OK, the truth is out. If I didn’t have a long history and lots of blank checks, I’d quit. Banking used to be serene and non-threatening. No snarly-eyed tellers inquiring if I was ready to “hand over the dough!” No bouncy pre-adults trying to chat me up. I would walk in. NOBODY WOULD GREET ME! A security guard with a holster stood broad-legged near the door. MY MONEY WAS SAFE. There’d be a line. So what? We were Minnesotans. We kept our distance.
Once it was my turn at a tiny alcove, I slid my deposit across. A serious young or older adult in somber colors, displaying no cleavage, asked if I was still alive on the planet, and THAT WAS IT! No toying around, no inquiring into my day, no probing where I worked, what I was eating for lunch/dinner/snack, no intent curiousity “And where will you be spending your Euros, heh, heh, heh?” As if cousins were poised to slide through the doors of a Roman subway right behind me, and filch the plastic out of my hip pocket, while chatting me up for distraction.
Is it obvious? I am deeply distrustful of fake familiarity. I clutch my purse to my chest. I do not talk to strangers. And people behind counters? Who knows what lurks below their waists, where I cannot see their hands? All the Western movies I’ve ever seen have warned of this. And the sales-pitch? Forget it. If I want something you are selling, give me “land, lots of land neath the starry skies above. Don’t fence me in!” Otherwise, I’ll be out of the store before you can say, “Jack Robinson,” whoever he is.
My theory of the sub-prime mortgage debacle begins with innocents entering a bank or mortgage company, and being smoozed into a deal their pocketbooks could not sustain for more than a twinkling of an eye. It takes sober, quiet reflection to understand an adjustable rate mortgage, to grasp that after the fixed period of 2%, your interest rate will become variable, drifting up and up with various indices you’ve never heard of before. No, my friends, this is not a deal. This is a steal. You’ve been bamboozled by snake-oil salesmen who could not care less if application of same makes you break out in spots and run a high fever. The government does NOT run tests on the contents.
My advice: zip your lip. Avoid eye contact. And check your deposit receipts. More than once, the cutie who could not shut up has bungled the transaction, and I’ve had to go back for more!