pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: One

16 May 2013


14 May 2013

Since I returned, I've been playing catch up--grocery, banking, dry cleaning, laundry, all the errands and things that keep me in constant motion. I was only gone for a week, but it's amazing how fast stuff piles up.

The bank is generally a quiet place and there are usually few people doing business when I'm in there. This morning, I was surprised to see a line, and even more surprised when I suddenly heard shouting. I tend to be on my guard in banks--I was a teller for a brief time in college and one Saturday, while I was working, the branch was robbed. Though it wasn't a Hollywood style crime, it was an unnerving experience to the say least.

The person who was shrieking turned out to be a wizened old woman standing at one of the windows. She was tiny and bent, covered from neck to ankles in a shabby dress, her head covered as well. As I got into line, she began to use language that we were told as children was a one-way ticket to Hell. The stream of profanity, mostly discernible despite her heavy accent, was such that the two senior citizens in front of me began to bristle.

A teller appeared from another part of the bank and offered to help the first woman in line elsewhere.

"WELL MAYBE YOU'D BETTER HELP HER!" that woman shouted, gesturing with disgust at the stooped woman at the window, who had gone on to ramble about investments, credit, and a lost $10 bill, the diatribe interspersed with more profanity.

Two tellers were now at the window, and one of them told the stooped woman loudly that they'd done what they could for her, but in response to that, the woman began a long confused story about theft and a grocery store. The bank manager appeared, and quietly tried to get her to move along, but the stooped woman began shouting again, seeming to make accusations against a bank employee.

Another female senior citizen shoved her way in front of me, and she began shouting because there weren't any tellers helping her. Then she began shouting at the woman at the window.

I was starting to think that it might be worth a call to 911 before all these old people started beating each other up.

Finally, a bank employee called me to a window, and after I quietly made my request and signed the appropriate forms, he took my paperwork. He asked for my driver's license, and then disappeared into the back. The bank manager, meanwhile, had persuaded the stooped woman to quiet down, and leave the teller window for a desk so she could continue her rant. The employee who was helping me returned with my transactions, and as he passed my driver's license back, he said, "Happy birthday next week."

With all the chaos, I was momentarily flummoxed, until it slowly dawned on me that yes, it's May, and he'd seen my birthdate on my driver's license. I thanked him, and then he said a bit sadly, "It's my birthday today."

And all I could do was wish him a day that improved from there.

I left the bank feeling as though civilization was crumbling around me.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4. I hate to admit it, but all I could think of was the movie Drag Me to Hell, and I've only seen the first 10 minutes. 

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