Tricky times at Hedges Towers. We have a leak in the flat roof, and water is coming in and soaking two walls. Thus the bathroom contents are currently on the landing, and the utility room is in the hallway. Apart from the worry of water damage and the bill to have the roof fixed - we now know it needs to be completely replaced thanks to the disreputable cowboys who fitted the original one, we are also having to get up in the night to change the newspaper that is soaking up the water
Which meant we were pretty fed up by the end of the week, when BH and I went into town to close his annual savings account at the bank and transfer funds elsewhere. He has to be physically there because I, despite being married to him for 39 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 we apparently own 60% of the bank concerned.
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 anxious about the roof. We are cross. We have not slept well. 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?
Me: You don't want me to wait over here?
YFBP: (smiling rather too brightly) Right. 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. 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 given the way that we are becoming more and more incensed with the red-tapery of life, we may soon be carted off to the nearest psycho-geriatric unit in matching his and hers strait-jackets. If the water from the roof doesn't carry us off first.
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