Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Fun Times at the Bank

Here's a story with hope for us all. The line at the bank was rather long yesterday and there was a really elderly woman in front of me who was a complete sweetheart. She just seemed so happy and aware, like she was really enjoying being out. Darn it, I forgot to go with my old reliable bank joke, "If this line goes any slower, I'm going to have to change the date on my check." That was my only regret when I thought about this later. Always go with your A material.

Anyway, a cellphone went off and she turned to me and said, "What would the world do without cellphones?" I said, "It'd probably be a lot less noisy." She said, "I don't even like the telephone at home, and they want to bring one along?" I said, "That's exactly how I feel about it." She seemed quite alert for someone so old. I mean, my mother faded mentally in her last few years, but I got the feeling that this woman was right there even at her age. It was quite remarkable, and perhaps she sensed what I was thinking. She said, "I'm going to be 89 this Thursday. My mother lived to 100 and she always said I would, too." I did the standard, "You don't look a day over 50" and she actually said, "I would hit you with my cane, but everybody tells me that."
Gee, not only was she showing some charming pride in herself, but she was also taking a slight shot at my tired comment. I decided I'd better go with something new. I said, "Well, you're holding up better than I am." And she replied, "Maybe I should give you my cane." Wow, she still had a sense of humor at 88. There's hope for us all.

There happened to be a display right ahead in the bank. It was a shiny new motorcycle that represented a loan program or a contest. I decided to go for broke. I said, "Is that your motorcycle?" This cracked her up and she said, "Wouldn't it be amazing if I had ridden in here on it?" She was smiling almost continuously so I said, "You seem to have a good sense of humor. You laugh a lot." She said, "You have to - it's medicinal."

The bank line dragged on and she said, "This is taking a while, especially since I have a cab waiting. Oh well, if I run out of money, I'll just lay down and die." She said this while chuckling. Then she said, "Is it lie down or lay down? I'm good at English but I don't know if it's lie or lay." I said, "If you don't know by your age, I wouldn't worry about it." This sent her into the deep giggles that continued right to the teller's window where she said, "Sorry, but that man is making me laugh." I could hear her explaining her birthday, etc...and I went to my window. When I was done, I looked over and said goodbye to her. She smiled and said, "Thanks for the laughs." I don't want to be a sentimental sap here, but for this year, it was one of the better moments.


At 8:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice story Bill.

At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Amanda Fritz said...

Ester McGinnis, a SW Portland activist, is over 80 and still rides her motorbike. Delivers meals-on-wheels on it, I think.

Lovely to hear about two strangers making each other laugh. You weren't so much waiting in line, as making each others' day. Thanks for the story.

At 11:39 PM, Anonymous Tenskwatawa said...

1917 was about the best year in the 20th century to be born. The best vintage.

1924 might have been the worst. I'm still studying that part.

At 3:47 AM, Blogger Frank Dufay said...

Great story, Bill.


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