Carry on screaming

It’s one of those days already.

I’m on the phone to my bank again, and, after pressing all the buttons and then a hashtag over and over again, I’m told by an automated voice that my call will be answered by an operator in approximately ten minutes.

It’s on loudspeaker as I type this at the dining room table. The jaunty music is getting on my nerves. The good thing is that I am moving further in the queue.

It’s times like these when my inner Victor Meldrew kicks in.

Although I’m feeling guilty because at the beginning of the call, the deadpan, North Country voice (I’m with the Co-op) announced that I should only phone if absolutely necessary because they’re overwhelmed by coronavirus and if I have access to my account digitally I should do that and stop bothering them.

Those weren’t her exact words but that was the gist.

Trouble is, I would if I could but I can’t. The online system won’t recognise my user name. Maybe I’ve forgotten it? I haven’t forgotten it. I’ve already followed the appropriate prompts to have my user name emailed to me just in case it had slipped my mind. Nope, it’s the bloody one I’ve been using for the last fifteen years.

Four weeks ago, I set up a savings account with the same bank but, stupidly, the bank left off one of my initials and now it won’t marry up with my current account online. And now I can’t get into the bloody current account in any case.

I’m not usually one for swearing but this morning I sound like Hugh Grant at the beginning to Four Weddings and A Funeral.

During my wait, Mr Grigg nuzzles up to me, having spent more than two hours on community shop business, and says, ‘I love you baby’. They say you hit out at the ones closest to you, which is exactly what I do by telling him less than politely to go away.

It’s not fair and he huffs off in a storm of righteous indignation. But at this point in time, all I want is for the problem to be solved without endless bloody phone calls and waiting in a queue. I want my bank to employ some joined-up thinking because the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, but that could be because they’re immersed in hand sanitiser.

The morning started badly in any case. I discovered on my daily dog walk that my favourite tree of all time in the village has died. All those hundreds of years of growing only to die before the spring. And then I saw a flattened grass snake in the lane, which had shuffled off its mortal coil.

And, of course, the thing uppermost on everyone’s mind is that the world’s been hit by a global pandemic.

And now, I’m finally through to a very nice man at the bank who tells me computer says no.

There appears to be no user name registered with the bank account, the one I’ve been using for the past fifteen years.

I actually mutter ‘FFS’ in full before he puts me on hold again with that bloody music and then comes back on to tell me there’s an IT problem which probably won’t be resolved until next Monday.

I explode – not at him but at the bank whose staff and computer system have decided to self-isolate from each other.

I thank him for not being able to help me. He thanks me for my patience, I put the phone down and scream very loudly before putting this on at full volume.

That’s about it.

Love Maddie x

By Maddie Grigg

Maddie Grigg is the pen name of former local newspaper editor Margery Hookings. Expect reflections on rural life, community, landscape, underdogs, heritage and folklore. And fun.

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