Where I Wish Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie Cameoed in My Life Instead

Last Monday my phone lit up with a call from an 888 number. I thought it might be a telemarketer or some other type of solicitor, so I didn’t answer the phone.

Whoever called did leave a message.

I listened to the message.

The person who left the message said she was from my bank’s [static] department and to call a number at [static].

I listened to the message again to see if I could understand more of it.

Then I decided to check my bank account online.

Fancy. There were two $100 charges from gas stations somewhere in Texas in the past five days. Thank goodness it wasn’t more, but still: $200 is a lot of money.

The last time I was in Texas was February 2008 for the Austin half marathon. If my information was stolen then, would the perps have waited six years to use it? Besides, I’ve changed my debit card at least once since then.

From the partial voicemail message and looking at my bank account, the puzzle pieces finally fit together to form a very annoying, cussworthy story. But since I still couldn’t discern the static for the number on my voicemail for the bank’s fraud prevention department, I called the general customer service number instead.

I explained my situation to a nice person. He went to get someone from fraud.

The person from fraud was also very nice. I told him about the suspicious debits. He told me that he’d file a claim and send me another debit card overnight.

He also told me that it would take up to 90 days to reverse the charges. At the time that sounded like a horribly long time to wait, but both debits were readjusted just two days after this phone call. And since I couldn’t see my online account until I activated the new card, I had no idea that my account had been reimbursed. (I could have called and found out, but I decided to wait.)

While the nice fraud department guy was processing the claim, he saw that the bank had already sent me a replacement card by regular mail. He said my card was one of the compromised ones from the holiday season. He asked if I shopped at any of the places featured on the news for having customer debit card information stolen.

I said that during Christmastime, I had definitely shopped at the place whose company logo looks like a bull’s eye. A red circle surrounding a large red dot.

Hackers. They got me.

My new debit card arrived in the mail a week later. I activated it and regained online access to my account. While I don’t use my debit card a lot, it’s nice to have the account and my information (somewhat?) secure. It just bothers me that people out there have no qualms about stealing other people’s private information and spending their money. It bothers me hard.

Thankfully everything ended well for me. I hope all the other hacking victims were just as fortunate.

Graceland

Today, my student loan grace period ends.

It’s hard to believe six months have passed since graduation. Sitting in the Marriott Center, falling to sleep to Elder Oaks’s commencement speech. I only slept because my friends who sat by me made me so very comfortable. The hour before, we happened to find each other in that giant mob of the School of Humanities, all of us scattered about in the ASB parking lot, and it’s not like we planned it. We’re humanities majors; our degrees were not in planning. But we stood in the sun, waited for our cue, marched into the arena. Passed by professors in their regalia while “Pomp and Circumstance” blared. I wonder if Sir Edward Elgar ever got annoyed by how long his piece could be.

I could not have been more honored sitting with these friends:

Maddie thinks big and likes small houses. She’s passionate for noble causes and homemade pickles.

Jen, “Ms. Magna,” was so very ready to take her vacation to Ireland and wants to take on a certain spritely dancing violinist.

Stephanie, was more or less on her way to an internship in France, because if you can change France, you change the world.

Bridgette has already landed a job, and her mind is anywhere but Provo. She might be too smart for her own good.

The five of us. A juggernaut of awesome women. BYU graduates. Ever so ready to take on the world.

I wish we would have gotten a picture.

Always, I’ll feel indebted, but friends are the kind of grace never ends.

Because the World Never Ceases to Amaze Me. Because You’re In It.

And I’m too lazy to write anything. But, I’m feeling sappy and nostalgic, so here’s a chat. Or a few. I’m just grateful some of you out there can take advantage of my waking hours. It’s nice feeling helpful. And in touch with the outside world. Just know that I love talking with you guys.

Also, sorry about all the brackets and vaguenesses.

ONE
Friend
: lol

  oh, here’s something else to get outraged about
  so you’ve heard about the verizon strike
 me: ok
 Friend: the company makes a profit of 108 billion a year.
they currently have a health plan that gives free care to their retirees, and their current employees get health care but have to pay copays.
they are on strike because the company wants each employee to contribute $20k a year for the health plan.
  this will save the company $1 billion. So they can make $109 billion a year instead.
  their top 5 executives make something like $525 million.
how freaking ridiculous is that?
 me: holy what
  okay, i like capitalism for all its good qualities
  but this
  THIS
  THIS
why??!!!??
Friend: i know.
  i’m thinking vancouver might be a good place to move to.
  i’ve heard it’s pretty.
 me: me, too
  maybe i’ll see what’s there in terms of grad schools
Friend: you can scope it out for us. cuz this country is too stoopid to survive. i read something today that half the reason the economy sucks so badly is that the majority of people don’t have money to spend, so they don’t. the few who do have money (the top 5%) have too much money to know what to do with.
  so no jobs, etc.
  fun, right?
well, now that i’ve gotten you all outraged, time for me to run. talk to ya later!
 me: jerk
  thanks a lot
  😉
***
TWO
me: hi
Bro-friend: Heya. You’re up late
 me: i am
  you’re up as usual
Bro-friend: Indeed.
me: i can’t sleep
  but i have to
 Bro-friend: Did you drink Mt Dew again?
me: a little
  🙂
  but i’ve had problems before that
 Bro-friend: Hmm.
 me: it’ll be fine
  i’ll get to sleep soon
Bro-friend: I’m going to exploit it first.
  Question:
me: yes
Bro-friend: From what you’ve read of the writing project, what do you think the impact would be, either good or bad, of inserting a section [here].
In this hypothetical section, the reader is privy to a long conversation with very little scene-setting [here].
me: do you want that kind of a shift?
 Bro-friend: Well, it’s coming one way or the other, question is does it belong there or after.
me: you’re building toward something. will the section continue that build or interrupt it in a way that may or may not work
  the description sounds incredibly intriguing
maybe keep [here] continuous
  OR break them up
  the effects of either would be very interesting
Bro-friend: I think they need to stay continuous but going from [here] has always seemed a bit quit to me.
  There’s an implied passage of time but for the reader its immediate.
  So advantage to moving up the mom talk is providing a time lapse.
 me: right
Bro-friend: Disadvantage is breaking up flow.
 me: but if it’s sans setting …
  right
Bro-friend: You were pretty exhausted by it though. This would at least provide a section where [something happens].
me: will readers see the conversation as part of the chronology?
  or an aside?
Bro-friend: I think it would fit the chronology. [And here’s why.]
 me: then picks back up with the next chapter?
[this] would definitely add a different perspective
 Bro-friend: This section ends with [this].
I guess you’d need to read it to provide a detailed opinion. I’m trying to keep a big picture view of where it belongs.
 me: that’s fine
 so with the new section we have a better understanding of [this]
i worry slightly about a gentle unrolling into the conclusion
 Bro-friend: Makes sense.
 me: but, like you say, i’ll have to read it
  it’s an interesting take
 Bro-friend: Here’s the thing –
 me: and i’m curious
 ok
Bro-friend: I’ve approached the project overall as two halves. First half is what you’ve read… [this]. Part two is supposed to be [that].
  This section [accomplishes this].
In reality this process was not A to B, but a gradual process taking place all through the events described in part one.
 me: ok, i understand
  i see your intent
  it can be very effective
Bro-friend: I think of part one as one long crescendo and you’re right that it would be disruptive to interrupt that.
 My idea for starting off part two though feels a little disjointed.
 This section is one element. There are [ . . . ] others. [Like these.]
And it all seems like a bit much to just through together.
  But I may be overthinking it
 me: well, it only makes sense that chaos builds proportionally [here]
  it may seem like a lot, but realistically, even in a narrative context, it sort of has to be
 imo
 Bro-friend: It’s a question of [this]
me: how much magic do you want to do?
Bro-friend: How do you mean?
me: well, i don’t know.
Bro-friend: I want the experience for the reader to be immersive and genuine, while also maintaing reasonable fidelity to actual events. I can fudge some of the chronology or find other ways to work around those problems if it makes the read more smooth for the reader.
  I ask a lot from the reader in keeping track of stuff already so it’s not so much a stretch
 me: i understand
 you pretty much answered your own question about how much magic you’d be willing to do
 Bro-friend: Just wanted to see if that’s what you meant. I get where you’re coming from. I’m not resolved on it one way or the other yet, but it’s good to talk it out. Thanks.
 me: glad you’re back to thinking about it some more
Bro-friend: It comes and goes.
 me: 🙂
***
THREE

me: Friendy, i’m talking about marching band memories with someone

  can i recount the time [this happened]?
 Friendy: of course!
  when did [this happen]?
 me: i always think [it] did
  10th grade. azalea festival
 Friendy: hmm
  I don’t remember [it]
  I did get mad at Mr. Rood
 and it was my 15th birthday
  and Myron Hall squashed a toad in his marching shoes
  but I don’t remember [that]
 me: okay
  good thing i didn’t tell it, then
 Friendy: that guy who played trombone threw up before we went on the field
 me: oh yes, that
 you have different memories than i
 Friendy: that’s because we were on different sides of the field!
  weren’t we?
  I was by Mike what’s-his-name
 now I have Trooper Salute in my head
 me: excellent
Friendy: yeah, that was last year
  they were all over the news 🙂
  the channel 4 news, that is
 me: it’s impressive
 Friendy: i don’t really think they’re all that good….
 me: oh?
 Friendy: but hey, they won
  they’re okay
 me: standards have gone down?
 Friendy: oh yeah
 me: that’s just too bad
 Friendy: well, they’re not terrible
 me: so, we were better, then
 Friendy: way, way better
  they’re adequate
 me: SWEET
 Friendy: but nothing special 🙂
  we were pretty special
 me: indeed
 sigh. the memories