I wouldn’t even go so far as to say that I have any kind of shell. I have a crust at best and you can easily crack it like so much creme brulee.
Completely separate from my impersonation of a bank this morning, I continue to have issues with my thought-to-be-former bank. Issues that want to cost me hundreds of dollars. It seems that when I closed my account, PNC re-opened it a day or two later so that they could continue their really fun game of overdraft fees. It’s some provisional thing so that if a merchant has already somehow made an agreement with PNC to get money, they can still receive it.
And, you know…I get all of this stuff. I really do. I still think banks are shady, but I know that they have to protect their interests and blah blah blah.
But I can’t just keep handing over money every two weeks. And the reality of just how much I can not do that was really weighing on me, especially after I wrote out my bills the other night. Prices for basic utilities keep going up, food is astronomical, we all know about gas. The only thing that doesn’t seem to be going up is people’s salaries. Things could get ugly everywhere very, very soon.
But I walked to the bank, furious. I resolved that I was going to be strong, aggressive, that I wasn’t going to take any bull. I had the power of Suze Orman in me.
My mom came along since her name is on the account (we opened it when I started undergrad). She ran into a friend of hers there. A rather kooky older woman who came here from Saudi Arabia some years ago, writes poetry about Barack Obama, has a PhD in French Literature, and quivers with the early stages of Parkinson’s. Her outfit consisted of splashes of denim and floral and scarves. Her glasses were huge and were unlike anything I had seen before in all of my optometry travels. They were gold…and red…and blue…and green. They were “Karma Chameleon” manifested.
My mother’s friend told us that we should speak to her friend that she works with at the bank. She silently crossed the room and sauntered into a woman’s cubicle. The woman was surprised by grinned at her eccentric client. We were introduced and I began to wonder if I shouldn’t just take my mom’s friend with me everywhere.
I sat down ready to pound my fist on the cheap veneer desk and bellow out my rights as a consumer, to toss around insults like “fraudulent” and “disgusting capitalist pigs.”
But instead I cried.
I’m a worker and a writer and a student. I am not a rich person. I’m a mom and the breadwinner for my family. My brain and I don’t always get along. I know that I screw up all the time, but couldn’t we please fix this? Please.
The rep was taken aback. She offered me tissues. She looked at me and said, “We will fix this.” I glanced around her desk and saw a picture of her and her daughter. I think maybe she got me.
We went through the charges and determined what was what. On top of everything, there was what appeared to be a fraudulent charge to some vague internet company. But the rep did everything right. She reversed what fees she could and froze the account so that nothing else could come out of it. There’s some paperwork on its way to me but this whole ordeal might actually end…and I might actually come out of it okay.
My mom wanted to stop at Starbucks on the way back and the staff had posted today’s horoscopes by the bar. Mine, of course, warned of financial difficulties. I’ve been feeling like the universe has just been tossing me around, but maybe that was some kind of sign. The universe is having its way with me these days, but perhaps soon it will be open to snuggling and spooning.