Saturday, 9 March 2013

Barking At The Bank

 I left them around here somewhere...
A vexatious week at Hedges Towers. Cat A is definitely losing his marbles. He doesn't like being left alone, especially if I'm doing something while he's awake. He seems to need constant reassurance and follows me wherever I go (yes, there too). It's like having a toddler, only not. I'm actually typing this with him on my lap, where he is currently happiest.

He has also started waking up at night, and wondering round the house looking for me. Given that he is 16.5 years old and has bad cataracts, this is not a smart move. I am awoken by distressed miaowing and the sound of cat bumping into walls. So then I have to get up, rescue him, take him downstairs and feed him biscuits, after which I settle him down again under the radiator where he sleeps. It's a TOTAL pain, but he's an old cat and we've had him a long time, and someone has to be there for him.

Which meant we were pretty tired by the end of the week, when Beloved Husband and I went into town to close his dormant bank savings account which was earning zero interest whatsoever. He has to be physically there because I, despite being married to him for 36 years, and in full possession of every identity document of his that you could shake a stick at, am not now allowed to open or close or do anything without his actual presence, thank you, even though I apparently own 60% of the Bank.

We both think it's preposterous and a waste of our time. Especially as we used to be able to open and close accounts for each other, and we have a joint account there anyway. So, picture the scene therefore: It's Saturday morning. We are knackered, thanks to insomniac cat. We are cross. We have heavy colds. We are fed up with stupid bank protocols. What followed was something Samuel Beckett would not have been ashamed to own. As I recall, it went like this:

BH: You don't need to stay with me.
Me: Really? Are you sure?
BH: I can manage perfectly well. You go and wait over there.
Me: Over here? OK. I'll wait.
Young Female Bank Person: So Mr Hedges, what is the name of the savings account?
BH: I don't know. It's just a savings account.
YFBP: I need the actual type of account.
BH: Oh for goodness sake. (calls) What's the name of the account?
Me: I thought you told me to wait over here.
BH: I don't know the name of the account.
Me: You said you could manage.
BH: I could, only I don't know the name of the account.
Me: So you want me to come over there now?
BH: Yes.
Me: You don't want me to wait over here?
BH: No.
YFBP: (smiling rather too brightly) Right. Good. Let's start again...

That was pretty much as good as it got. We agreed afterwards that we'd never made it through a bank visit quite so speedily before. Bank Person couldn't get rid of us fast enough. None of that 'while you're here ..'' stuff that usually heralds them attempting to flog you naff insurance. It was: Pretend to smile, press the buttons, print the paperwork, please please go away now. Grumpy Old Sods. It's an art. We are thinking of hiring ourselves out to other bank customers.

See - every now and then being old has its advantages, and we need all the advantages we can get as neither of us are getting any younger. Certainly we're not getting any saner. Quite the opposite. And I notice that we oldies are constantly being referred to in the media as 'a burden' and 'a drain on resources' and an 'elderly time-bomb'. Makes me wonder, when I reach what Shakespeare so vividly describes as 'Second childishness and mere oblivion/Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything'' whether there will be somebody there for me to give me biscuits in the middle of the night and let me sleep under the radiator. I do hope so.

30 comments:

  1. The writers on Twitter will be there wandering around in the dark with packets of cat biscuits, checking for other writers who have emerged from beneath their radiators. Never fear.

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  2. I think it's quite touching the way our pets need us when they get old. We had a dog who lived to be 19. He was quite good at avoiding the furniture as long as we didn't move it. He didn't try to get onto laps but he did like to know where we were.

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    1. Both of the cats are much older than any cat I've had before, so I've not encountered this. Bless.. (guess where he is?)

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  3. I'm always a bit jealous of people who have cats cos I like them but my Mrs is allergic. Naturally I thought she was making this up cos she didn't like them - but then, years ago, we went to a friend's house who had a cat - it leapt on her knee and she did very quickly turn blotchy and puffy - she could barely splutter out the words 'I told you so.' Ah well - no cat for me.

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  4. My cat made it to 17, and then the day came when I knew she'd had enough. Cried buckets of course, but that little needle was the kindest end for her.

    And as we get old - well, I can't see us sinking quietly into that goodnight. We're the raging generation. Apparently the music that most excites the elderly is the music that was around in their teens. Which means I'll be bopping around with my zimmer frame singing,' Hey, hey, you, you get off of my cloud ...'

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  5. Cats and bank officials have much in common. They're both demanding and disdainful. I was glad to see you have figured out how to handle both species with aplomb. It may be tiring and cost you sleep, but your efforts seem to be rewarded with a minimum of disturbance to your sanity. Excellent!

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  6. Well...I found this hysterical! The pictures you paint woman!...Not that I'm unsympathetic regards the little fellow...but surely you must see...this clinging to you etc; is all part of the 'herding' process, you know, a social grouping of certain animals of the same species...feel flattered...he obviously sees you as a fellow feline...he may be struggling with his sight...but there's nothing wrong with his perception! Great post Carol..certainly cheered me up...:) x

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    1. The worrying thing is that I no longer have to make this stuff up!!

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  7. Ralph will happily go and bark at the bank for you.....

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    1. hahaha. Think I'm barking enough already!

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  8. I actually think domestic pets have a better time than many old folk. My old Sindy dog is spoilt rotten and indulged in a way most people would never be. That being said, I love your double act with BH. You've given me ideas now. I think I'll enlist K to do the same thing with me. We have the eccentricity already - just need to put it to good use :-) I agree with Jo, though. Our generation rocks.

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    1. Thanks Val. And I agree about animals. When the time comes, I will not let Cat A nor his sister suffer. I'm not sure my end will be so dignified or painless.All the more reason to party with zimmer while we can!!!

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  9. Top stuff, CJH. I used to work at the Nationwide, in 2005, around the time when all bank/building society staff were suddenly finding that they could no longer be nice customer service assistants, saying hello to the nice elderly customers when they came in to get their shopping money out on a Wednesday morning (I worked in very small branches in Norfolk), but had to transform into SUPER SALES PERSON and try to flog people like BH other 'products'. We were actually given TARGETS. I left before I was pushed, declaring that I was employed as a customer service assistant not a marketing twerp. And I'd bagsy the best place under the radiator now, if I were you, before BH gets it!!!

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    1. BH says he's going to snuff it well before me!

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    2. I have promised my wife the same thing (she made me)Enjoyed the Blog, so true of the bureaucratic nonsense that pervades our society today. I can empathise completely regarding cat A, having had aged cats dogs and even horses myself. My dear wife has promised me, that should I become incontinent, or senile, before honouring my promise to snuff it first, then its a one way trip to the vets for me.

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  10. Great post, Carol. I look forward to your adventures at the post office next ... As for Cat A, he is obviously an inspiration to your writing!

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  11. What I would have given to be in the bank, me and my notepad three hours later it would be woven into one of my WIP. Keep up the good work, your blogs are always looked forward to on a Saturday morning x

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    1. Thanks Juliet and Ian. I fear I am getting worse as I grow older!! Be Warned!

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  12. Now Carol, after 16 years you really should have learned your place by now. Cats rule, ok? Yours is the lap upon which the cat sat and that is where he intends to remain in perpetuity. Your job is to keep still and allow him to doze contentedly for as long as he likes, only moving at all to prepare his next meal.
    Once you have realised that the cat is the master your relationship will go from strength to strength.

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    1. haha. Believe me, I know!! Catz Rool in this house, always have, always will!

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  13. Great stuff! The frustration about not being able to do things on behalf of your husband I fully empathise with. It also applies to any changes or questions we might have about our telephone/broadband account, or the electricity bill, or whatever. Drives me nuts that we can't both deal with things that affect us both, and which we both pay for!

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  14. LOL, Carol. I needed a laugh after this weekend. Thanks. :)

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  15. Jenny Joseph, take note! When Carol's page turns from pink to purple, she's going to run her stick along the railings outside the council offices and spit... Er... She's doing that already, you say? And keeping snails in the bath? Gosh.
    [What a lovely return discovery this is after a weekend off line.]

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    1. Thanks ladies! I am reasonably happy that I am providing everyone with a source of genuine amusement!

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  16. So sorry to hear about your cat. As for the bank, could you please arrange for a rerun and video it so we can view? Thank you!

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    1. I think they'll have deleted the CCTV! If there was any - and sent the bank lady for therapeutic re-training! hahaha

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  17. A blog that made me laugh on two levels - slaves to cats and trips to the bank with my mother.
    The things we do for our cats, eh? My mother's cat is now coming up for 18 and decided he might like to just pee in the house - in varying positions. Not pleasant but she loves him and says she wouldn't want us to 'do away with her' if she lost track of her bladder!
    My cats seem to know when I really don't need them near me - 'Oh, a tricky scene to write? Hmm! I need food, love, cuddles, a scratch on the head - just ANYTHING to stop you doing what you're doing. Please. NOW!'
    But would we be without them? NEVER :)

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    1. This is just what I remind myself when Cat B decides to pee outside the litter tray!!! And you are right, cat therapy is a huge part of one's emotional stability. Sometimes I let them sit on the kitchen table when I have a stressed student. Always calms them down.

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