It's not about the house.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Tramp's Story, Part VII: Whena Yousa Thinking We Are in Trouble?

con't from previous post

Although I felt I ought to sort through this roll call somehow, my gut told me not to rely on the two people with five names between them to dish up the straight dope (I know: I astound even myself sometimes with these rare moments of clarity). But Bank of America is so large and ubiquitous that I didn’t even know which state to call for Directory Assistance.

In a flash of inspiration (moment of clarity #2), I logged on to the BoA website. I was looking for a general customer-service phone number, but all the listings were so specific that I got all turned around. Somehow, I found myself on a page that wanted me to "live-chat with a representative to confidentially discuss the possibility of a schmeschminance!" I’d already done that, of course, but it sounded close enough. I might even be connected to the same bank of employees as I was the last time, and this way I could get candid answers about Aroutyun/Henry V--/B-- and Maria/Sarah without the chance that either -- or any -- of them would overhear. And if they weren't quite rubbing elbows, well, whoever came on the chatline would at least have access to a directory of employees in the schmeschminance department. No?

Well, to put it frankly: I don't know. Because simply by having an application on file already, I started off on the wrong foot with Mr. Chat.

He called himself something nonspecifically exotic – Nevi or Udal or Jar Jar – and, perhaps because of this, seemed to infer a level of ethnocentricity in my questioning of Henry’s list of names. His response was: “Mr. V-- may find that certain people have difficulty pronouncing Aroutyun and so uses Henry to make it easier on them” (n other words: “shut up, you racist retard”). Refusing to be cowed, I countered with “What about his second last name? The Germanic-sounding one that starts with B, that may or may not have been clipped from a certain terrorist-hunting agent, played by someone who I still think of as a vampire, on a clock-watching television show I’ve never seen?”

Silly me. I thought he might look up Henry B— for me, confirm whether or not he actually exists. But no. Jar Jar told me to ask Henry. He gave me Henry V—’s phone number (which I already had, but which means he did look in a directory, just not for the right guy), and the number of his boss (because if we’re all changing names around here on a daily basis, our bosses are going to both be aware of it and confirm it to our customers). I ended the chat right then and there without saying goodbye, never bothering to ask about Maria’s alias at all.

Why is Jar Jar’s the only name in all of this I can’t remember? Prick.

So anyway, I did. I called Henry and asked if he could catch the cloud and pin it down. He said well, yes. Since it can sometimes take six months between the package and the phone call, see, accounts do tend to get shifted around. It’s not unusual for the name on the letter not to match up with the person who eventually makes contact. That's why he originally told me not to mail the forms. You see?

I bought it. Doesn’t seem like a sound business strategy to me, but then again, neither does giving a $189,000 loan to someone making $17,000 a year, and I’m still hoping for that to happen, aren’t I? So what the hell. Until I actually put pen to paper, after all, I'm still no worse off than I was before I made that fateful first contact. So I don't see any harm, for now, in letting this particular charade keep playing out.

As far as his new last name went, Henry was baffled. I had to pull the papers out and tell him exactly where to find it on the page. “Very, very tiny type,” I said, “up in the extreme left-hand corner. ‘Prepared,’ it clearly says, ‘by Henry B—.’”

Henry laughed. Laughed!

“You are very meticulous about reading your paperwork,” he said. “That is just the name of the person who printed and collated the physical pages. He is not an account representative, he's just a clerk. He apparently has the same name as I do, yes, but it is purely a coincidence.”

“Really?" I said, a bit relieved despite my surviving skepticism. "How odd. Because, I mean, it’s not as though 'Henry' is the most common name in the English language.”

“Yes,” Henry agreed. “That’s why I chose it.”

I am so totally not meticulous about reading my paperwork. At all. I think that much, at least, should be obvious to everyone (if not Henry) by now.

But I don’t see any harm in letting that particular charade keep playing out.

to be (say it with me) continued!


12ontheinside said...

I swear, if this story ends with "And then I woke up, realising it had all been a terrible dream" I will fly over there to give you carpark counselling.

Anonymous said...

Shockingly I just noticed the Jar Jar Binks reference in the title.
Mesa slippins on my Star Wars references.