“Take a lodgement into the bank, will you?” Kate had asked me. “And go to the Harryville branch, it’ll be easier than the town. And quicker.”
Obediently I drove all the way in, got parked on Henry Street, and marched confidently into the bank. I gave the teller the lodgement book and a cheery smile. She looked oddly at me. “Do you usually make your lodgements here?” she asked uncertainly. I shook my head, because – not having much common sense re: traffic jams and bank queues – I usually go to the branch in town, to the despair of my employers. “No,” I replied, quite simply. Again, she looked strangely at me. “So, err… where do you normally make your Northern Bank lodgements?” she asked carefully. The clue was in the question. Nervously I glanced around, observing for the first time the large sign above her head, which quite clearly said Ulster Bank. I pursed my lips and looked back at the teller, who was now trying to mask a smirk. “At the Northern Bank, actually,” I replied calmly. She handed me back the book. I took it. “The other bank is…” she began, starting to gesture with her arms, but my small scrap of remaining pride made me laugh loudly and say, “Oh, I know exactly where it is, sorry about that!” and walk out with a fake smile.
Well, look. How on earth was I meant to know there were two banks in Harryville?
Anyway, as I wandered around blankly (in the area I lived in for the first 18 years of my life), it occurred to me that, in direct opposition to my blustered claim about knowing the exact whereabouts of the other bank, was the sad fact that I had absolutely no idea where the other bank might be. Sad and ashamed, I returned to Rio the Clio and drove to the town.
In an attempt to bypass the madly congested roads, I parked on Springwell Street and prepared for a short jog to Broadway. Upon reaching the end of the street, I met a surly-looking traffic warden. “Hello,” I said brightly. He looked at me like I had two heads. “Question,” I continued in the same cheerful tone of voice, as if he had just replied with “Hello, you beautiful young thing, how may I help you, this glorious day?”. He continued to glower at me. Maybe it’s part of their job, I don’t know. “Single Yellow Lines,” I hurtled on, determinedly, “What are the rules?”
“Well,” he said gruffly, “on that road, you -” I shook my head, not having time for a full run-down of the parking laws for the entire town. “What about this road?” I suggested gently.
“Oh,” he said, “no parking till 6.30pm.”
“Well then,” I said, maintaining my cheery demeanour, “I’ll just be off, in that case!” He watched humourlessly as I jogged back to my illegally parked car and removed myself from his annoyed gaze.
I did a lap of the town, parked on Wellington Street and went to the bank. The queue was approximately 2.3 miles long. I then sat in traffic for a very long time and returned to work around an hour and a half after I’d left. This was, ironically, actually longer than it took me the last time I was sent to the bank. Kate gazed despairingly at me as I burst through the door. “Did you not go to the Harryville branch?” she asked wearily. Flustered, I explained the whole Harryville/two banks/traffic warden/queue/traffic jam situation.
I think they’re going to stop sending me on errands soon.