Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Do You See the Light?

“Different glasses.” I was back at the bank, and trying to read the terms of the account I was busy opening after much deliberation and three visits, two quite unsuccessful, to the bank.

“Pinhole glasses.” I explained.

“You can buy them at”

The young man was swift.  

“What about those bullet holes?” I asked him about the front windows.

“Are there bullet holes in the windows?” He asked, “I once came to work and the whole side of my office wall had been eaten away by bullets.”

Obviously a common occurrence at the bank. Perhaps it all came down to disgruntled ex-employees.  Perhaps not.

“You are not going to invest in the stock market then?” He asked.

The man was the playful type.  Last time he’d talked to me about investing in the stock market. “I don’t have the choice of where to put old age money, they take it out of my salary every month, and I have nothing to say about it. And the way it’s going I will get less than what they promise. You are lucky; you can choose.”

“No,” I replied, “I bought a post code lottery ticket instead.”

“Quite right.” He agreed.

It’s kind of a recognition I sense, a bit like when African Americans who are strangers to each other greet each other on the street just to witness to each other that they are both there. 

The tall blond sided up to me at rehearsal. In the canteen she had had that slightly vacant look about her.  But somehow she had recognized something in me and so she came right next to me and looked in straight in the eye and sang the second soprano line with me. No score, no hesitation, no nervousness. Ah, I immediately saw, she was also a bit brighter than the mill.  She’d been waiting an hour to arrive at that moment, and she would have been just as good at the second soprano line 55 minutes ago.

“Radio,” the short woman with the butch haircut was looking at me. “You should try to write for the radio. The BBC is always looking for talent.”  This was after she mentioned her partner just left for home, Oregon.  I paused in mid thought.  I had been suffering through Plato all week, and his leading questions on Coursera.  I just wanted to listen to some poetry, the mediocre kind, and while I was there I noted that the bar menu was extremely economical.  A gin and tonic for five euro? Nacho chips for two?

I had never been to the poetry reading venue, and I hated the bike ride to get there, a part of Amsterdam that had marketed the river view now wedged between two sets of god awful looking modern apartment complexes. At least they had to look at each other.  I had cursed as best as possible as I pedaled through the wind and rain. The next day I pumped my bike tires, suspecting that this might ameliorate cycling effort.

I left the bank feeling that I had somehow achieved a milestone abandoning money to a potential grey period.  I looked forward to seeing my accountant smile. The radio pusher at the poetry reading gazed up at me, “I am sorry about the election.” She said.  We shared a mournful silence.



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