Friday, May 8, 2009

Learning a Foreign Language at the ATM

Some days it doesn’t pay to get up in the morning. Literally. At least not in cash.

Went to weight class Thursday morning at 6:30 (with a sub teacher who thinks you can do lateral plank raises on one arm, the silly girl). After, I swung by the closest ShittiBank ATM. It’s up on Glenoaks in Burbank. The day was already warming up at a ferocious rate, and the sun was looking like the sun always looks in LA in Woody Allen films. Overly bright.

I pulled up in front of the building that houses the ATMS (and many years ago housed my office) and scooted down the steps in the vain hope of completing my transactions quickly. Visiting the ATM shouldn’t really be the focus of your day, I would think.

I put in my ATM card and realized I couldn’t really see the screen. The sun was shining right on it and it was coated with dust. So I squinted and turned my head at odd angles and, based on my familiarity with the ShittiBank ATMS, started my transaction pretty much blind. Which means that, after inputting my code, I had neglected to choose English as the preferred language for my transaction.


Now if I had chosen Spanish, I might have managed to amble along. Or German or French or Italian, not that those were options. But I had chosen either Vietnamese or some Chinese dialect, or possibly Armenian. (As I mentioned, it was hard to see.)

I tried to eliminate the dust problem by running my hand across the screen, but it’s a touch screen and that unleashed a horde of other options, also in the indecipherable language of (apparently) my choice.

I finally managed to deposit the check that had been moldering in my purse. But I needed cash back, and things were not looking good, and there was no way I was going to find the CASH key or read the cash options available.

I figured maybe the ATM next to it would be easier to see so I attempted to exit the ATM I was using. I hit every key to the far right I could find and hopefully did not transfer all my funds to ShittiBank CEO Kendall Stork’s personal account.


I then logged in to the 2nd ATM, which was marginally easier to see. Of course, by now the entire ShittiBank system was convinced I was a convicted felon on the loose with Eleanor’s ATM card because it wasn’t about to give me any cash, uh-uh, no way, forgettaboutit. It gave me a phone number to call and a numerical code to mention when I called. Of course, I could not actually see the code.

So I got in the car and drive home and fed the animals and made breakfast. Fortified, I called the number on the back of the ShittiBank card. Of course, that got me into their system where none of the options had anything to do with the fact that their ATM wouldn’t give me cash and I had probably been locked out of the system. (Imagine this! They didn’t even have an option for “The sun was shining on the ATM and the screen was filthy!”)

So I kept choosing options and hitting 0 until I finally got a (near) human. I told her my sad tale. She went to check and happily announced there were no holds on my account.

Next time I'm just bringing ATM-sized RayBans.

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