I was annoyed at having to make the damn call.

One common characteristic of debtors and underearners is that they delay endlessly filing for reimbursements to which they’re entitled, from insurance companies, employers, clients, and just about anyone else.

They can have literally thousands of dollars worth of these things backed up, sometimes for years.

A variation on this is a reluctance to question charges from a vendor or service provider they think might be wrong.

I don’t have a problem filing for reimbursements myself (though I did once), but my first response to being billed for something I think I might not owe is still to file the bill away and tell myself I’ll get to it later. Or even to just go ahead and pay it assuming I owe it or imagining that I’ll get around to disputing it later.

Mostly I feel exasperated about having to deal with it at all, that I’ll have to take time out my day and life for something I think I shouldn’t have to

But all this does, if I do stuff it into a pigeon hole on a shelf near my desk, or even worse just go ahead and pay it for now, is saddle me with some extra psychic baggage, a task undone, and the question of whether I owe money I hadn’t planned on having to spend or not.

Not good.

So when I opened up an envelope from the morning’s mail and found a bill for $250 for lab work I thought had been covered by my health insurance, I wasn’t happy about it, and was about to put it into the pigeon hole, thinking unhappily that I’d have to something about it next week.

But I didn’t. I picked up the phone. I dialed the number of the billing department, telling myself “It’ll be better, Jerry, it’ll be better if you do this now, even if costs you an hour out of your working day.”

And it was.

And it was even easy.

And all it took was less than five minutes, probably only four and maybe even three.

I got through almost immediately to a customer service agent who was cheerful, who brought up my account on her computer, asked me one clarifying question about my policy, then said they had made a mistake. She corrected it on the spot, wiping out the charge, thanked me for calling, and I thanked her, and we wished each other a happy New Year and said goodbye.

One quick phone call. $250 saved. A bunch of psychic debris avoided. And a lightness of being as I turned to the day’s writing.