To Bigtown, where my plan was to meet my fellow local cycle campaigners for what we like to call a board meeting (coffee and cakes at our favourite cafe) and to sort out changing the signatories on our bank account to reflect the fact that we have got a new secretary (for the last six months) and treasurer (for the last three). We haven’t been tackling this with a huge sense of urgency partly because we don’t really spend much money, well any money, so we haven’t actually needed to sort out the signatories and partly because every encounter with the bank – well, any bank – leaves one with a slight sapping of the will to live and we’ve been avoiding it. However, it’s the kind of thing that does have to get sorted eventually, and our old treasurer had managed to get 50% of the correct forms from the bank and get them signed, and I had managed to summon up the effort to take them in, only to be told that one of the forms was the wrong form and, after much poking of the computer and head scratching on the part of the bank clerk, be given two new forms, one for each new signatory, so they could prove they weren’t money launderers. I was then told to hang on to the form I had, until the new signatories had put in their forms, and then everything could go off to head office together.
One of our new signatories very efficiently gathered up all her ID and took everything into the bank where the form was carefully checked and supposedly put aside for the other forms to be taken in. The other signatory then emailed to say she planned to drop her forms in today and I, having had a bit of a premonition about it, decided to drop in the main form at the same time to check that nothing went wrong, which was a good thing because a) it turns out the first signatory’s form had already gone off to head office where they were now scratching their heads over it because they hadn’t had the main form yet, and so it was bouncing around in the system waiting for our old treasurer to reply to a letter they had sent him about it to an address he had moved out of, and b) the second signatory hadn’t brought in any ID because the form she had to fill in didn’t say anywhere that two forms of ID would be needed, despite the fact that it was a fairly crucial part of the whole process of proving you’re not a money launderer, and you’d think the bank might want to put that on the form just to save everyone some time.
I now have the horrible feeling that, once the second signatory’s form has gone in, it will sit in limbo along with my form, waiting for the first signatory’s form to arrive, which will never happen because it is already at head office, where they are waiting for the response from our old treasurer to their letter which he will not receive because he has moved to Lincoln. And so we will remain, at a bureaucratic impasse, until someone works out a way around it, the bank goes bust out of sheer inefficiency, or we all die of old age, whichever is the sooner .
Oh, and our new treasurer has just announced that she is leaving. So in a few weeks (or, more likely, months or years) we will have to do it all again. ‘Easier just to open a new bank account’, the other half suggests. I’m beginning to think he might be right.