Home For The HolidaysI went to the bank this morning.
After standing in line for a few minutes, a new teller opened up her station. She was slim and petite, her face framed by hair that fell to her shoulders. "I CAN HELP YOU," she said, looking at me.
Hmm. That was loud. I guess she was just trying to be sure she got my attention.
I walked over to her window. "Hi," I said.
"WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU TODAY?" she said.
"I need to make a deposit," I said, sliding a deposit slip and a check across the counter.
"I CAN HELP YOU WITH THAT," she said.
Changing case really doesn't do this woman's voice justice. Simple capital letters cannot convey the volume.
Let's try a different comparison, with divers.
You've seen springboard diving, right? The diving board is one meter above the water. The diver walks up a three step ladder, steps out, and dives.
That's someone speaking at regular volume.
There's another kind of diving, though. No, not platform diving--I'm thinking of championship high-diving. That's the kind of diving where the diver climbs up the ladder for five minutes, and the ladder is shaking in the wind, and the announcers are wondering if a fall from that height would be fatal. The only suspense, after jumping off, is whether the diver will be alive after hitting the water.
That's my bank teller. She was talking so loudly that I wondered if it was going to kill her. It was The Curse Of The Bellowing Bank Teller.
"DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU'RE GETTING CHARGED A HIGH FEE LEVEL FOR THIS TYPE OF ACCOUNT?" she asked.
"No, I didn't," I said softly. I was speaking more quietly on purpose, which is one of the many reasons I'm going to Hell someday.
"WOULD YOU LIKE TO SPEAK TO A BANKER ABOUT CHANGING YOUR ACCOUNT TYPE?" she asked, leaning forward.
"I don't really have time right now," I said, whispering.
"HE COULD CALL YOU AT HOME," she said, now entirely out of her chair to be close enough to hear me.
"Maybe after the holidays," I said, my voice so soft and low that it could only be heard by dogs. She was trying so hard to hear me that I fully expected her to climb over the partition that separated us, squeezing her frame through the tiny bank window.
"I SEE YOU HAVE MANY PURCHASES FROM AMAZON ON YOUR ACCOUNT," she said.
"Yes, I do most of my Christmas shopping there," I said, my voice a tiny, tiny whisper coming up from a very deep hole.
"TO PREVENT FRAUD, WE CAN SET UP A NEW ACCOUNT THAT'S NOT YOUR PRIMARY ACCOUNT FOR ONLINE PURCHASES," she said.
I began to drift off. I remembered a moment from my honeymoon, when we saw a lone sea lion on a pier at Monterey, and how that sea lion never stopped bellowing, and how funny it seemed then. I remembered happier days, before I decided to make a deposit at the bank. I wondered if I would make it home in time for Christmas dinner with my family.