Here in Spain you pay the bills at the bank.
Well, that would make sense, wouldn’t it, as they deal in money.
So whether it’s personal tax, council tax, electricity, or telephone, off you go to the bank. Apart from the water bills that you can pay at the office. The bank is easier to be honest.
Just to confuse matters the water bills come every three months, telephone and electricity – every two.
Sadly, now that I have ADSL, the telephone bill is monthly. I think that’s so us Internet addicts don’t all die from shock when we get two months’ worth of line rental, ADSL rental, a few calls, plus 16% tax.
But you can’t pay your bills at the bank at just any old time.
Some stipulate only between the 10th and 20th of the month. Others say only on a Monday if it’s the week of a full moon. My local village bank is Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8.30-10.30am.
I checked I had enough to pay and off I went. Purse in hand.
The bank office is currently being revamped, so it’s service-as-usual out of a portable office in a bus. Don’t know what happens if you use a wheelchair or crutches though, as the only way in is up steps.
Actually I’ve never seen a wheelchair in the village. And if any of the older people have problems walking, their family just grab hold of them, and drag them out for the enforced ritual constitutional. Same would go for the bank I guess – the family would go for you. Who needs independence when you have family?
I digress. The bank man was on his own. Pili (the manager) was in town signing stuff, and Antonio was on his holidays. Every time someone came in, he repeated the story.
There were three people in front of me. Each time he started to deal with someone the ‘phone rang. Then he had to go into Pili’s office and rummage around. Then had to do something on the computer. Multiply this by three.
What would normally take a few minutes was taking a seriously long time. Anyway, no rush here. So we sat chatting about next week’s feria (fair), how people didn’t want to leave the village and live two kilometres away because all their friends and family were here, and how you could just put one of those nice pre-fabs up on your terrace for your kids when they wanted their own place so they didn’t have to leave. Has to be said I didn’t take a very active part in that last bit.
And then it was my turn. “Hola, buenos,” I said. He started keying in the bill details. I opened the purse to pay. It was the sterling purse that I use for Gib. Not a Euro in sight.
So when I’d checked the purse earlier it was the Euro purse. And it was still sitting on the computer desk. And then I’d absent-mindedly picked up the Gib purse.
“Aaaaaah,” I said. He looked up attentively. “No tengo el dinero.” I didn’t want a conversation about the two purses going round the whole village within an hour. And it was true. I didn’t have the money.
“Qué hora es?” I asked, naively thinking I might be able to rush home and get the right purse. “Ya es 10.30.”
Ah well. Back on Thursday morning for another half an hour’s chat about the feria or whatever.