A moment in the annals of life on the road.
Upãdãna, as it is used in Buddhism, means attachment or clinging. Attachment is the root cause of suffering. On Monday, August 11, I suddenly found what I was attached to and it caused me great suffering. Money.
At the end of the day I stopped to buy takeout. My VISA debit card was refused. Odd. In the motel I went online to check my bank balance. It looked almost okay, except the checking account had a negative sign in front. I called the 800 support number.
My account was frozen immediately. I was asked if I had just purchased something at a Kroger supermarket. No. I haven’t seen any Krogers in British Columbia, Canada. I was asked if I was just in Atlanta, Georgia. No.
Scrolling through my checking account displayed page after page of $28.95 purchases at Kroger. First the balance went down to zero, then it started growing negatively. That’s when the overdraft fees kicked in. I was out about $3,000.
Here’s where the funny Buddhist word comes into play: what arose in me was attachment to money. I recognized I was very angry, frustrated, and fearful. Only minutes before I was hungry, thirsty, and stiff from driving all day. What a difference looking at a bank balance and a phone call can make. Worse case scenario, I was out $3,000. That was maddening and I fumed. Upãdãna.
This could be set right. The biggest hurdle to overcome was getting the Visa fraud department to accept my electronic signature. Initially my bank insisted I must send a dispute letter in on paper and signed in ink. A second call got them to say I could fax a printed copy. They emailed pdf forms thinking I would print them out and mail them in. I called Visa and asked if I could email a filled out form. After looking at my account (the obvious fraud) they said sure. I added my e-signature in the correct place. Sixty minutes later my account was set right.
The negative emotions subsided and were replaced with hubris, satisfaction, and smugness, more upãdãna.
Lessons learned: there are criminals out there, robbers and thieves. Check your bank statements often. Watch what arises in you. Seek equanimity.