I love technology, I really do. I’m endlessly intrigued by the possibilities technology offers to make our lives better, more fun, and more productive. Yet, with technology replacing more and more aspects of our everyday lives, sometimes we miss out on those moments that can only happen when you do things the old-fashioned way.
Take banking, for instance. Today, I went into my bank for the first time in ages. Normally, online banking and ATM machines allow me to avoid the DMV-like atmosphere of having to handle transactions at the actual bank itself. If I do have to go to the bank, I almost always use the drive-thru window so I’m in and out in as rapid a fashion as possible.
This morning, I went to the bank as I had a check I needed to deposit. I pulled up at 9 AM when the bank opened to get it over with and get to work as quickly as possible. The drive-thru line was already five cars deep and, for some reason, I didn’t feel like waiting, so I parked to go in the bank. The doors were still locked as I walked up. A couple local guys were standing and waiting. We’ll call them Guy #1 and Guy #2. They were farming types, in their mid- to late-60’s, guys who’ve probably been up since 3:45 AM to shoe their horses or milk their cows as they had on clothes with a days-worth of dirt already. They were not the most in-shape guys by any stretch of the imagination, but their hands looked as though they could strangle a horse or crush a cue ball with little to no effort. They had fingers that looked like thick links of pork sausage set atop a hand that you’d swear was a 2-inch thick T-bone steak. I, in my neatly pressed button-down shirt, khakis, dress shoes, and freshly clipped fingernails, felt like half a man standing next to these behemoths, but I offered a hearty good morning and took my place in line.
As the three of us waited for the bank doors to open, a woman came out of one of the apartment buildings from down the street and began to approach us. Even from 75 yards away, I could see this was going to liven things up a bit. She was an older woman, roughly the same age as the two guys I was standing with. Working from bottom to top, she had on a pair of flip-flops, cut off jean shorts, and a white T-shirt. She was a homely looking woman who had certainly seen better days. As she got closer to us, the men recognized who she was. Guy #1 started making fun of Guy #2 by saying, “Uh oh, here comes your girlfriend.” Guy #2 was clearly embarrassed and didn’t want to deal with this ridicule, so he went inside the double doors to hide like a little boy avoiding a rabid dog. As she walked down the street towards the bank, I noticed that her most prominent feature was the sizable breasts that flopped around underneath her shirt without any support. They were huge and looked like a set of wool hunting socks with grapefruits hanging inside. Guy #1, not caring that I was standing right next to him, poked his head in the door and said to Guy #2, “Holy shit, can you imagine playing with those balloons?” Guy #2 mumbled something I couldn’t hear.
She made it to the bank and I could see that she had a bank envelope with her. As she said hello to Guy #1, I could also see that she hadn’t visited a dentist since fluoride toothpaste was invented. Guy #1 said something about stopping at the bank first thing in the morning and I could swear I heard her say something about depositing 70 cents. She then went right by me, as if I weren’t there, and poked her head in the door. “What are you doing in there?”, she said to Guy #2. Again, he mumbled something back to her through the door that I couldn’t hear. She now stood in front of me, oblivious to my existence. I let it go. This was one time that I willingly let someone cut in line. Be my guest, I thought to myself.
The bank employees opened the doors a few seconds later. Guys #1 and #2 queued up for the lone teller and Crazy Lady followed right behind. Guy #2, who had been hiding from her, went up to the teller first. Crazy Lady decided that she wanted to stand right next to him to watch. She stood to his left as he withdrew some money and she looked at him like he was William Randolph Hearst, the richest man in the world. He finished his business, turned to walk out, and rolled his eyes at me as he passed by. Crazy Lady just stood there leaning on the counter as Guy #1 came up. Again, she just stood there as he took care of his transactions, watching and listening intently, as if teller and customer were speaking some alien dialect she only wished she understood. Clearly, she had no concept that her standing there while business was being conducted, was completely inappropriate. At the same time, both Guy #1 and the teller seemed to know what was going on and chose to ignore it. Guy #1 finished and left.
The teller let Crazy Lady go next and, again, I didn’t mind at all. I had to see this. She moved over to the opening and put her bank envelope on the counter. Standing in line at a small-town bank, it’s hard not to hear the conversation that takes place at the teller window. You don’t necessarily want to listen, but sometimes you just can’t help it. I wanted to hear this conversation in the worst way. I had no problem hearing the details as Crazy Lady spoke at the same volume level one uses to speak to someone at a rock concert.
“I’d like to deposit seven cents please,” said Crazy Lady.
No fucking way, I thought to myself. She then proceeded to pour seven pennies out of her envelope onto the counter. Seven cents, not 70 cents, not seven dollars. Seven cents. The teller didn’t even flinch. She had played this game before, but, you could tell, she wasn’t a big fan. She took the pennies and entered the total into Crazy Lady’s account.
“Can you tell me my balance?” asked Crazy Lady. The teller said the total quietly to her, not wanting to announce it to the other people in the bank.
“What was that? Did you say $1.31?” said Crazy Lady loud enough that everyone in the bank, as well as the pharmacy down the street and the village offices a quarter mile away, could hear what she said.
“Yes I did,” sighed the bank teller who looked like she already needed a stiff drink to make it through the day after a holiday weekend.
Crazy Lady was cool, though. She was satisfied, took her receipt after depositing her seven cents, and wrote down the new balance on her envelope. As she walked out, she said to no one in particular, “One dollar and thirty-one cents. Well, that’s better than nothing.”
I wish I could make this stuff up.