Now, typically I shun such negative and demeaning self-talk. But today, today I can’t find a better way to sum up my behavior. I’m an idiot. Why else would I sit for 97 minutes waiting to use the ATM?
Well, it seemed important at the time. A friend had repaid me a huge amount of cash, and I knew if it went anywhere other than the bank it would never make it to the bank. Not that I’d go out and buy something grand, like a leather coat or a 60″ flat screen TV, no, that chunk of cash would be whittled away slowly, imperceptibly, until it was gone. A latte here, a “special treat” there. A massage, an “I deserve it” new sundress. I know better than to take a stack of Benjamins home with me. Those bad boys needed to go straight to the bank.
Today as I pulled up to the building I could see “Insert Card To Begin Transaction” glowing green on the screen, a very positive sign. As I walked up the steps and entered the vestibule, I heard clicking and beeping, very negative signs. My hand was inches from the card reader, paused in some bizarre ATM foreplay when the message changed to “Temporarily Out of Service”.
I should have left then, but I had all that cash I couldn’t trust myself with, and I could hear the ATM workerbee on the other side of the wall, refilling the machine with twenties. How long could it take? I decided to wait.
As each minute went by I became more committed to staying. I mean really, you can’t sit waiting for twenty minutes and then leave – that about guarantees that what you were waiting for will happen at minute twenty-one. So I waited. I filed my nails. I checked my email. I consulted my phone’s online user’s manual and learned how to work the voice recognition. I stared out the window. I stared at the ATM. I eavesdropped on the ATM workerbee as he talked on his phone. At one point the ATM went through several diagnostic tests, and when it clicked and clacked its deposit slot open, I caught a glimpse of the workerbee and gave him a friendly wave.