Have you ever been set-up by a well-meaning friend? Of course it’s not your typical thing. No need, right? You do fine on your own. A guy like you…how could you not? Still, in my case, the friend was persistent. “It’ll be the perfect relationship,” he assured. “Easy set-up. No strings. Just what you’re looking for till you head back home.”
Again, I’m a pretty self-sufficient guy with a healthy ego, but after some badgering and few lone wolf stumbles, I reluctantly agreed. After all I was new in town, lacked a defined network, and well, desperately needed the promised services.
The first meeting went well, actually happened in the coffee shop downstairs from my office. I was surprised at such accommodation and thought if this were a sign of things to follow, maybe the rumors were true and I’d be a happy boy in Asia.
Sadly, what started as an all about me thing quickly reversed directions. In a matter of days a series of rules, procedures and dare I say demands were proposed, transforming this once attractive prospect to something as appealing as a hump-backed, plus-size rodeo clown decked out in a spandex skirt and hooker heels.
And that was just the beginning. Soon more ugliness was unveiled. Something analogous to: “Yeah, I got three kids, but they live with their baby’s daddy on account of I was in the joint till last summer and still need to call into my PO till I officially kick the crank. It’s all right though. Just another 60k to the bookies and I’m clear. I can probably work that off… if you know what I mean. Might catch the clap again, but that’s a fixer. Boy you’re quiet. Maybe I won’t need that ball gag after all.”
Yeah, it wasn’t pretty. Her name was Citibank. And after months of being manipulated, bamboozled, and flat-out cyber-stalked I just had to break free. Sure, by this time I was in deep. I had three accounts, four credit cards, and about 17 non-working PINs, the sum of which failed to allow me to book a ticket on Tiger Airlines or use a local ATM without being battered about by a series of international “convenience” fees.
Maybe I wanted too much. Maybe I refused to see the flaws, read the fine print. It’s all a blur really, like someone slipped me a financial roofie. One minute I’m sipping coffee with an articulate sales rep, talking interest rates, seamless wire transfers, and free checking. The next, I’m hopelessly cursing at a Bangalore-based customer service agent whose phone script may as well have described the operational procedures for a 72’ Honda snow blower.
Still I’m not bitter. Citibank may be the devil, but I got out of my deal free and clear. My accounts are closed, my cards torched, and my cash, while crinkled, will someday find the strength to bank again.
I heard of this new girl recently – D.B.S. I call her Debs. Maybe she’s the one for me.