6/13/2023 11:13

Collecting People

The other day I was in need of cash -- yes, we still use cash at this point of history though how much longer is uncertain. I chose to go physically to the bank's branch office and make a withdrawal. At the same time I also had a physical check to deposit. I have yet to implement the seemingly risky tools which permit deposits to be made virtually.

So I found myself at the bank, sitting in front of the apprentice teller who was shuffling highly standardized and stylized printed slips of paper onto the desk in front of me.

"Back in MY day," I began, playing on my geriatric status, and after a bit of conversation about the railroad trains then and earlier passing along the river I raised the obvious point that he probably does not remember the customs and events of a bygone era.

The apprentice teller laughed and told my that his own brother had recently been upset with him because he did not remember some event from before he was born.

Then I asked about future options for making deposits, supposing that in 6 or 8 months the streets might be icy and the air chilly. For this the apprentice brought the neighboring teller to provide me with a complete and accurate answer. She mentioned not only the cell phone "apps" (as applications for telephonically connected computer applications are presently known) of which I am notably leery but also the smarter automated teller machines which are available 24 hours a day (discounting those times when they, like any mechanically based equipment, are inoperable or inaccessible).

One such machine is located at the entrance to the very branch bank where I was sitting. I took the mention of that machine as a cue to note how that particular device is commonly unavailable because the outer doors will not open for me after hours. This surprised both the apprentice teller and the neighboring teller who brought the issue to the attention of the branch manager.

At this point I observed that I was sitting in the branch bank office talking with a large group of people (3 or more!) whom I had collected to ameliorate my transient sense of isolation. We older people are particularly prone to occasional bouts of such feelings as are we single people and those of us who recently arrived at a seasonal transition (such as from a regular weekly schedule during the school year to unscheduled summer time) and I are all three of those people.

In actual reality this was my coping strategy against the potential of loneliness. In this instance my strategy involved choices of how to transact banking business, the irrelevant stories I told, and the legitimate but selective complaint which I raised. I was collecting people to provide me with some minutes of human contact at a moment of incipient need. The strategy behind these plays in the game was not to advance but to stabilize my position as I make other plays in the actual reality game.