Monday, May 15, 2006

At The Bank

The smiles we wear ...

I was in the bank today during lunch, waiting to deposit a cheque. In front of me were a couple. They looked lovingly at each other, had their hands in each others' rear pockets, and informed the teller they wished to visit their safety deposit box. To the world, it was just another happily married(?) couple.

Except that the couple were two balding middle-aged guys.

Living in liberal Canada, we see a lot of wild stuff, and we become desensitized to it. However, the sight of two gay men still strikes most people as a tad too much. Yes, you have your rights, just ... stay the hell away from me, seems to be the attitude.

It was interesting watching the teller's reactions. She was a young, 20-something blond girl, and as she looked up, ready with the smile that says 'Next', her face froze ... momentarily. Then she recovered and asked 'How may I help you?' before verifying their signatures and leading them off to the locker rooms. As she came back, I saw her give an involuntary shudder before fixing her smile back into place and announcing, 'May I help the next person, please?'

The lane besides me was having an argument. An older Chinese gent was ... loudly ... yelling at the cashier (an Indian woman - do banks hire any male tellers?) that his cheques were in order. The teller was trying, unsuccessfully, to a)calm him down b)explain that the cheques needed to be countersigned by his wife c)stop herself from blowing up. My teller, seeing the situation, told the Chinese guy 'she's just doing her job, it's bank procedure', before the customer again exploded as to 'how the bank should know he was his wife's husband and why they needed her signature when he was here and why ... blah blah blah."

In the end the Indian lady just got a Chinese teller to speak with him, while she herself gave him the cold shoulder. And the look. After he left, she turned to the next guy in line, smiled and said 'Hi. How are you today?'

It was so surreal. It was as if the incident with the previous customer was already forgotten. She was all smiles and hellos and other such niceties - but I guess that's good customer service. Reminded me of those news readers who would read a shocking piece of news followed by fluff in an equally unperturbed manner.

"[with grim voice] Authorities say five people are dead, including a child as young as five, in the shocking murder of a family that has stunned the small New Brunswick town with its brutality.

[pearly white smile comes on] In another piece of news, it's Baby One More Time again for Britney Spears, who has confirmed reports of her pregnancy ..."



Aisha said...

So wild/libearl Canada still shudders at gay people? I dont blink an eye here in the states. Its as much part of the landscape as anything else though I'm sure its not the same in smaller towns or less populated states.

mystic-soul said...

and life goes on....

mezba said...

Aisha, gay people are normal here (well, visible) but I think the sight of two men making out still manages to gross out Toronto.

MS: And so it does ...

Aisha said...

Oh i didnt realize they were making out.

And Britney Spears pregnant again. That is simply tragic.

hero said...


your sense of observation is gr8... cool blog..

RR said...

Its a natural reaction I suppose, to be perturbed when you see gays. In Paris, there is a pont "=bridge" where gays come together and make out during the evening hours and weekends. I was warned severely by a friend to never set foot there because the sight of two men making out is so vile, I would faint. And he said that being a male he was so shocked, so me being female, I would not be able to handle it. I never went.
Infact one of my freidns had even done research on the 'gay' areas and hangouts in the Ile-de France region.
Ever heard of Pink TV ?
Specially for gays and lesbians !!