Sunday, May 1, 2011

"But that's life! I suppose, you - you go along with and suddenly... poof!"

There's nothing quite like being on the phone for an hour with a Wells Fargo representative (or four) to bring on a self-discovery type epiphany.

What, you've never had that?

Let me tell you how it goes.

You call up WF with the intent to get them to give you a check or a PIN number or something that means you will ultimately be able to withdraw all your retirement money from your 401(k) so that it can be rolled over into the more access-friendly (read: loose) retirement sister, the IRA.

Whereupon, you speak to a well-trained phone sales ninja who convinces you to leave your money with WF and roll it over to one of their IRA products instead, and you imagine that she gets off the phone with you and pumps her arm and says "Yessssssss!"

Meanwhile, you are still on the phone - with an IRA ninja this time - who is seeking to know your approach to investing. Your investing strategy, as it were. You try desperately to sound semi-knowledgeable about such things, possibly failing miserably as soon as the confession "I'm pretty low maintenance" escapes your lips.

But then something happens that slightly amazes and confounds you. As you are trying really hard to listen to the ninja as she kung fus you with rates of return for things called 2030s, 2035s, and 2040s, your mind inevitably wanders off on some meandering path, pondering all possible reasons why on earth this stuff is even important and I wish my baby would wake up already.

And then you are finally (finally!) done. You now have a renewed portfolio and access to your funds so that when that part of your five-year plan called Go Back To School comes around, you'll be ready to go for broke all over again.

Still, your mind is a little weary from that journey. And it decides, right then and there, without your knowledge or prior consent, that "low maintenance" actually describes you quite perfectly. At least in most things that rank less than Most Important.

Low Maintenance.

Who knew that a so-called investment strategy could morph into a life philosophy?

Not I.

But you know what I really thought about over the last few days?

How much I would like to be even lower than low maintenance. Like, perhaps a fly on the glass of the carriage that held Charles and Camilla and the Middletons. (Do you suppose they discussed the weather? Or the commoners who showed up in mass? The stilted, polite conversations of relative strangers about to become in-laws of each others' children?)

Like, perhaps the prairie dog I saw in the middle of the road as I slowed down to allow him to get safely back across the road - even though there was not a Prairie Dog Crossing sign in sight - realizing at that slow speed that the reason he was in the middle of the road was because he was checking on his mangled friend. (Do you suppose he was checking his friend's pulse and pronouncing him dead? Or telling him to hold on and he was going for help? Or calling back to his other prairie dog friend on the side of the road saying "man, we have to move him!"?)


Low maintenance may be my desired M.O. But, here it is the eve of a new week and all I feel like I have done all weekend is work. Even though I know that is not true, it certainly feels like it is. My bones are tired. My mind is becoming more blank by the minute. And I certainly do not feel ready for another week.

[Title quote is from "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"]

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