Friday, January 13, 2006

weary traveler

As I make arrangements to rent a room in a French village for several weeks this spring, I am asked to send over a deposit to secure the deal. Pas de probleme, I say. Euros you shall have.

Up the hill I trudge to the old financial giant that has held onto my money for some quarter of a century now. [In fact, I am actually in the process of writing out check number 18,500 from my checking account there. Do you know anyone who has written over 18,000 checks from one lousy little checking account? That’s banking loyalty for you. Indeed, when I wanted to switch to a credit union because I became more with-it and politically correct over the years, I did not do it for the sole reason that I liked my high check numbers. Stupid? Yes, but that is not the subject of the post.]

The point is that I walk over to this major financial institution and am told that it no longer deals with foreign currency. If you want a foreign check made out to your favorite French village homeowner, why sure, okay, they will take care of it for you (at a fee), but they will have to outsource it. And you’ll get the check in several days.

Outsource it? That sounds like asking cheap labor in India to do it for you. Surely, I am not getting my check for 166 Euros from India? Do we really have such low demand for international dealings here in my home town that we're outsourcing Euro transactions to distant places?

Suddenly, I feel like I live far away from everywhere.

This weary traveler is going to end with two photos, taken seconds ago from my window here at the loft. Then off I go, eventually ending the evening at the Weary Traveler, in fact. If you’re there later this evening, look for me. I’ll be the one groaning about banks without an eye toward borders. Or the need to cross them.

Jan 06 187
looking out my window as I write this...

Jan 06 188
...tonight, on Friday the 13th