I was talking to a banker today about an account. I explained that I was interested in his particular bank because it has a foreign currency desk at the local branch. I also mentioned that it was British pounds that I was particularly interested in. After we had transacted the business, he asked politely if he might inquire about why I was interested in British pounds. My answer was that I breed a rare pony from England called the Fell Pony and that the registry doesn’t take American dollars, just British pounds.
The question he asked isn’t an unusual one, as most of my transactions at the foreign currency desk elicit a similar question. His reaction, though, was highly unusual. He immediately responded, “Ah the ponies of the Lake District and the fells!” My jaw nearly dropped to my chest, as at this point in a conversation I’m often educating the inquirer about the exact location in England from which these ponies come. Instead, it was I that asked the next question: “You know of the Fell Pony!?”
This gentleman was sitting in Arizona on the phone, but he had grown up in Carlisle and spent nights and weekends fishing in the many lakes and streams of the Lake District with his father. He had fond memories of everything but the weather. While he has returned on a number of occasions to visit, he’s spent most of his life working in much warmer climates, including a decade in northern Africa. It was fun for both of us to share memories of places we’d seen in common. When we concluded our conversation, I thanked him for asking the question about British pounds. It was a serendipitously enjoyable part of my day, from a banker!
(c) Jenifer Morrissey 2011