Sunday, May 21, 2006

Banking Day

A warm Southern California afternoon, with blue sky and sunshine, and my plan was to deposit all funds, pay some bills and fine-tune the budget for the six weeks until I depart.

I drove to my bank’s branch in Studio City and parked in the lot behind the building. The lot is large by the standards of the neighborhood. It can accommodate more than 50 cars, and at least half the spaces were empty.

I walked around the bank to the ATMs at the front of the building. Two activists, a man and a woman, were standing on the sidewalk, just on the other side of the property line.

“Don’t let them export our steel industry,” the male activist said as I inserted my card. “That ATM is made of steel. Machines made your clothes.” I ignored them. It’s easy to filter people out on a calm summer day.

I walked back to my car and started to drive out of the parking lot. The drive-through ATM lane was closed, so I used the remaining single lane to reach the street. Except that the Jeep Grand Cherokee in front of me wasn’t moving. The turn signal wasn’t blinking. No one appeared to be inside.

“Someone did not just park their car in the only lane out of here,” I thought. But I got out of my car – as a black sedan driven by a balding man stopped behind me, also trapped – and saw that the Jeep was empty.

I walked toward the two activists and asked, “Is that your Grand Cherokee?”

“No, it’s mine,” said a thin, brown-haired woman in her 30s, standing in front of an ATM. “I was just –“

“That is an active driveway!” I bellowed. “You are blocking everyone in the parking lot, you inconsiderate, thoughtless moron!”

The woman looked at me blankly. Through the corner of my eye, I saw one of the steel activists jumping back away from me. “What?” the woman said.

“Move your Jeep, you rude, selfish idiot!” I yelled. Pedestrians on Ventura Boulevard stopped to stare. People across the street were pointing at me.

“There’s something the matter with you,” the woman said. “I’m calling the police.”

“Go right ahead!” I yelled.

“Those shoes were made with machines,” the male steel activist interjected.

The woman walked toward her Jeep. In the driveway, at least eight cars were backed up, the line circling around the bank.

“Look at all the people you are blocking!” I screamed, waving at all of the cars and then pointing accusingly at her. The balding man in the black sedan nodded. The woman got into her Jeep and drove away.

* * *

What the hell was that about?

In my defense, I did not threaten her with my words or my posture. I stayed at least four feet away from her during the entire incident. I did not shout any profanity or sexist language.

Instead, I unloaded six-and-half years of frustration with my job on this stupid woman. She was rude and selfish. She was inconsiderate and thoughtless. She probably didn’t deserve to have a strange man castigate her loudly in public.

But she will never park in an active driveway again.


Anonymous JDN said...

I would have yelled at the activist, too.

5:56 AM  

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