Wednesday, 20 November 2013

No Man's Land

I have had a series of discussions this week around the logistics of the sale of our house and the purchase of a different property. I keep coming up against decisions right now - big decisions - that I often feel ill equipped to make - information is thrown at me and I find it hard to concentrate - to focus - to figure out the right thing to do. And smack up against this was something particularly unwelcome yesterday that inspired the most deeply seeded fury. A meeting with an official at the bank - where I have been a client since I was sixteen years old - and my partner who has been connected to them for about two minutes (he banks elsewhere) in which every comment was directed away from me - when the primary topic was the funds that I practically killed myself to earn over the course of my career. As far as he knew - I was no one - and my partner, who he happened to recognize from the radio - was the important one. Until he actually looked at my recent tax returns and saw what I had earned, asking me in disbelief if I still earned that salary. His condescension, his dismissal of me - should not come as a surprise - been there, done that - but still it was probably the most humiliating moment of them all - explaining myself to some low-level minion who isn't even in a position to make a decision without appealing to his corporate masters for help. Why is it that some men continue to assume that when a man and a woman walk into a meeting - you - the female in the room - are like some useless piece of furniture? And how does one stop feeling the fury of it all - the incredible frustration - the fatigue of knowing this behaviour will go on and on and on. Money talks - but doesn't drown out the braying of men - the sound of their own voices echoed back to one another - insulting, demeaning, inappropriate - but a movie reel that does not end. The fact is I am no longer a wage earner and therefore I am nothing. I may have assets but I am not one - at least not in that person's eyes. I wish I could say I could let it go, but I can't - it chafes - insult to injury - yet another comeuppance that I have to absorb. I want to scream that I am still here - I am somebody - I deserve better than that. Because of course what I feel is bigger than that moment - about something entirely different - a symptom of where I routinely find myself - teetering on the periphery of life with no useful purpose anymore - nothing to redeem myself on paper - no evidence right now that I ever had anything to offer. That is what all of this has reduced me to - buried in no-man's land - but not gone yet.

6 comments:

  1. I would do what you do best -- "write". Write a letter to the bank. I hear if you submit complaints or praises regarding employees to their company website....it goes high up the chain. I know of two particular cases where one employee was fired and one employee was given an award just by a letter to the website contact. Think of all the interest payments on just even your mortgage -- that they have made off of you. So as a lovely human being you are and as a past paying customer...you should not have been treated like that at all! Beck

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  2. Good suggestion, my Beck...up until now had a great person working with me but unfortunately she was ill and couldn't make the meeting...xo

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  3. That reminds me of my time car-shopping with my husband. The numerous salesmen who said I should look for cars with larger backseats ''for the children'' and that women usually only cared what colour the car was..?? I said I didn't care if it was freaking rainbow! Oh yeah, and I wanted a small, zippy car and definitely didn't want children. . Our society's sad reliance on patriarchy makes my blood boil.

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    1. Good grief...I would say I am glad I am not alone in feeling this way - but I don't think it is much to celebrate that this kind of behaviour continues. Earth to men...hello...

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  4. I've been in the right seat in that bank meeting. My wife, who has always earned at least equal (and often more) my annual income, was faced with a mortgage "manager" who insisted on directing all conversation my way. She's an accountant; I'm a sea captain. She's at home most of the year; I'm away for about half of it. We had already decided SHE should conduct all the negotiations. Mr. mortgage manager would have none of it until I said, "You have 30 seconds to figure out who the household money manager is here. If you fail to reason that out correctly I will recommend that we take our business elsewhere since at least 1/2 of this financial mortgage-bond-buying resource will have no confidence in your judgement."
    This is a small part of a much longer story but it caused some momentary long faces. You have every reason to be furious.

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    1. Thanks for your note, Dave - sometimes one has no choice but to speak up!

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