Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sleepless in Melbourne

It’s after 2am here.  But only 6.35pm in Paris.
This is where my son is at the moment, awaiting sunset. 

It’s a mixed bag in the joy/fear/stress department.  Unlike my daughter who got a good dose of my organisational skills, the boy likes to just run at things head first.  I can’t even say it’s on the fly; it’s not.  It’s all planned with that twenty-something belief that “it’ll be alright on the night”.  If not, he’ll get a bazooka.  A bazooka has been his way out of everything, since he was about six years old.

Running head first works fine if you’re twenty-something, but it’s not such a great theory for those of us left to organise stuff back here; and who are not twenty-something and haven’t been for a long time.

The other week I had the drama of getting money to him in a hurry.  Weird really; here we are in the world of technology but I can’t just jump online and send money overseas.  I can via internet banking… If I have the sms code and can nominate the bank he will pick it up from.  Yes… just try to google “banks near Eiffel Tower”  Given that most of the results are in French, and that I don’t know if they are 2 or 200 klms from Paris, it is a gamble.

Then I can go to the Western Union office, but I can’t debit card more than $1000 – wtf?  It’s my damned money!  But I work that all out and sign up for SMS via banking and look up the Western Union online and figure, ok, I’ll be ready the next time.

The next time was yesterday, but this time after the search for Banks in Paris, I decide I’ll do it online at Western Union using the Squeeze’s visa card.  Ok, I had a plan; and this was working until his bank didn’t allow the transaction.  Security they said, even though you have to tick off 74 questions with everything except the name of his favourite band in 1973. 

So he calls them this morning, explains the requirement and questions why he is halted, even after all the security checks, to send his own money.  They tweak this and that and finish up with a fine… knock yourself out; go online tonight and do it.  This saves me going to the post office and filling out forms all over the shop only remembering at the last moment that I forgot my damned glasses and am guessing the questions, let alone the answers.

What the bank didn’t say during that “knock yourself out, we’ve fixed it” call, is that it would halt us once again; this time, when the post office is closed; so I’m stuffed.  I’ve let my first born child down.  He is in Paris, on possibly the most important day of his life – and I’ve let him down.  I’m a horrible mother.

So I’m screeching at this point and my voice is rising in octaves as I hear the Squeeze arguing with the pimple faced know-nothing on the phone who is basically telling him that there is nothing he can do about it.  It is night.  wft!!!???  Is this idiot really telling him that he can’t spend his money at night and there is nothing he can do about it???  And he’s eager to be off the line too!

My scathing remarks are getting louder by the second and I literally shout from across the room ‘get the freaking manager!  Demand to speak to someone in charge!’ and the Squeeze shouts at pimples, to “get the manager!”  This is rather thrilling, given that he’s not really the shouting sort – but I know this is in direct response to my threatening to hunt pimples down and kill him and his whole damned family!!!  And I’m so frantic by this point that I can’t even enjoy the manly show playing out right in front of me…

But my boy is stuck in Paris.  He has no money.  I’m half a world away; incapable of doing what I was asked to do.  And this idiot on the phone doesn’t seem to understand the repercussions of this final straw in bank idiocy. 

The manager comes online and is actually attempting to be helpful.  She takes his number, puts on a placating voice and is off to make it happen and will call back within the hour!  (Please note that was approximately 8 hours ago.  We are still awaiting her call…)

And although slightly mollified, it’s only slight.  After all, this is a bank that has actually said they couldn’t help us, it’s night… And this comment, after we’d called, discussed and arranged it, just that morning.  So forgive my dubiousness in their ability to correct the issue; but we leave her to work out the system and we set off in the dark, to find a Western Union office.

The first two are closed and a very helpful guy in an Indian takeout place tells me I should call Western Union and tell them “that place is closed!!!”  The last one I had on my mental list is stuck in the corner of a small Indian grocery store down by a train station...  In the dark.

We slink in the door with me in the lead.  I may be out of my comfort zone, but if I don’t get this done, I’ve failed as a parent…  It’s the cheapo old folks home for me; the one where they bathe you in kero to kill the scabies!  And hell, my kid’s happiness is riding on this!

So we sidle up to the counter and state our business and after the shop keeper finishes his 15 minute extremely loud, non English telephone call, he pounces on us for information.  We spell out each letter, check and double check, all the while wondering if the Squeeze’s bank details will be splashed across the net by morning (and feeling guilty for wondering about it) but the transaction finally goes through and I can breathe a sigh.

I’ve done it. 
Motherhood Success – thy name is ‘me’.

I tried going to bed, but after a few hours of tossing and turning, I decided I may as well be up because laying there, hoping for sleep sure wasn’t helping.

And the production..?  Well the boy has left my sister (who is his fussing UK mother) and flown into Paris to meet his girlfriend.  They only have a couple of days together prior to his leaving France for Indonesia where he joins the yacht he’ll be working on for the next few months.

And in his pocket, is a ring for his proposal during a night time tour of Paris, with the lit Eiffel Tower as a back drop.

Sniff Sniff.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks. Better check it out but it should be up today!