When I moved, I created checklists that mirrored each other. The checklist for San Francisco looked like this:
- Disconnect internet service
- Disconnect electricity
- Cancel gym membership
And the list for Asheville looked like this:
- Connect internet service
- Connect electricity
- Find gym
One thing that I didn’t even consider was that services might not be equal.
I arrived home on Friday afternoon after being out of town for work all week. I collected my mail and noticed there was a bright blue hang tag on my door, saying my gas service had been cancelled because I hadn’t paid the bill. I was perplexed, because if there’s one thing I’m anal about, it’s paying bills on time. I entered the house and noticed that the gas furnace wasn’t working. I logged onto my computer and checked the most recent online payments for my electricity bill. They had cleared each month, and money had been withdrawn from my bank account. I called the number on the hangtag to understand what had happened. The customer service representative asked for my account number, and when I gave it to her, she told me that wasn’t the correct number, that it should be many more digits. I told her that I was looking at my Duke Energy Progress bill, and that was the number on the statement. She said that was the electricity company. I asked her, “Well, who are you?” She told me she was from the gas company. I continued to be perplexed. In California, we had PG&E, Pacific Gas & Electric. Wasn’t the electricity company the same one that oversaw gas, too? In Asheville, it is not. She asked me if I had a gas tank in my yard. I told her no, but that I did have a gas line that ran from the street to my basement, and asked if they would be the company that serviced that. She said yes. I told her that I’ve had gas since I moved in in September, so I wasn’t sure what was going on. Patiently, she tried to find my account by my name (no luck), my social security number (no luck), then my address. She said that the account was in a company’s name, but they had recently stopped service. Oh, my goodness. The former owners had never shut service, and I assumed that gas was included in the electric bill, and this was a perfect storm of assumptions. She said the first appointment for someone to come out and reconnect service would be Monday. I quickly looked at the weather forecast. Saturday, low of 37 and high of 50. Sunday, low of 46 and high of 60. I wouldn’t freeze and I didn’t think that was “temps low enough to be dangerous” territory. I thanked her and hung up.
As I sit in my parka and scarf, under a blanket and sipping a cup of hot tea, I wonder how many other things that I think are under control that I simply don’t know.