I forgot to pay my electric bill in Venice. But I didn’t suddenly remember that I hadn’t paid it. In fact, I thought nothing of it. I assumed I’d paid it before I left town. I get a bill every two months, and I’ve been gone a couple of months, so no big deal . . . right?

I got my latest package of mail shipped to Santa Fe from Venice. As I sorted through the bills, I notice the electric bill is red. Uh-oh . . . final notice. It’s May 7th. I had til April 29 to pay. No further notice given before power is cut off. Whoops. Hope the power’s still on for the house-sitter.

I call the electric company and pay over the phone immediately. “Hey,” I said to the customer service rep, “I’m just curious, how long has it been since I’ve paid my bill anyway? I thought I just paid it.”

“Hang on one second, ma’am.” I was on hold for at least one full minute.

He came back on the line, chuckling. “Well,” he said, “It looks like you gave us twenty bucks back in August of 2007 . . . .”