I decided I would someday live in New York City when I visited over spring break my junior year of college. I don’t vividly recall what museums I visited or what shows I saw (I’m pretty sure I saw The Apple Tree with Kristen Chenoweth). I do vividly remember walking down Park Avenue and happening upon a Bank of America. I was sick and tired of the New England bank I signed up with because they harassed me first day of freshman orientation. I decided right then and there, standing on a New York City sidewalk that some day I would live in NYC, so I might as well open a bank account right than and there. And so I did. Some people spend their spring breaks opening alcoholic beverages. I spent mine opening bank accounts.
Bank of America. America’s bank. One would expect it to be every where across the country of America. That’s the appeal, that’s why I devoted precious moments of my spring break to said establishment, so I would never again have to pay an ATM fee, never again be unable to deposit a check. That’s the way it has been these past 3 years. And then I moved to Bumblefuck.
The nearest Bank of America is several towns away, a half-hour-plus road trip. Checks were piling up, after weeks of working here and from promotions which always send checks weeks after the event (the one flaw in working them) and the sum of my bank account was concerningly small. So I was overjoyed when on Friday night I heard a plan afoot to visit B of A. This is how I do things now. I seek out other people’s plans and hope to be invited along and if that doesn’t work, invite myself. This is the way in Bumblefuck of the car-less (and I’m doing my very best to refrain from bitching about it ad nauseum).
I manage to hitch a ride with the actors playing the Gallant Beggar and the Street Urchin. Who will hence forth be referred to as such. Together GB, SU, and I sally forth, the red and blue emblem of Bank of America . We narrowly miss getting lost, running out of gas, getting chased by bandits, getting mauled by bears, starving to death and deciding which one will die so the other can eat him. The sun is setting when we finally, against all odds, reach our destination.
The bank is closed. NO! But no fear, there must be an ATM near! Right? Right. There is one and one only and it is a drive-thru one. How very American of you B of A, thank you for contributing to American obesity! Thank you also for discouraging carpools, only the driver can use this ATM. So what do we do? Go home with our tails and undeposited checks between our legs? NO! We stop the car in front of the ATM and run out one at a time to deposit our checks/get attacked by mosquitoes (no jesting about that attack). A car or two lines up in back of us, probably wondering what the hell we are doing, out of the car, contorting our body at a weird angle so that we may successfully use the ATM specially built for Car People. But this isn’t NYC, the cars waiting do not honk, scream obscenities, or curse us for wasting their time. They wait patiently, with amused expressions on their faces (I’d like to think).
Success. I have a receipt in my hand and money in the bank and it’s never felt so good. It’s later than any one realized, past 9pm (the sun sets really late here, it’s awesome), and we are all starving (we just couldn’t decide who to cannibalize) so we decide to get dinner. At a drive-in diner. Dinner at the cutest diner ever, which is most accommodating to non-Car People. It’s been around since the 50′s and has vintage car nights on Saturdays. Too bad it’s Friday. But even without the backdrop of groovy cars, this diner is awesome. I get a burger complete with lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles (I like the works); fries that outshine McDonald’s; and a pumpkin milkshake (I go nuts over pumpkin ice cream, so this was beyond exciting) all for $6.03. You’re lucky to fine ONE of these 3 for $6.03 in NYC and the quality could be dicey. Pumpkin milkshake, you just made the exodus to the bank so completely worth it. In fact, I want to go to the bank every Friday night!
Their closing up the restaurant while we’re eating our meal. 10pm on a Friday night, really Bumblefuck? We meander outside eating our ice cream. GB has two scoops of a peanut butter cup and cake batter combination and SU has a “small” (small is huge here!) chocolate brownie. This is Maine ice cream that’s some how made it down to New York. Maine ice cream is famous for being incredibly high quality, delicious, and not available outside of Maine, so me and my mouth are feeling very lucky with the situation.
The three of us are drawn to music we hear from across the parking lot. Walking closer we discover Lakeview Lanes, a bowling alley that appears to have been around almost as long as the diner. It is clearly the place to be Friday night in Bumblefuck. It’s hoping at 10pm. In front of the bowling alley is a band covering “She’s a Brick House” in front of the band, we see figures dancing. Awesome! We walk closer and the situation comes into full light. The dancers are all middle aged couples in classic JCPenny garb. Capris, pastel sleeveless tank tops, sandals with socks, polo shirts, scrunchies (!)- all manor of clothing that when you see it in NYC you know you’re looking at a tourist. They’re busting out to this music and it’s quite a sight to wallflower. You have one couple grinding, which is rather car accident-like to behold (you can’t look away even though it is traumatizing) and a gray-hair older man busts out in a solitary dance that makes you fear for a second that he’s having a seizure. Everyone looks like they’re having so much fun, and that’s what makes me stop judging and smile.
The song ends and the band leader announces (the name of the band which, I am so sad to sad, I forgot and) that they have to stop playing due to a sound ordinance. Aww. GB, SU, and I decide against bowling- Saturday we have rehearsal at 9:30am. We journey home- money in our bank accounts, milkshakes in our bellies, and visions of old people dancing in our heads.
I just wrote a whole 1000+ words about a trip to the bank. This is what happens when I leave NYC.