Form Line Here
this day and age, who actually goes inside the bank?
As far as I'm concerned, the interior of the bank is kind of a non-space
space reserved for a specific crowd, basically people who are either
a) fundamentally flustered by ATMs, like my mom, b) applying for
a loan, or c) doing something else bank-y that isn't a loan, but
falls into that same category of things involving percent signs
that are all too complicated for me to understand.
But on those rare occasions when I do have inside-of-bank-business
to tend to -- i.e. getting quarters for laundry -- I have to say:
I kind of love it. It's a quaint, old-fashioned-y type errand, and
the running of it makes me feel sort of wholesome, much the way
people feel, I bet, when they go to Western Union to send a telegram,
say, or to get their shoes cobbled. All I know is that whenever
I stride up to that faux-velvet rope and step into line amongst
my fellow West Hollywood peeps, a bolt of contentedness hits me
and I find myself thinking: I am a citizen of this neighborhood.
And of the WORLD!
I should mention that my gusto for banking is helped along by the
fact that at my local Bank of America branch, the employees -- 100%
of whom are Armenian-American and/or Persian-American, by the way
-- are the friendliest people on earth. At the very least they're
the friendliest people in West Hollywood. Plus they're so amazingly
efficient; whenever I transact with them I feel like I'm truly and
thoroughly Taking Care of Business, a feeling that I just so happen
to treasure more than any feeling in all of life.
So last Saturday I headed over to my B of A to do the quarters thing.
I'd complete a life-affirming bank errand and then head to a yoga
class taught by my favorite teacher Fusako, who's not only incredibly
bendy but also adorable. (At the end of every class she goes around
and gives everyone a head rub. Who knows why she does it but it
makes me so excited I can barely breathe.)
When I arrived at the bank there were just a handful of customers
there, and, thankfully, no line. I stationed myself behind the little
island -- the one that houses all those forms and pens-on-a-rope
-- and awaited my ding.
Seconds later, another customer came in and stood behind me. This
person, I noticed, was phenomenally petite. Not in a midget way,
just in a tiny man way. And his entire look was fabulous. He was
somewhere between 40 and 70 years old, and sported a platinum-blond
Phil Spector-esque bowl-cut replete with bangs that flopped "boyishly"
into his eyes. Meanwhile, a vast thicket of white chest-fur lunged
from his half-unbuttoned shirt and the charms from his necklaces
nestled cozily into this hair -- as if it was a down quilt, or a
very comfortable patch of grass. But what I actually found most
beguiling about Tiny Man was his vaguely curious figure, a silhouette
I will call Narrow Yet Deep. Meaning, if you measured from his bellybutton
straight on through to his back, it would be possibly an insane
amount of inches.
Man's overall look was utterly compelling to me. And actually, I
thought, his whole presentation just so perfectly epitomized Hollywood.
On the one hand he easily could have been some celebrity I was supposed
to recognize; just as easily he could have been homeless and living
out of a Ralph's Supermarket shopping cart on Sunset. L.A. is special.
As we waited in our little two-person line, I noticed that Tiny
Man kept sighing in an irritable and dramatic fashion. It reminded
me of what I used to do between the ages of ten and seventeen whenever
I had to pose for a family photo. I was about to lean over to assure
him that the line moves quickly and not to worry, but then suddenly,
inexplicably, he let out an extra-loud sigh and then erupted. At
"YOUNG LADY, WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?" he screeched. "I
CAN'T TELL IF YOU'RE IN LINE OR NOT!"
He stormed past me -- his bejeweled little body a cacophony of jingle-jangling
-- and stationed himself at the very end of the velvet rope. Hands
on his hips, his eyes bore into me, challenging. As if to say, "I
cut you. So?"
Now, true, I hadn't been standing at the exact official spot. I'd
been maybe a foot back. But the bank was empty. And who cares anyway?
Sorry I'm not an overly aggressive line-stander.
"I am actually in line," I responded calmly as I strode
past him to reclaim my position. And then -- because I had to stick
up for myself -- in a perfectly friendly tone I added, "You
don't have to be an asshole."
It was like I'd tasered him. His body vibrated. His eyes bugged
out. The craziest thing, though, was his tongue, which started wagging
frantically inside his little "o" of a mouth -- like there
were hundreds of words in there all sparring over which should come
"ASSHOLE? YOU SAID ASSHOLE! BRINGING THAT KIND OF LANGUAGE
INTO A BANK??!"
Everyone up at the teller windows looked over, and so did the bun-headed
Greeter-lady standing by the door. But I just fixed my gaze straight
ahead and willed a serene, unruffled expression onto my face, an
expression I hoped said, "What? There's no angry gnome screaming
at me." I actually visualized being inside a soundproof box,
thinking how I'd later tell my shrink Patricia that I did that,
and she'd be pleased with me for coming up with such an innovative,
But then Tiny Man stomped right up close to me, completely disregarding
the walls of my box.
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