Like most people these days, I don't often need to enter a bank (though I'm old enough to remember when the only way to get hold of cash was to queue up and present a cheque, made out to 'Self', to the cashier). Whenever I do set foot in a bank, though, I seem to be presented with a little vignette of our times - often in the form of asinine signage or other nomenclatural insanity.
This morning, however, it was different. No sooner was I over the threshold than I was approached by a smiling greeter - something that always makes me wonder momentarily if I've strayed into a restaurant or nightclub - who kindly referred me to a nearby colleague, even cheerier than herself. This lady would have been delighted to help me with my transaction (an international money transfer), but alas she was awaiting a Mr (let's say) Wilson, who was due for a scheduled meeting with her at that precise time. So I joined the appropriate queue, while she approached every man who came in with the question 'Are you Mr Wilson?'. None was, so after while she gave up on Mr W and came to my aid, performing the (fairly brief) online transaction - in the course of which a message pinged up on the screen telling her that her visitor had arrived. She looked up, but seeing no likely candidate nearby, concluded that he must have been taken to one side by her greeter colleague.
In a few minutes she had done with me and, after an exchange of courtesies, she arose - shortly after a woman customer sitting nearby had also arisen and left - and went to consult her greeter colleague about the whereabouts of Mr Wilson. The outcome was that they realised, with some consternation, that Mr W had turned up, waited a while and gone. Mr Wilson was in fact the woman sitting nearby. A vignette of our times indeed.