I called the real estate agents from admidst Friday evening rush hour traffic. Poised to make a right hand turn.
“Hello, The Professionals.”
“Hi! Could you tell me what time you close tonight?”
“It’s B. I’m going to be renting the trailer out the back of that house. The one with the ostrich. I’m on my way but stuck in traffic.”
“Well – I’m really stuck in traffic at the moment.”
“Oh. Are you?”
“And I Just Need To Know WHAT TIME YOU CLOSE?
“Ah. The girl will be here until five o’clock, and…
“Thank you. Bye.”
I drove on, gritting my teeth. I arrived at the real estate agent at 4.59pm. All lights were one, sign was out, there were at least four people still behind the counter.
“Hi, I’m running a bit late, but I’ve come to sign the rental agreement and pay the first months rent and bond.”
The girl behind the counter looked at me non-plussed.
“Well, Doris is sick, so the condition report hasn’t been done, but that might not be a problem, I’ll just give her a call.”
I sat and waited for ten long minutes.
She came back. I eyed her hopefully. Got my purse out.
“OK. Well, did Doris tell you that the bond has to be paid with a money order made out to RTB?”
“A. Money. Order.”
“From. The. Post. Office. Yes, I know. And no, I had no idea. I thought I’d be able to pay everything on Eftpos.”
“Oh no. We don’t have Eftpos.”
“Oh. Right. Well, is there a bank around here?”
“No, just the post office, and that’s closed.”
“Right. Well can I pay it over the net – just direct deposit into your account?”
She looked at me blankly, and the boss chimed in, “
Oh, we’re all ladies here you know… Oh, we’re jsut a small business you know. We’ve been thinking of implementing that, but…no.”
I took a very deep breath, almost inhaling them both. “OK. So you’re saying I have to [squeezing the words out] Pay. In. Cash. And that’s how I’m going to have to pay my rent?”
“Oh yes,” the main guy said companionably, “Just bring it down to the office every second Saturday morning.”
I gripped the counter for support, and then made a quick exit, muttering that I’d see them on Monday clutching wads of currency and the Money Order.”
It is going to take me a little time to adjust to country life.