Today is the first day of my fiancée, my brother and I spending a nice, long weekend in lovely Berlin as the Indian summer comes to an end. To be fair, I love Berlin in all seasons (even winter, with the right coat and hat), but September is nicer. Let’s be real.
Yesterday evening, around 1am, as we were slowly coming to the realization that it was high time to go to bed, holiday or no holiday (we had a morning flight, and by morning, I mean 12:40), I figured I’d quickly double check my bank account balance to make sure we were good for the next few days. I bought a few things of value recently – including a ring – so I just wanted to make sure I’d have enough cash left to buy coffee. You know, the simple things.
I logged in to my account: turns out I was thousands of euros in the red… The ring was not made of chocolate, but still. I double checked the latest bank transfers: there was a massive sum of money going to the State’s employer contributions agency for the salary I gave myself last year. In short, the company that I own paid me a salary (I know the guy) and I was now personally paying – not the company! – for the employer costs involved. That was a new one.
Also, that was a bit of an issue on the eve of a trip abroad, 3 working days away from the end of the month. Side note: I have never ended a month with an empty bank account ever in my life. Not that I’m a millionaire (except maybe in rubles once), just that I’m pretty cautious with money (except with Starbucks). So I was a little pissed off, as one might assume. The problem was, it was 1am and my accountant, who made the mistake (I wouldn’t be so bold as to fuck myself up like that), was probably asleep. And, even if he was not and showed remarkable (and unlikely) proactivity, I’m not sure how quickly the bank would have reacted.
So I sent a rather pissed off email to the guy – and his boss: what the hell – and went to sleep angry. My fiancée patiently listened to me bitch about that idiot for a good 20 minutes before petting our cat finally calmed me down a little. Then I went to bed and got woken up hours later by that same cat purring next to us. And I felt somewhat less pissed off, for some reason. That’s what they call pet therapy, I believe.
A girl from the accounting firm called me first thing in the morning – somehow going straight to voice mail – asking me to call her back. That’s all the message said: efficiency first, always. So I did, once we were in the train headed for the airport: she advised me to transfer the money back through the bank myself, as that would be the fastest way to operate (sic). I said I would, then thanked her for her outstanding help in the matter.
I handled the transfer at the airport’s café, while my Americano was getting cold and my fiancée and brother were talking careers, business and real estate (or some other non-fiscal related topic). As I suspected, the amount was too high for me to transfer automatically, so I had to shoot an email to my banker instead. And hope she would check her mail quickly enough.
Then I joined the conversation: real estate in Berlin is such a good investment!