Orange County Register — North County News-Tribune; Date: May 7, 2020; Section: News; Page Number: A2
WHAT A DAY
Bank dancing for our current situation
There’s a lot to be learned from what we are going through, and I think we may take a few lessons with us. One thing I’ve learned is to walk around with a mask covering my face like it’s the prettiest accessory I own.
Will I always wear a mask in public? Probably not everywhere, but I think it might be worth it during cold and flu season, especially as I get older. Or going to places like the doctor’s office, or in large crowds.
And now I’ll have a cute selection of masks to match my outfits.
Still, as comfortable as I’m getting wearing a mask, nothing prepared me for the experience of going to the bank last week. Some people might call it surreal, or bizarre. That would be an understatement.
I’d call it apocalyptic.
Before you scold me, I was only going to the bank because I had a significant amount of cash that needed to go into my account to pay a few bills. There is no way to do that with an app on my smartphone.
When I arrived at the bank, I had my ID ready, along with the bills I had carefully counted out. I had even put a note on the money with my account number, the number of each kind of bill, and the total. I adjusted my cute, cowboy-themed mask and got out of my car, ready to do business.
And yet I was not prepared.
First of all, it feels incredibly weird to walk into a bank wearing a mask. My brain was on high alert to keep me from making a joke about it. A woman met me at the door, also wearing a mask. She was wearing a name tag, so I knew she wasn’t just another robber.
She took my name, my cell phone number, and the reason for my visit, then sent me away, saying, “We’ll text you when you can come in.”
Apparently, they were only admitting one customer per representative. I hung out in my car for about 5 minutes before I got the text. I was then allowed to come in and do what felt like an elaborate dance with the teller.
There was a square on the floor with “Stop” in it, about 4 feet from the counter. I had to stop on the square, tell the lovely, masked teller what I wanted to do, then approach the counter and enter my account on a pad.
Each time I stepped up, she stepped back. When she stepped forward, I stepped back. Again, my brain kept a steady warning, “Do not joke about dancing. Or robbing the place. Or being the dancing bank robber!”
This got even harder to do when she asked me to push the money under the acrylic shield between us, then step away. It felt distinctly like I was paying ransom. Fortunately, I’d counted the money correctly.
I took my receipt and left, just as two women were standing outside complaining about having to wait. I told them the wait wasn’t long, but they didn’t sound like they wanted to hear it.
It wasn’t a bad experience. After all, the teller sounded like she was smiling, even if I couldn’t see under her mask. And if she could have seen under my mask, well…I was actually laughing.
Longtime Placentia resident Gayle Carline tracks those moments that shape her days as a wife, mom, computer whiz and horsewoman. E-mail her at [email protected].