Friday, May 8, 2009

A change of address

I stopped by the bank today to give them my new address. No problem, a friendly clerk put the new address on the account. Oh, I said, and can you change the name on the account to my name? I'm already an authorized signer, and my checks say "Susan Dewitt / PazSalud." But the name on the account that's sent out every month is still Eleanor Gilmore. Oh no, said the clerk, that would require papers from an attorney... Or perhaps another six months for my Spanish to get good enough for sustained argument. It's always a challenge, operating outside the familiar boundaries of one's own culture, to guess what's going to be possible and what's going to be hard.

Names seem to persist here, whether the owners of the names are present or not. The electricity and water bills for this house come in the name of the long-deceased mother of the present landlady. When I call for a taxi to the airport, the taxi company tells me that I am Eleanor Gilmore (a reasonably challenging name for a Spanish speaker) and I have decided not to dispute that. I can be Eleanor Gilmore whenever that's the path of least resistance. Certainly, for the bank!

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