At the time my friend, Ray, who later became my best man and one of my daughter's godparents, tended to wear a long, black, Matrix (leather) coat. One day we were on campus and I needed to go to the bank to extend my overdraft. Ray had a great idea. We would go in together and he would pretend to be my 'guide' or 'mentor'. Whenever I was asked a question I was to look up at him, and he would nod to indicate that I should proceed. It seemed terribly funny at the time.
We were called forward to the desk of one of the 'personal bankers', an austere lady with a giant blond bouffant and pearl earrings. She reminded me of one of my primary school teachers. "Please take a seat," she said. I took a seat and Ray stood rigidly behind my left shoulder.
"How may I help you?" she asked.
I looked up at Ray, who nodded cautiously. "I'd like to extend my overdraft," I said. She asked for my debit card. Once again I looked up at Ray. He paused for a second, as if weighing up the situation, and then nodded again. I handed over my debit card.
The lady stiffened and peered at me over her spectacles. She glanced up at Ray, and then back at me. The bouffant grew visibly larger, the pearl earrings winked in unison, a terrifying stoniness came into her grey eyes. Had I listened hard I expect I would have heard a dog barking in the distance.
"Who," she said, "is THAT?"
I looked up at Ray. A sense of acute discomfort came over me, maybe this wasn't such a great idea after all. Ray had the appearance of a Neo who was wetting himself with fear. He nodded again, a little reluctantly.
"This is my mentor," I said, employing my very best poker face.
"Well," she said, as if scolding a pair of naughty kindergartners, " either your 'mentor' leaves RIGHT NOW, or I call the police."
I turned to Ray. Once standing proud and upright, he was now drooping like a wet sock. "You wait outside," I said. He regained his composure and strode out Neo-like while I sorted out my overdraft.