Sunday, May 25, 2008

Banking and Phones

I haven't been in a real chatty Cathy mood this last month , so much so, that I have people calling or writing me, asking if anything is wrong . I guess that means I must talk a lot normally or something . Nothing is wrong I just didn't feel the need to do a lot of talking that's all . It could happen .


I do all the banking in our family which means I go to the bank to make the deposits or withdraws .I always find going to the bank a interesting adventure . First you have to find a place to park the car . This entails many times circling the block looking for a parking spot while trying not to get killed . After I have managed to accomplish that feat , I usually have to cross a very busy street to get to the bank . This can be VERY tricky . It is a matter of timing like a dance .

Our bank is housed in a building that was not originally designed to be a bank . So there are some very strange alterations in the building. It has crooks and cranes that you wouldn't normally see in a bank .Things aren't in the expected places and it has a back door which I find weird . Say you need to talk to the bank manager , you have to out the banks front door , walk around to the back door , knock on the door and say a magic pass word to some person on the other side of the door .They will then open the door for you . I am sure they change the password every five minutes . Now isn't that weird ?

Once inside the bank I always say hello to the guards at the door . I figure this is just good manners and also possible future insurance in case of … well , whatever , right ? When I first started going to the bank it was pretty dirty inside , especially for a bank . But then again this is Libya and some things are different here . The windows were so dirty , you couldn't see whether it was sunny or cloudy outside. The teller windows were made of glass that hadn't seen soap or water in maybe a hundred years . When talking to the teller , they were unable to hear what you said … because there wasn't a speakers opening in the glass for the sound to travel through . The counters were chipped Formica , which isn't exactly bank décor and you could never find a pen to sign your documents with when you needed one . So frustrating !!! They had sad tired old style Venation blinds hanging at very odd angles from the windows that made me think of a old black and white movie from the 1940's


This all started to change this last winter . I would walked into the bank to find that they had cleaned the windows . So much light poured into the lobby it was almost blinding . Then another time I walked into the bank and had a serious shock . The pushing shoving throngs of people were missing . Everyone was sitting down calmly , silently waiting for some thing to happen . What it was , I wasn't too sure of , but then as I stood looking , I noticed a new machine just inside the main door . It was a number issuer machine . You were to take a number when you came in and then wait for your number to be called . I didn't know what amazed me the most , the modern machine with numbers , or the fact that the people were doing what they were supposed to in a well behaved manner . The next time I went to the bank , the teller windows were gone completely . The glass torn down , the space opened up and new counter tops gleamed back at you . They posted the Stock Exchange rates from around the world on a monitor for viewing , along side currency exchange rates .Wowow !!! A real bank was evolving here before my very eyes . Yesterday the tired dirty Venation blinds had been replaced by very tasteful shades that hang vertically in sleek splendor . And …… the floor had actually been mopped !!!! What next I ask myself ?


I think those of you that are readers of my blog might remember me mentioning the phone troubles we have had starting this past September . First it was static and clicking on the line so loudly that you couldn't have a conversation at all . Then the neighbor across the street manage to have their phone wires crossed with ours some how so that when ever they dialed a out going number , it rang in our house as well . Imagine 2 a.m. the phone ringing , waking you up from sound sleep , running to answer the phone with your heart in your mouth , thinking the worst might have happened to a love one , only to hear a series of clicks and beeps of a phone being dialed . This got old fast . We talked to the phone company so many times I have my own chair there . We talked to the neighbor . We complained to the phone company . We begged the phone company and once forced a line repair man to come into the building to check the lines before our very eyes . Each and every time we were assured that all was being done to correct the situation and all would be well … SOON ! Never happened !


Last month it was time to pay the bill , so I did that and all was OK . Oh , we still had the clicks , swishes , crackles , the humming , and the midnight hour phone calls , but at least when we plugged the phone in , it worked , sorta . Things were so bad that we mainly kept the phone unplugged to be free from the unwanted phone calls by the neighbor . This frustrates all our family and friends who take our phone not being plugged in very personally , but what to do , eh ? I am constantly being accused of being anti social . Moi !


Two weeks ago we had a new development , we could no longer dial mobile / cell numbers on our land line . There was some recording from Fatima Omar telling us we had to recharge our card . What card is she talking about ? What next Fatima ??? I took this personally , very . I felt as if I was being signaled out by the phone company for some sort of harassment or something . I hadn't heard of anyone else with this problem . Moe and I went to the phone company once AGAIN , this time to ask what Fatima was going on about a card to use our phone when it was a land line and not a mobile phone that uses cards . I mean we had paid our bill on time and didn't owe money .


The people at the phone company hadn't a clue at all as to what Moe and I were going on about . What Fatima Omar recording they asked . The one on our phone that says we need a card . Hum ? Of course you don't need a card for a land line they said assuredly .Maybe you owe on you phone bill ? No , I said here is my receipt of payment from last month . And so it went for two weeks , back and worth . Then , Eureka ! Some one said we had to go to the Post Office to buy a card that would enable us to make calls to mobile numbers once again from our land line . Oh Happy Days !!! It was a new system .


OK ! So , I did that . Went to the Post Office . Talked to a guy , asked all sorts of questions and he assures me that all I need is this card and all will be good once again in phone land . I could have a cheap one , where the money will run out fast , or a more expensive one that will last longer , or a subscription with a monthly charge . My thinking was to go with a expensive one to see how long it last , rather than a cheap one where I have to run back and worth every few days to buy a new card , like I see people with mobile phones doing . As for the subscription , well I already have that with the phone company , so why make life so complicated ? Long story short , two days AFTER I buy the card and use it for five minutes , really , the time is up .


This means another trip to the Post Office for more questions and few answers . This time I make Moe go with me . Now we get somewhere . The card I bought paid the phone account up to date , since the phone bills are always three months behind , but in this case , five . I didn't know that . No one at the phone company told us that ! Then secondly , we will no longer go to the phone company to pay our bill , but rather we will go to the Post Office to buy a phone card instead and pay as we go , or call as the case maybe . All this , and we still have the crackles , hissing , swishing , humming , and the midnight hour phone calls from the neighbors . Can things get any easier ? I am waiting for the bells to start any day now.


There is some good news , my grandson celebrated his first birthday last week .My oldest daughter discovered that she is two and a half months pregnant . We are all so excited over that news !!!! My youngest daughter is due to have her first baby in a couple of months . She had a scare this last week , but all is well now , AlHumdullallah ! Moe and I are rubbing along like two peas in a pod . Hope all is well with you and your loved ones too .

3 comments:

ibeebarbie said...

Salam One The Edge,
I was nearly pulling my hair out with the bank story and phone story. Good grief you poor thing--life really should be more simple, don't you agree? However, on the other end of things sounds like all is going well, alhamdullilah.
:0)

on the edge said...

Thanks for taking the time to write . I was so glade to hear your mom is doing so much better .Amira sounds like a very active little girl .I am sure she keeps you busy !!I don't know how you manage to do all the things you have to do .Allah bless you .

abdullah SH said...

iam happy 2 know somthing changed 2 d best in libya like ths bank wish all other places b better than now ...

about phone story ths happen exactly `e me d prob no when in libya tll u about new changes in any site u jst discover that accedentaly !!!
bt if u want my advice let phone land just 4 land calls & mobile 4 mobile calls cuz other than that wll increase cost of ur call ...
ex; land 2 land ....0.7
mobile (liby ) 2 (liby) ....0.15
land 2 mobile ( liby ) ...0.24