I have to admit that I am not immune to the charms of schadenfreude. I love watching YouTube videos of people falling down, or getting hit by balloons, or whatever. Unfortunately, sometimes, you aren’t watching the video. Sometimes you are starring in it. All I can say is that, at least in this case, I could provide a little bit of entertainment to some old codger sitting at the bank.
On my lunch break, I tried to squeeze in a few errands rather than sit at home and squander my time on a cell phone game or filling out a survey. I had to do something at the bank and now that the hours are greatly reduced, my lunch break seemed like a perfect time. I also wanted to get some tomatoes and lettuce, but that isn’t particularly relevant.
I hadn’t visited my bank branch to use the actual branch since the start of the pandemic. I’ve used the ATM a number of times, but I hadn’t talked to a teller since the start of the summer. As that was early in the pandemic, there was a lot of fear and mistrust. I remember being asked to stand far back from the counter. I remember taking one of the pens and the woman telling me to take it home because she viewed it as a likely source of infection. I didn’t blame her. She might have been right. I just remember the tension in the air.
I probably had that in mind because I spent a bit of time reading all the notices about masks and symptoms and whatever before I even got through the first set of doors. I entered the first door and was in the vestibule where the ATM was. I sidestepped right to go through the entrance and pushed on the door. It didn’t move. It was locked. I peered through the glass and there was an older gentleman sitting on one of the comfortable chairs where they dispensed the free coffee–so I probably wasn’t going to go near the coffee maker. but I knew the bank was open. I reached for the other door because sometimes they lock one door and not the other. It was then I realized the other door was propped open and I completely bypassed it for the closed and locked door. Needless to say, I felt a bit foolish.
The old codger sitting in the bank erupted into a fit of laughter. He then narrated exactly what I had done. “You missed the completely open door and chose the locked one. That’s so funny.” He repeated himself presumably in case I had missed the commentary. “You tried to open a locked door. The one beside it was empty.”
Again, if you’re going to spend your time watching schadenfreude, then you’re going to have to admit it when it happens to you. “That’s true.” I concurred with him because he wasn’t wrong.
I made my way into the bank as he started his third retelling of the story–and he will probably repeat that to his friends a dozen or more times this week. I chuckled at my stupidity and kept walking. When I got to the counter, the young woman who was at the teller a couple down from me (because social distancing meant that they used alternate tellers) gave me a weak, cringy kind of smile. I didn’t know what to make of it, but she was much younger than me and I put it down to not knowing what young people are like these days.
Yes, being able to laugh at myself is Today’s Perfect Moment. If ever we needed a few good laughs, it’s now. Also, as my students told me, not taking things personally is rather important.
To end off this story, I finally understood the cringe when the young lady concluded her bank business and picked up the gentleman at the door to leave the bank together. I guess it was her father or grandfather.