Monday, September 20, 2010

Time Is Money If You Know What Time It Is

There is one bank I use where I almost always go through their drive-through bay. Over time, I've gotten to know the three men who are usually in the booth. An older gentleman, (who is a native Washingtonian,) and I have discussions about "the old D.C." When people slept in parks to escape the heat, or the trolley cars, trying to make a comeback as part of the 11th Street bridge project. There is a young man in dreads with the name of a major character from the tv series, "The Wire." He shares the name, but lacks the violence, being very sweet-natured, and then there's a young man from Africa who upon meeting me for the first time swore I would never remember his name, and the next time I saw him did remember, and he said, "I was sure you wouldn't."

During this past year I've noted that the clock in their booth doesn't work. At first I jokingly said I was going to buy batteries for it, but over time they told me they had fiddled with it, and it wasn't a question of batteries but "just not working." Two weeks ago, I said to the man from Africa, "Doesn't it drive you nuts that you look at the wall and it's always 7 o'clock?" He said, "That clock has it's uses. I can use it's reflection to see who's behind you, and if someone is trying to walk up to the booth." I asserted, "I am buying you a clock!" He laughed and said, "Do it and we'll hang it with gratitude!"

This weekend, instead of going to the bank first, I drove to a Target and bought a clock with big black numbers (easy to read.) The clock was only $10.00-- but the batteries were $8.00. Once I got out to my car, I had to use a key to unscrew these Phillips head screws securing the clock to the cardboard packaging and me cursing the Chinese. The new Chinese water torture. Merchandising torture. Chairman Mao proclaiming against the weak Imperialist paper tigers.

While I was waiting in line at the bank, I took a picture of the car in front of me with it's back window loaded with clouds. I felt like it was my blogging friend Reya saying, "Nothing to worry about. Waiting is good!" (She's know for her cloud photographs.) When I finally got to the window, the money drawer slid out, and I put in the clock and my check. Mr. Nigeria was at the window. He started laughing and said, "Is this for real?" I told him, "Ab-so-lutely," and he replied, "...but I was joking!" I said, "I wasn't. I've talked to all three of you and want you to have a clock while you work in that booth."

He was waving his hands around at this point, not quite knowing what to say, but very formally did say "I do not know how the ___Bank can ever repay you for this kindness." I wanted to say, "With large unmarked bills," or "...add some more zeros to that check."

I shook my head and said, "No need. This is to make your work day easier. In the end...

... The Clock Always Wins"

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