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Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Sense Of Urgency

I woke up this morning with a mental checklist of things I needed to do today. One of the important items on the list was getting on the computer to get the rest of this month's cycle of bills paid. I had planned to do this task in the late afternoon or early evening, after doing the other things that were necessary. 

I like to start off my day by checking the daily news to see what has happened overnight, and what is going on at the moment. And of course, that leads to checking email and deleting lots of junk email, and then peeking into people's lives through social media. With my warm little bundle of dog tucked close next to me and tablet in hand, I opened my email.

"Urgent Notice: Payment Date Approaching," was the title of an email from a credit card carrier. Oh, CRUMBS! Did I screw up and not get my payment scheduled soon enough? Was I going to have to pay a late fee? Or even worse, was I going to have to call someone and spend half an hour on the phone to make one of those crazy expedited payments I have heard about that cost almost as much as a late fee does? Just what I needed to NOT ease into my day.

So, with a mixture of resignation and dread, I opened the email to face the bad news. "Dear Katrina, the payment date for your credit card with CrazyBank is coming soon. Log on to www.crazybank.com to make your payment. Your payment of $xx.00 is due on August 12, 2012." Huh? Aug 12th? As in ten days from now, August 12th? Do we need to have a discussion about the meaning of the word "urgent"? When you get your toe caught on something and it's facing in the wrong direction, that is urgent. (Thanks to Ally and her sister for that one; sis, your injury is now officially famous. Or infamous!) When there is enough time to write a check, forget to mail it for three days, and still get it there on time (but it won't go down that way because you always pay it online), that is not urgent!

I suppose it is just a reflection of marketing techniques. Perhaps we need to be given a sense of urgency to get in gear to do something or buy something? "Hurry in while supplies last. This price is only good for a limited time." Mmm-hmm. It seems that a limited time has a lifespan of up to three months. Okay, now I get it! Laaaaa! (Sound of Heavenly Choir.) It was so simple. If a limited time lasts three months, then it makes complete sense that a mere ten days' span would be called urgent! It may take me a while, but eventually I do catch on.

The sense of urgency that was born in me when I saw the title of that email was put to good use, however. I paid all of the bills way ahead of schedule, enabling me to spend some time this afternoon watching people who can't walk through their homes or use their kitchens or (ick!) toilets say that they do not have a problem. And I was able to write this before dark-thirty this evening. Of course, that probably means that at dark-thirty I will be in bed, wide awake, needing sleep. Urgently.