When you travel to the other side of the planet, the last thing you want to think about is paying your bills. But -as you know too damn well- every month there is a new electricity bill, a new phone bill, a new down payment on your mortgage due… So I came up with the ingenious plan to leave my bank card at home.
It’s like Monopoly. The only thing you need to do is appoint someone who holds the bank. In this case: my mother. She always keeps a calculator in her hand and an eye on her finances. Why she never became an accountant is beyond me. Anyway. I’ve promoted her to be my personal financial supervisor. The only thing she needs to do is monitor my finances. Is my rent being paid on time? What about the person who is renting my car, did he pay on time? Unforeseen costs => she pays them for me with the money on my account. It is a dream scenario.
But wait, don’t I need a card?
Sure I do, how am I going to survive otherwise? Let alone enter the country since Australian authorities need a prove that you have sufficient funds to survive in their country.
Well, you open a new bank account, get a new card and only fill this up with ‘travel money’. That way you don’t have to worry about bills and other costs that may or may not flow from your account, you have your own money for all travel, fun and, well, the occasional emergency.
I applied for my ideal scenario on the 29th of December. The card should have been in my mailbox by, let’s say the following week + some extra days because of the holidays = the second monday of January should be no problem. Exactly one week before my big departure! Perfection. However, by the second Tuesday of January the card wasn’t in my mail box. Care to guess what I did?
a) I freaked out
b) I immediately phoned the bank to ask them to send the card ASAP!
c) I went to the bank and punched a random lady in the face
d) All of the above (except for c, which only happened in my imagination)
You guessed it: d.
So I phoned the bank telling Magda (my personal contact) that I haven’t received the card, that I had just checked the mail 5 minutes ago and asked her: what should I do now???
As helpful as Magda is, she immediately ordered a new card saying it’s not normal the original one had not yet arrived and hopefully the new one would arrive by Friday. Worst case scenario on Monday. In an even worse than worst case scenario onTuesday, when I will be flying somewhere over the Indian Ocean already.
I kept my fingers crossed and continued with my day. It looked like the best thing to do since I was leaving in less than ONE WEEK. I went to buy contact lenses at the local eyewear store when suddenly I got a phone call from my mom. “Great news, your card has arrived. Your father had emptied the mail box this morning and forgot to put the mail in the hallway like he always does. Instead he left it on his desk upstairs.” Great! Yes! Halleluja! Hare Krishna! Happy Chanoeka! I speed dialed Magda to tell her the wonderful news. I hear her typing things in her computer when all of a sudden it seemed like I had lost Magda. “Hello, Magda, you there?”
Magda: “….Aaahm yes, I see the card has already been annulled since I ordered a new one today… I’m afraid this is irreversible. The card you received is useless. We have to wait for the new one now.”
Me: “What do you mean irreversible? A broken vase is irreversible, Magda, and even then there are ways to glue everything back together again so no one will ever notice! There has to be a way that this can be reversed? It has to, IT HAS TO!”
Magda: “I … I’m sorry there is no way. You will have to wait for the new card. Hopefully it will arrive by Monday, then you have a couple of hours to take care of it before you leave.”
Me: “A couple of hours? Every minute counts on Monday, Magda! I cannot deal with this right now!” Or at least, that was what my exploding head was saying. My mouth was blabbering: “Okay Magda, … I understand… This sucks. This sucks big time.” – end of conversation.
Shit motherfucker FUCK SHIT! This could have been so perfect, my card arriving on the exact day I started panicking. A little less than a week in advance, what a lucky break! And then you realize that probably at the very moment you were phoning Magda to mention the card hadn’t arrived, the mail man casually drops it in the letter box and your dad takes it to his desk upstairs…. The universe is putting me to a serious test here. I’m getting borderline from this.
If I had waited 5 minutes, or had just asked my dad: “Hey big guy, was there anything in the mail for me today?” Maybe he would have said: “Yes, your card arrived” And this doom scenario could have easily been prevented. But nooooo, I was too impatient yet again. And yes, at that point you just want to speed things up because -you never know- maybe it got lost in the mail and the sooner you ask for a new card, the sooner it will arrive. Next time I will check the letter box every minute, I will ask everyone in a 5km radius and check on every desk, behind every closet, inside every drawer -even the one where my parents keep their ‘underwear’- before I phone anyone or annul anything.
I am now going to scream into a pillow.
And wash my hair.
(Update: the card arrived on Monday morning, the day of my trip. It took 15 minutes to deal with everything. I even had enough time to have lunch with my parents.)