Officer Canciverra of the Phoenix PD just came by to pick up a checkbook La Maya and I found on the ground during our morning stroll. The owner’s address is in Tempe, so pretty clearly it didn’t just happen to fall out of her purse in the oleanders, 20 miles from home.
Interesting, the things your checkbook says about you. People reveal a great deal about their lives in ordinary, insignificant-looking daily records. Lawrence Stone, a controversial and entertaining historian of Britain’s early modern period, applied this fact with great flair when he produced The Crisis of the Aristocracy, in which he concluded that the British nobility went through a period of hard times near the end of Elizabeth I’s reign. As a toddling researcher in England, I studied Prof. Stone’s work and then, in a graduate-studenty way, tried to go forth and do likewise.
Her handwriting suggests our Chase Bank customer is an elderly woman. She pays $800 a month for what she enters as “cash rent.” You can’t rent much in Tempe for that price. It’s a debit, not a credit, so presumably it’s what she pays for a roof over her head—probably a room or backyard studio behind someone’s house. And that someone likely isn’t reporting the rent to any taxing authorities.
She has a number of relatives who share her last name. She paid airfare for several of them to come to Arizona last Christmas, and one of them received $100 as a Christmas present from her.
Another of her relatives, Donna, evidently was sick and disabled for a long time. Every month our checkbook writer paid $900 for Donna’s healthcare. In February, though, she voided the $900 check. A couple days later, she paid almost $2,500 to a mortuary.
After that, a series of checks are voided and several transactions are corrected, as though she went through a period of confusion and, probably, grief. Donna apparently mattered a great deal to her.
Her last check was written on March 30, leaving a balance of around $32,500 in her account. Ominously, one check is missing between that check number and the top check in her check pad.
I hope she wasn’t ripped off, or if she was, that Chase made good on the forged check.
So it goes. Our little lives are full of quiet drama, aren’t they?