Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Robbing A Bank

To sweeten up the bitter taste of another Monday, I've thought of writing a few more words about my mother in law. You've already been acquainted to what kind of person she is. In short, she was always the type to refuse anything that didn't belong to her, no matter what. And she conducted such an immaculate behaviour throughout her life. Throughout her life, indeed, except for that damned day, when she robbed a bank.

Now, if you imagine her storming into a bank, pointing a gun at the security guy (who gets bored to death for eight full hours), screaming something like "I'm a bad ass mother, fucker, don't make any stupid mistakes and take me to the bitch!" you're only half right. But here's how story goes.

First of all, for those who are not fully familiar with the banking system in Romania, allow me a short introduction. To begin with, the most ferocious enemy of the banks are the people, no matter what relationship they have with the bank. Whether you intend to make a deposit or to withdraw money from them is of no importance whatsoever. You are the enemy and you should be treated accordingly. I am pretty sure that the director comes in every Monday morning at 8 AM, gathers all employees, and delivers his motivational speech on how to fight the enemy and how sharp they (the bank that is) have to be in order to defeat the cunning foe.  And no doubt he finishes his speech like a great leader. "We shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength... We shall never surrender". Churchill would be jealous!

On that particular day, my mom in law was to run something she'd thought it would be a small errand on her way to work: making a deposit. For her daughter, but that's irrelevant, or at least it should be.

This must have happened on a Monday when all the personnel have the boss's speech fresh in their mind. And they are, Friend-ly speaking, unagi! The first gate you need to conquer is "the drone", also known as "the fucker". His official title is security officer but the other names are far closer to the reality. His role is exactly the same as his counterpart's in a beehive, except that he doesn't bang any bees, but clients. And he does nothing. If you come in and have no clue where to go and what to do, he'll keep flipping through an old newspaper, oblivious to your presence. If you, like my mother in law, know your whereabouts and head right to the counter, he'll pop up with an offended face:

"Hey, madam, where are you going? What do you think WE are doing here?"

He always uses the royal "we" when he refers to himself. There's no one wearing a uniform with a holstered gun in the entire bank, but he feels the need to use the plural.

"I need to make a deposit", she said, forgetting to add "your highness" to her reply.

"Counter 2".

And so you head for the second gate, which looks like an inexpugnable fortress: the counter, ruled by none other than her supreme majesty - the bitch. There are always two counters opened. One with a looooong queue, which you will have to join 100 times out of 100, and another one, with no clients, with someone filling a very important role in a bank: the geranium in the window. No one has any remote idea what she's doing there, why can't she take any customers at all. Or at least why doesn't she work somewhere in a back office, to avoid spawning frustration. Mystery. However, she is the spare bitch. The real one is working and she's trying hard to apply what they taught her at the bitchy courses. First of all is the accent: they all have that patronising nasal accent of - pardon my repetition - royal superiority. Only that they're not royal and their voice end up sounding like a fart in a tin bucket. Then comes the jargon: if you do not know what all the columns in their forms mean, you're a peasant and you should be treated like lesser people.

After half an hour of standing (not sitting!) in the queue, she arrived at the counter. Then it all started. After the usual "How can I help you?" - 'I'd like to put some money in one of my daughter's accounts, please", the clerk started to play her favourite role: the surgeon. Have you seen in the movies any scene in which a surgeon operates? He utters terse and precise commands to his assistants: scalpel, tweezers, scissors, lint, etc. And so does the bitch:

"Your ID (it's fine, it checks for money laundry, you'd think). Your daughter's social security number (it's written on the account, in at least 8 places). Birth certificate. Marriage certificate. Work proof for you and your daughter. Certificate from the Treasury that she doesn't have debts. Criminal record, for you and ..."

"Excuse me, miss, I intend to put some money into an account, I am not running for president or so. Please take that into account, I still have some other things to attend".

I really don't know how the conversation went further. What I do know is that my mother in low didn't manage to make that deposit. And she got really angry and stormed out. On the way to the door, she saw a note on the floor. The value of it was about 3 US dollars or something like that. She picked it up, put it in her pocket, left the building, and got to her car, still fuming.

Then it hit her: "Why did I take that stupid note? I don't need it in the first place, but now I'm in deep trouble. They sure have cameras and they saw me, damn! I robbed the bank actually. So what if the note was on the floor? We all know that the bank owns everything! I'm done. They'll put me in jail, stupid, stupid, stupid. Will I see my niece again? What will they think of me? Jesus, they'll send me meatballs with a sling, that's what will happen".

With these thoughts roaming wild in her head she arrived at work. That day she was alone in the lab, so she bolted the door to prevent every single thought going out. And just when she began to get her work going, the bell rang. A looooong chime. She went to the interphone and picked it up with trembled hands.

"Hello! Who's there?"

"Police! Please open up!"

She opened up the door and in a moment two police officers came in. They didn't look the friendliest people she'd ever seen in her life. When she was about to ask them the favour of calling someone before they'd take her to the office, one of them broke the uneasiness:

"Beg your kind pardon, madam, there was a burglary across the road and we know this lab has a security camera. Could we have a look, it won't take a minute?"

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