So much seems to be in flux lately. My local bank branch and ATM machine have suddenly moved to the other side of town. Why is it that familiarity and permanency of everyday life is rapidly disappearing, going away? There is so much nervous movements about. I still keep walking to the old ATM to try and get our daily bread in cash. For the last two week I have still walked to the old address and end up staring at a brick wall covered over with black plastic. That is where the old ATM used to be. A sign tells me where the bank and cash machine have moved to. I am not the only one to end up looking at the brick wall which is a great relief. I still marvel each time when the money comes out. If ever there was a bit of magic! The ATM at the new address is now in an alcove and has bits of electronics bolted on the ceiling. I know I am being watched and now make sure I wear my RM Williams instead of casually dressed in long black socks and open sandals. You just never know of being called to a police line-up after a large SUV has driven into the ATM and made a grab for cash. It does happen. My grandsons refuse to go with me when I wear those sandals.
I find the message to cover the pin numbers with one hand while at the same time pinning in the numbers with other hand complicated. You would have thought that technology could improve on that a bit better. Today there was a long queue at the ATM with an employee of the bank patiently explaining the ATM routine to an elderly client. Please note that the word customer is rapidly being replaced by ‘client’. Even a prisoner now is likely to be called a client. The elderly client had great difficulty with understanding ATM protocol and the queue was getting longer. The employee did her best and I overheard common terms being used that now is assumed everybody knows. I overheard the elderly lady asking what is a ‘pin’ number followed by the lengthy and patient explanations. However, the queue of other clients was getting restless, brows were being raised , feet were shuffling and some words being uttered, albeit still muffled.
I have some sympathy for the elderly though. I mean, how far will this go? The technology is mainly to cut out employing people and save the bank money. It is not designed to improve service. It is all so faceless and impersonal. I mean that mindless electronic message at the end of having scanned all the shopping through, after money has been pushed in that slot, change given, you get that inane message ‘Thank you for shopping at Woolworth, the Fresh food people.’ Don’t you feel like hitting the machine? Where is the warm smile, and personal contact or exchange of pleasantry?
We now try and compensate and get warm contact with many uncritical ducks in the small creek that never stops flowing over muddy pebbles at the back of our house. Some of them know us and expect a crust of bread, especially a large white duck. Milo understands and behaves with a degree of decorum by not barking madly. Often similar people, seeking a smile or greeting, take that walk too and escape from the wiles of ATMs and overhead rotating sinister black eyes, electronic blinded thanks from shops and the IPhonic cluttered up youth in holey Diesel jeans, with some so iced up, hurling trolleys into creeks or around telegraph poles.
We should be so thankful for calm ducks.