Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sweating before the judge to become who I am, Part 2

[ Read part 1 here ]

"Ok, the clerk said. Here's what you do: you can go home and get those documents, but you'll have to be back here before 2PM."

It was 12:58.  Not going to happen.

"Or?" I said.

"Do you have a bank account?  Well, then, find the nearest branch and ask them to print out your last statement.  With your address.  We'll accept that. NEXT!"

I slinked to the elevators, where the Slavic woman was crying into her cell phone.  I just stood there, ashamed that I had ever thought she should look to me as an example of anything but hubris. 

But enough of that.  I had to find a bank.   Cell phones don't work in the courthouse elevators, so when we got to the lobby I dialed Chase's automated help line.

"HEY!" someone yelled.  I was sure it was Officer Dummkopf.  Years ago I trained myself not to respond when someone says HEY in that arrogant fashion.  I put the phone to my ear and walked toward the door.

"HEY!  No cell phones inna lobby!" Dummkopf screamed. "Take it outside."  Since I was already walking outside, Dummkopf had placed himself in a win-win situation: no matter what I did, I was obeying him.  I reminded myself yet again that if I am ever convicted of a crime I would have to kill myself before sentencing, since with this kind of attitude I would last maybe 15 seconds in prison.

"Chase Customer Service, may I help you?"  The rain had stopped and the air outside consisted of 80% nitrogen, 19% steam, and 1% oxygen.  MTA workers were building an anastamosis linking the nearby subway stations, so the streets around the courthouse were torn up, and multiple jackhammers pounded out of phase.  "BROOKLYN!" I shouted into the phone. "JAY STREET AND LIVINGSTON! NEAREST BRANCH!"  I could just barely hear the operator reply "Eighth street?" "NO!!!!  JAY STREET!  J-A-Y STREET!  AND LIVINGSTON!  BRANCH!"  I started walking down Jay Street to get away from the construction.

An ambulance tried to zoom around the corner, but their on-board navigation system didn't tell them that the street had been torn up.  The driver screeched to a stop and leaned on his siren, making deep "WOCKA-WOCKA-WOCKA" sounds  that in no way harmonized with the jackhammers.   "Avenue J in Brooklyn" the Chase Customer Service operator said faintly. 

"NOOOOOOO!  J-A-Y STREET AND... where am I now?  WILLOUGHBY STREET.  Oh crap! W-I-L-L-O-U-G-H-forget it, thanks!  Never mind!  Bye."  I didn't need her anymore.  I was approaching Metrotech Center.  Metrotech Center is the Brooklyn home of JP Morgan Chase.  There's a huge Chase logo atop 4 Metrotech Center -- you could see it for miles.  Surely they had to have a Chase branch.  Surely.

30 minutes later, "Surely"  had turned into "WHERE THE FUCK IS THE CHASE BRANCH ALREADY?????" There are 28 buildings in Metrotech Center, and I had been to each one, begging for a teller.  Each time, the security guard sent me to a different building, further from the courthouse.  I began to believe that there was no Chase branch, that JP Morgan Chase wasn't headquartered there, and that MetroTech center was merely a metaphor for the first layer of hell.

[more to come]

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