Dealing without cards and a budget
Chomp. Chomp. Chomp. That’s the imaginary sound of the ATM eating my bank card.
Last week, I pulled some cash out of the machine and inadvertently left the card there. I didn’t realize I left my card in the ATM until several hours later when I noticed my card wasn’t in my wallet.
I looked everywhere. Twice.
No card. I felt a sudden queasiness. It was sort of like the Tower of Terror at Disneyworld. Suddenly my tummy felt like it dropped 50 feet. I called the bank, half expecting to be cleaned out by a thief. I could barely stand the six minutes of contemporary jazz playing while I waited. To be fair, I can never stand the six minutes of contemporary jazz whenever I’m on hold, but I’m not a patient person.
While I waited, I retraced my steps in my head. It was as awkward as it sounds.
Where had I been? What did I buy? It was 7 p.m. and too late to do anything if bandits made off with my card.
The 24-hour hotline person let me cancel the card. No money was taken. Big, giant sigh of relief! I found out the next day the card was eaten by the ATM, but I had already canceled it.
Here’s the deal: The new card takes seven to 10 days to arrive.
I work banker’s hours and it’s great, but you can’t get to the bank when you’re working the same hours as the bank, unless you work at the bank.
On Saturday, I had to estimate how much money I would need for the weekend and wrote a check out to cash.
Some people I know call them ATM machines, which makes it an Automated Teller Machine Machine; sort of like La Brea is Spanish for “the Tar,” which makes the La Brea Tar Pits “The The Tar Tar Pits.”
I digress, like I do. The point is, I was on a budget for one week, and I didn’t like it. I’m used to getting money whenever I want it as long as there is some in there.
I refused to eat lunch the next day because I was holding onto my cash for emergencies, and chile rellenos did not qualify as an actual emergency. I put seven dollars worth of gas in my tank, hoping the card would show up before I had to fill it. By the way, seven dollars was one trip to work and home. Yikes, my kingdom for a Prius.
My mom is, among many things, a former bank teller. And she views ATMs as machines designed by “The Man” to put hard-working people out of a job. It’s hard to disagree, but I like showing up at midnight and grabbing cash. I missed it.
I would like to tell you the week without the card caused me to grow and learn in some way, to be more thoughtful about my purchases. The truth is, I couldn’t wait to get it back. I feel like going to the bank at 4 a.m. and grabbing a twenty, just because I can.