Monday, April 18, 2011

Dumb Stories

This afternoon, at a slow point in my work day, I called my mom's branch and quickly made the decision to pretend to be a man. She answered, "Thank you for calling [so-and-so] bank. This is Sally Mc–"
"Hello," I said gruffly.
"Hello" I said, my pitch still lowered.
There was irritation in the air. She was speechless.
"This is me," I announced in my real voice.

She said she really had thought I was a man and had been getting ready to hang up on me. I was pleased that my trick worked. She usually doesn't fall for things like that.


My mom and I went out to do errands this evening while it was still light, and in the car, we discussed our days at our respective branches. I enjoy talking with my mom about the bank, detailing my brushes with the age-old client-archetypes. She gets a kick out of hearing about my encounters with the types of clients she’s encountered her whole time as a banker. When I begin one of the stories, she says, “Ohhh yeah. I’ve seen that one before.”

So, as we were pulling up to a stoplight, I started telling her about this young guy who came in today, and then, I thought I saw the guy in question, sitting shotgun in the next lane. I could only see him from behind, so I leaned forward to try to see his face. His friends must have tipped him off because he began glancing back. I got a good look at his face, his black Kouture cap (it wasn’t the guy); by then, he was glowing, grinning at me. Absolutely glowing, he blew a kiss. I blew a kiss back. He winked. I winked back. The light turned green, and as he was swept away in a U-turn, he turned completely around, waving profusely. I liked this encounter because it wasn’t cheesy, like ‘I’m hitting on you.’ He looked so loving, open, gleeful (as opposed to sly).


I was working at the bank a few days ago, and a couple came through the drive through. I processed their transaction–quickly and accurately, as I’m supposed to–and I saw, in a brief glance, a big dog sitting in the back seat. I stuffed a dog biscuit* in the box with their receipt, but then, I quickly removed the biscuit when I took a second look at the dog and realized it was actually a grey jacket, the Saturday morning dry cleaning pick-up, swathed in plastic.

Observation powers to the max.

This is apparently my first reaction to inanimate objects: to mistake them for animals. I've done this before–with plastic bags skittering in the wind (“Look, Mom–it’s a terrier!”) or a white tuft of litter far ahead on the path (I approach softly, thinking I’m approaching a rabbit). Today, as I was passing Walmart, I thought, for a split second, the black car part tumbling towards the median was a possum. At least they say when you see things in nothing you must be creative.

At least I caught myself before delivering the bone-shaped treat to my clients, who had dry cleaning but no dog. The couple really would have wondered. I would have tittered it off, “Oh, whoops (hee hee). I mistook your dry cleaning for a Great Dane," and they would have driven away thinking, “I can’t believe space cases like that handle our money.”

*For those who aren’t in-the-banking-know, tellers hand out lollipops to chillies and biscuits to canines. So, when I see a dog in a car, I stick a biscuit in the drive through box. Blondie didn't know this until I started working at the bank.

Guatemala. Summer 2009.

"Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly,
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.

Picture yourself on a train in a station,
With plasticine porters with looking glass ties.
Suddenly someone is there at the turnstile,
The girl with kaleidoscope eyes."

Friday, April 8, 2011

Olives and Cheese

I am a big fan of interacting through writing with what’s happening in life. That’s why I write this blog. That’s why I love other people’s blogs. That’s why I eat up Dough’s posts like black olive and provolone sandwiches.

Last night I read, like, a year of her posts in a row. Boop. They were from, like, 2009.

I read backwards to the date in February when she and I became friends. “Only two years ago!”, we have declared in shock.

I haven’t felt one hundred percent at ease publishing writing about myself because I've thought of how this sort of writing sometimes is viewed as narcissistic. I've heard someone call diary writing "navel-gazing." The annoying mirror shots, right? The point of this post is to say that I dig this sort of writing.

Fall 2009.

"but, of course, some days, I just lie around
and hardly exist,
and can´t tell apart what I´m eating
from my hand or my wrist,
´cause flesh is flesh, flesh is flesh is flesh,
the difference is thin.
but life has a certain ability of breathing new
life into me,
so i breathe it in.
it says here we are, and we all are here,
and you still can make sense,
if you just show up and present an honest face,
instead of that grin."

Friday, April 1, 2011

Playful, if only in my dreams

It occurred to me, when I was working at the bank today, that it would be
really funny if bankers played April Fools' jokes on their clients.
How baffling and inappropriate would that be.

"Before you leave, Mr. Pittroli, you ought to stop by the desk and talk with a financial services representative about your overdraft fees."
"My what?" Mr. Pittroli sounds like he's been slapped in the face.
"I'm looking at your account here," the teller says, scrolling down."Those checks cleared yesterday and brought your account into the red. You've accumulated five overdraft fees since your balance went into the negative."
Mr. Pittroli's countenance begins to change from confused to combative, and the teller gleefully yells, "April Fools!"

Or over the phone:
"Yes, this is Sam from Pride Bank. I'm calling to inform that we have reviewed your application, Mrs. Ravioli, and we sincerely regret to inform you that you don't qualify for the equity loan. April Fools!"

Since last August when I began working 'in the real world', I've had a sense of resistance to how seriously everything has to be taken. Of course, I keep this playful sense of resistance to myself, and I don't act it out.

"As each year goes by
I know more about how my father must have felt"