Card troubles and isn’t that phone smart

MALFUNCTIONING bank cards and pin number trouble took up part of yesterday. This left me grumping until my new phone did something surprising with US Republican hopeful Donald Trump.

The bigot’s bigot, the idiot’s idiot – he’s all over the news this morning for saying that the US should ban Muslims from entering the country. This is old news on my ledge as I addressed America’s most dangerous fool yesterday.

Later in the afternoon I was cooking tea before my wife returned from work. As she’s out and I’m in, the weekday catering falls to me. The water was on for the spaghetti, the roast pepper sauce was bubbling gently, all the burnt bits having been removed.

I’d just used my phone to find out how long to soak cannellini beans for today’s Tuscan bean soup. Yes, peasant food elevated to a middle-class table again. Heaven only knows what’s left for those peasants to eat nowadays.

I placed the phone next to the radio. Google hadn’t been switched off and the voice-activation kicked in. The phone had listened to the headlines about Donald J(erk) Trump and started seeking out stories about him.

Soon I had Trump on the radio and a list of further Trumps on my phone. This cheered me up no end. Not the presence of all those trumping Trumps spouting vile and virulent nonsense. Just the fact that my phone could do something so clever – a little pointless, but undeniably clever.

My banking skills, it has to be said, are less smart.

Yesterday my two main bank cards let me down at the local shops. One wasn’t recognised and the other delivered no money, instead offering the on-screen chastisement that I had already used the wrong pin number three times.

Visit your main branch, the machine advised with a sigh. So after trudging home that’s what I did. I then cycled into York and confessed my idiocy to the bank manager sitting at the help desk.

She said never mind, she’d done that too. A kind lie I am sure, but it made me feel mildly less incompetent.

After that I walked over to the other bank to order a replacement for my scratchy card. Connected once more to our bank accounts, I withdrew twenty quid and cycled home, now with the readies for what I laughably still think of as a haircut. In reality a number-three razor tidy up.

In that un-carded moment yesterday, I glimpsed what it must feel like to have no access to money. All right it didn’t last long, and a bit of cycling sorted out the problem. But still – it induced a rash of panic, not helped by the fact that the money we have will only last so long.

This freelancing lark seems mostly to entail pushing at shut doors, and then eagerly hanging around any door that does open.

As for that pin number, somehow I’d forgotten one that I’d been using for years, and mixed it up with the pin for a credit card.

Without wishing to let any snooping card thieves into my secrets, I am prepared to give a little something away. My main bank code relates to my height – so that’s 6003 as a handy shorthand for six foot three. And the other card is my IQ plus one. So that’s 1601.

Although if you try either of those, you may have to go and visit that nice bank manager at the Halifax in York.

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