04 June 2009

The Doctor's Not Getting Paid Today

Today I went to the bank so I could buy a cashier's check for the remainder of my surgery cost. Well, I was feeling excited, and my heart skipped a beat (To my doctor: I am speaking figuratively!) as I walked up to the counter and told the teller, a nice young man, that I wanted to pay for the check from my savings account. "I can't remember the account number."

"Do you have your ATM card and an ID?"

"Yes, I do." I scooped into my handbag: cellphone, keys, cosmetics bag, work ID--but no wallet.

I shook the bag. Still no luck. Then I probed my tote bag, in which I was carrying a book, an umbrella and a folder full of my students' papers. Still no luck.

"Uh...Let me check one more time." Another shake of the bags. Still no wallet. I looked up at him, sheepishly.

"Miss, Do you have your ID?"

"I left it home." I could feel my face growing flush. "At least, I hope I did." Even though I knew, or was almost entirely certain, that I had indeed forgotten my wallet--something I don't recall having done, at least not in a long time--I still panicked. The young teller could see it.

"It's OK, Miss. Just come back whenever you're ready."

Three other tellers were working alongside him. It seemed that they all saw, or at least heard, our exchange. I felt as if the eyes of everyone in that bank, everyone along the Steinway Street strip; everyone, everywhere was watching me.

But the teller's tone was not mocking or condescending. Actually, his voice was soothingly sympathetic. Maybe he took pity on me. If he did, what did he see? A middle-aged or older woman slipping into senility or dementia? Or just a basic dumb blonde?

Of course, I had no choice but to return home, where I indeed had left my wallet. But by that time, it was too late to return to the bank: I had to go to work. So, I guess I will return to the bank tomorrow. Maybe I'll have the same teller. Then again, the others will probably be there.

I hope I don't forget my wallet, or do something equally ditzy, when I'm leaving for my surgery!

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