lost or go dead or ring in church.
Anyway, my infrastructure hung together fairly well on this major journey. In the next installment, I shall tell about my surprise and delight at how drama became an important part of my book tour adventures.