My financial adviser (let’s call her Lizzy) every now and again contacts me to find out if I have any money…I never do. I’m possibly her worst client. She’s probably lost more in admin fees on me in the last ten years than what she’s made. But still, she treats me the same as clients with millions to invest. At least, I’d like to think she does. So sometimes she makes home visits.
Nobody does that anymore these days, do they? If you want to see a doctor, a lawyer, a dentist or anybody, really, you have to go and see them at their offices. My father’s financial adviser used to visit us when we were little kids – but then, he also lost my father a lot of money and reeked of pipe tobacco! But I digress.
Everything is ready for her home visit. The floor is swept of most of the dog hair, baby is fed and has dry clothes on, the kettle has boiled. Lizzy is slightly late. No problem, I’m always late, so I don’t judge people for that.
She parks in the street and I, baby in arms, go out to meet her. The dogs are running up and down the yard fence. We don’t get too many visitors so they get very excited when someone does show up. At one point in my life I wanted to be an animal behaviourist (that ended when I had to call the course administrator to explain that the dog had eaten my homework. No really!), so although nobody might realise it, these unmannered dogs of mine mortify me! I digress again.
Lizzy crosses the street, beautifully dressed and all professional-looking. I cringe as I think about my bare face, my dirty hair hastily tied back into a pony tail and my shirt that smells vaguely of sour milk. Perhaps I should have driven all the way to the Southern suburbs in order to have kept up some semblance of a professional impression for her benefit?
The pedestrian gate won’t open. It seems that a baby gecko has managed to get itself wedged into the mechanism. I get flustered and now I’m worried that I may squash the gecko so I open the big gate instead. Before she can enter through the opening, my fluffy dog makes a dash for freedom and nearly knocks her over. Despite my warning shout, Lizzy is too late to grab him. It will be a matter of mere seconds before he disappears around the corner. “Take the baby!” I shout at her as I practically throw the baby into her arms and sprint across the road to catch my delinquent dog.
Both of us panting, I drag the dog back into the yard. Lizzy, despite looking confused, has just about managed to avoid getting covered in baby spit-up and she seems to be coping, so I leave baby with her while I attempt to bribe the dogs into staying outside with some chewy treats.
Thank all that is good Lizzy declines to have any lunch. The only things I have to offer are toast and some mini-pizzas! I try to make tea so that we can get down to business.
We get to the table. It’s covered in breakfast crumbs. How did that happen? I was so sure I had cleaned everything! The baby starts to complain about the strange lady holding her and besides, she is tired, so I take her back. Lizzy is left to pour the tea – both her own and mine while I fumble with the tetchy baby.
Before we can discuss my diminishing monetary value to my household and society at large, the dogs are barking outside the door so I have to let them in in order for us to hear each other. They come in and sit on Lizzy’s feet. She claims not to mind dogs, but her face and her words are sending me opposite messages. Besides, not even I like it when my hairy beasties cover me in slobbery kisses. She is also wearing dark trousers which will be covered in obstinate dog hair for the rest of the day…That drive to the Southern suburbs seems like a really good idea right now.
We have one matter to discuss. I have one decision to make. It takes us nearly two hours because I am so starved for adult conversation that I keep interrupting our proceedings with anecdotes about my children. She is patient and listens to my tales, but I think she is relieved when I finally sign the forms and she can extract her feet from underneath the fluffy dog.
I, too, sigh with relief as her car drives away. It would seem there is a reason why people have offices. It is probably best to go see professional people at their places of business if you would like to be seen as a professional yourself…