Monday, 29 August 2011

What are you doing up there?

I ask the above question with no real sarcasm or snark, but out of simple curiosity. And perhaps a bit of impotent rage.

Lately I’ve been lucky about waiting in lines: at the bank, at the store and all the usual places lines form. I keep arriving at places to get in line and there’s only one person in front of me, which seems to signify that my wait will be the briefest it could be besides having no wait at all. There’s only one person between me and doing the thing I am waiting to do. And what could take one person very long to do anything?

But these waits always turn out to be an eternity, and I don’t know why.
For example:

1) At the ATM.
There’s one person using the ATM when I arrive. Using an ATM shouldn’t take long, and I’m mentally subtracting the time they’ve already been there before I show up. But the person has either never seen an ATM before and is confused by all the buttons and options or is doing some complicated stock trading or maybe hacking into the CIA mainframe or something that requires at least 7,943 different button presses, with irritatingly long, confused pauses between each.

Not to mention all the fake-outs, when the thing beeps and their card pops out and I figure it’s my turn. But the person pops the same card right back in and goes back to pushing buttons like they’re on the deck of the Starship Enterprise during a war with the Klingons.
And then when they really are done and the card pops out and they get their receipt (which seems like it should be 147 feet long from all the dozens of transactions they had to complete in order to withdraw their $40) they stand there scrutinizing it like it’s a new Dead Sea scroll without actually moving away from the machine so I can use it.

Even when I make a deposit and a withdrawal from the ATM it takes me maybe two minutes. I don’t know what these people are doing up there.

2) The drive-thru at 4 in the morning…

Okay, so maybe people have more complicated meal selections than I do. But once you’re done at the speaker and you drive up to pay and then drive further up to get your food, you should be about done with the complicated, time-consuming stuff.

But there I sit peering in growing confusion through the taxi’s windshield as the employee passes you a bag of food and you accept it and say something. And then they say something. And then you say something. And then they pass you a drink and a straw. And then you say something and they say something and you pass the drink back and they pass you another bag and you pass the first bag back and they say something and you say something and then they lean out the window and rest on their forearms because they’re about to say something that will last a good four minutes and you say something and they pass you a bag and you pass them some more money and then the drink goes back in and two more bags come out and you say something and they pass you some money and you pass them a receipt and you both look at it and then more things are said and then the taxi’s turns off his engine and sighs loudly as if that will clearly send the message that we are all annoyed.
I do not know what you are doing up there, seriously.


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