robbing Peter to pay Paul

I’m a master reshuffler. Change my schedule, and there are blocks of time flying around in my head until my calendar has been settled. Present me with a large bill, and my brain digs around in my pots of shekels until it finds a way to make the bill go away.

Two weeks ago I rented a rental car to drive my dear friend and Pea and I down the coast to go see the Sparkliest Most Amazing Place for Looking At Fish Ever. As I pulled the car out of the parking garage, I put a foot-long scrape on it, as well as some associated scrapes and one rather defined ding.* The rep who had checked me into the car watched this happen, and gave me a wince on my way out. I spent some time online figuring out what my insurance would cover, and what the incident might cost me**. I’m not a permanent resident of the States, so if my credit card company decided to be sticklers, there was a good chance they wouldn’t pay (good to find out AFTER damaging a car and waiving the rental insurance, let me tell you). I figured out it would probably cost at most $1500 to fix, and I rationalized where that money was going to come from.

I returned the car three days later. I said nothing***. They said nothing. Nothing has happened, other than the rental fee clearing my credit card, and the hold they’d placed released. A representative from this rental agency had previously said “As long as you bring it back, we really don’t care what happens. So many cars get stolen around here, that’s our bar.” but I admit I didn’t really believe him.

Two days after I wasn’t charged $1500 for scraping the car, I found out I’d have to pay for some fertility appointments out of pocket. I’d already rationalized the use of some emergency fund money, so the news was actually really easy to absorb. I was mad about the insurance snafu because I’d put a lot of time and effort into getting that process entirely wrong, but the money was a blip because I’d already shuffled my shekels around.

It occurs to me I don’t know where the saying “rob Peter to pay Paul” comes from. Biblical?

*lab_monkey research montage*

Not biblical, but religious as anticipated!  “The expression refers to times before the Reformation when Church taxes had to be paid to St. Paul’s church in London and to St. Peter’s church in Rome; originally it referred to neglecting the Peter tax in order to have money to pay the Paul tax.”

*in my defense, they had left the car in a totally impossible spot wedged between two pillars and blocked by a truck. In hindsight, I should have made them pull it out and scrape it instead of doing it myself.

** having not damaged a car in any way since I was seventeen, I had not frame of reference.  This is still just defending myself, because it makes me feel better.

*** internet researched advice was very firm on this point. Say NOTHING. I felt like a criminal for three days. It felt terrible, and then a bit good when I realized I’d gotten away with it, and then terrible again.


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