Time was ticking away at lunch and no call from XYZ Bank while Ron was still there to take care of everything. We all left the restaurant going our separate ways. My way was to go to the university to check to see if the theses I need to grade were in my box yet.
Just as I was walking up from the subway, Ron’s phone rings. It was the woman from XYZ Bank, but neither of us could hear the other. I asked for her to wait 1 minute until I could get to a quieter place to which she said she would call back and disconnected. I did what I needed to do at school and walked home strategically planning for quiet stores or cafes to run into in order to be able to hear when the call finally came through.
I reached home, but still no call was returned. I called them, but was told that they would have to initiate the process. “But I have to go out again and cannot guarantee I will be in a quiet place to take the call” I moaned. Ten minutes, in ten minutes they would call me back. It was actually shorter, more like 1.16 minutes. This is how it went.
XYZ Bank: “Hello, this is Imola from XYZ Bank calling. Is this Ronald Schmitz?”
Ryan aka Ron Schmitz: Of course, it isn’t. Although I am on this joint account, why mess with fate by admitting who I am. “Yes, this is Ron. Thank you for calling back.”
XYZ Bank: “Mr. Schmitz for security purposes, can you please give me your ATM number?”
Ryan aka Ron Schmitz: With great confidence because we had the wisdom for Ron to leave his card with me, I rattle off the numbers. “Sure, 8796122484561315646431354687”
XYZ Bank: “Thank you. Could you please tell me the security number of the back?”
Ryan aka Ron Schmitz: “Yes, it is 985-5978-45”
XYZ Bank: “Thank you. Now could you please give me the first and second numbers of your telephone pin code?”
Ryan aka Ron Schmitz: This is a trick question. The last call they wanted the third and fourth numbers. These two woman are in cahoots, but I tell her anyway. “X and Y.”
XYZ Bank: “Can you tell me the amount of the transfer and the currency type?”
Ryan aka Ron Schmitz: “It is forints and the amount is blah, blah millions.“
XYZ Bank: “Thank you. Now please tell me your date of birth.”
Ryan aka Ron Schmitz: “It is July 1, 1938.” I am feeling like I am on a hot streak at a casino. This is like an oral exam and I know all of the answers. I am on the top of the world until…
XYZ Bank: “Okay, Mr. Schmitz, what is your mother’s name?”
Ryan aka Ron Schmitz: Thank goodness I have heard this a zillion times, so it pops right into my head. “My mother’s maiden name is Guggerty.” The cheering section in the back of my mind is giving me a standing ovation. They are waving their cheer leading pennants spurring me on to victory. I have moved up another level.
XYZ Bank: “Yes, but what is your mother’s first name?”
Ryan aka Ron Schmitz: What? Her first name? Was it Mrs. or something else. Think, think, think. You know you have heard it a million times. Tick, tick, tick, but nothing is being verbalized.
XYZ Bank: “Hello? Mr. Schmitz are you still there?”
Ryan aka Ron Schmitz: “Yes, I am still here. I just went blank. The minute you asked the question my mind blanked out. Uhhh… I know I should know this. I cannot believe I am drawing a blank. What was that woman’s name? Uhh…Rose. That was her name, Rose.” A sense of relief washes over me like I have beat the gong that would be disqualifying me from this round of the competition. But then…
Citibank: “Yes, we have Rose, but we have another name too. What is that name?”
Ryan aka Ron Schmitz: Are you kidding me? I got 2 out of 3, isn’t that good enough? “Oh, this is so embarrassing; I went blank on my mother’s name. She used Rose, I cannot think of what her other name was.” All the time I am saying this, I am pouring through all of our legal documents, knowing that there has to be one with our mother’s names on them. I found Ron’s birth certificate, but it was filled in by hand and I cannot read the handwriting. I try stalling for time giving lame excuses. Every other document is just a blur beyond the name Ronald Schmitz. If his mother’s name is there, it has been mentally blacked and blanked out.
Citibank: “Mr. Schmitz, she was YOUR MOTHER!”
Ryan aka Ron Schmitz: Wow, she was really pouring on the guilt now. Should I say I was adopted at an early age? Maybe falsely confess my mother was an alcoholic so I repressed her name for my own mental health? Should I confess that this is really Ryan impersonating Ron to get this damn transfer completed before 2012? Thank goodness Ron wasn’t of Spanish origin. I would have needed a Rolodex for all of the names. No, what I say with a red face is “She has been dead for 20 years. Who can remember these things? I am too stressed to remember my mother’s other name. I had to go to the doctor this morning and it’s been a very stressful day. Can’t I give you Ryan’s mother’s name? She hasn’t been dead as long, so I can remember her name.”
XYZ Bank: “Can I put you on hold for a minute?”
Ryan aka Ron Schmitz: “Sure!” While I am holding, I am hunting for Rose’s other name. A Rose is a Rose is a Rose, but not in this case. This Rose is a Rose by another name. I found it.
XYZ Bank: “Hello, Mr. Schmitz, I am sorry to keep you on hold…
Ryan aka Ron Schmitz: “Wait, before you continue, it is Mary. Mary was my mother’s other name.” How stupid did I feel? Mary! How could anyone forget Mary? It wasn’t like it was some exotic or unusual name like Amorita or Shantelelain. Mary, a simple name with December connotations: Mary, Joseph, a donkey, lots of straw. DUH!!
XYZ Bank: She sighs with a sense of relief that there is hope for Americans; they can remember their mothers’ names. “Okay, Mr. Schmitz, one last question, what is the number on your national ID card?”
Ryan aka Ron Schmitz: Are you kidding me? We didn’t even have one when we opened this account, so how on earth would they have it in their records? This has to be a trick question. Now I am feeling like a contestant on Who Want to Be a Millionaire? Can I call a friend? No, I have the friend’s phone with me. Can I ask the studio audience? They have all vacated the premises as soon as the question was asked. Cowards. Can you give me 3 options and then you eliminate 2 of them? Had she flogged me enough to come clean and tell her the truth? Hell no! “Listen, I was out with friends for lunch and I had to leave early. I left my wallet with my partner to pay the bill. I don’t have my wallet with me. He has it and he had not returned home yet.”
XYZ Bank: Mr. Schmitz, can I put you on hold again?
Ryan aka Ron Schmitz: Feeling like I had been sent to the principal’s office after getting caught being bad, I muttered “Sure!”
XYZ Bank: “Mr. Schmitz, I spoke with my supervisor and she said we can release the money. The transfer will process today and will appear in the recipient’s account by Monday.”
Ryan aka Ron Schmitz: “Thank you!” In the back of my head the cheer leading audience has returned and they start with the chorus of Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!