Monthly Archives: October 2013

Update on yesterday’s posts

I was sitting on my computer last night typing up some notes when I got a knock on the door. I check the peephole and see a guy in a dark brown uniform standing there. I open the door cautiously:

“I don’t have any candy,” I said apologetically.

“I’m not in costume,” he says. “I have a package for you.”

“A package?”

“Yeah, something called ‘M&T Bank’ in Shamokin, Pa, if that helps you.”

“I guess,” I said taking it from him as hand me a stylus and beaten up tablet-like device.

“Don’t worry about the signature. You won’t get it ‘right’ and you can’t erase it anyway.”

“Happy Halloween,” he said disappearing down the hallway.

I tear open the beaten up envelop and find four packs of checks stuffed between a set of ledgers and four flat green boxes…

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Banking for imbeciles: Part 2

As I’m coming back from the bank and pass the back entrance to Sutton Place Apartments, a black man in a luxury car stops in the middle of the street, his driver-side window is clearly open.

“No,” he says into his phone. “I’ll just this random ass white guy…Hey YOU, can I ask you a favor? I need your help with something.”

It was against his better judgment, but “Random Ass White Dude” approached this bright red Mercedes anyway.

He then then stares at me intently for a minute or so before shouting: “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? I SAID I ‘NEEDED SOMETHING’ AND YOU ARE NOT GIVING IT TO ME! ARE YOU FUCKING RETARDED OR SOMETHING?”

“You never said what that ‘something’ was. You just started shouting at me.”

“DO I HAVE TO SPELL EVERYTHING OUT FOR YOU FUCKING PEOPLE? I MEAN YOU ARE SO FUCKING STU- (I can see the gears turning in head)… I mean I am an actor in the TV series ‘Veep’ which was filming on location here today…”

“So?”

“I’m an actor, I’ve been in movies, TV series – including ‘The Wire’ -, Broadway AND I’m a graduate of theatre arts from the Baltimore School of the Arts so you KNOW I’m not some kinda crackhead or something like that…”

“GET TO THE POINT ALREADY,” I said losing patience with his self-serving prattle.

“I-I need to get to our studio in Georgetown (technically, the studio for “Veep” is in Columbia, Md.) for another shoot… but you see, my credit card was declined at the gas station. As I said, I’m not a crackhead, I’m a good guy… I just need you to give me $50 to cover the cost of gas to DC…”

“You’re kidding me, right?”

“Now I know, $50 is a lot to ask, but if you don’t have it… (this was clearly meant as an insult). I’ll just find someone else to give it to me…”

“You do that.”

“You’ll excuse me, now, I’m going to find someone who is not a FUCKING IMBECILE,” he said as shot off in his shiny red Mercedes leaving “Random Ass White Dude” alone in the middle of the street.

I cross to the opposing sidewalk and continue on my way up the hill towards The Beethoven. I head immediately downstairs and find the landlord in her office.

She told me that while I am not allowed to use cash, I was allowed to use “cashier’s checks, money orders or – since we both use M&T Bank – ACH.” But more importantly, she said the cashier I dealt with this morning was “extremely rude” and hopes I “reported her to her manager.” More importantly, she also told me the number Google gave me for her office was incorrect…so whose voicemail was I calling anyway?

I took this newfound information and rushed back to the bank. When I got to head of the line someone off to the side asked me to look up the address of the bank on my phone and exactly as I pulled it up on my screen he asked the cashier who said it about a half-second before I did causing the asker to say “he already gave it to me.” Now I look like a fucking idiot who has M&T Bank’s address on his Smartphone for absolutely no reason, but it doesn’t matter since it’s my turn now.

I explain the situation as I had that morning. I am out of checks, and wanted temporary checks that I could use until the ones I ordered earlier that week come in. He said they have those, but he could offer me a money order for use on rent if wanted.

He reaches into a drawer and pulls out the same slip the cashier from this morning gave me. He tells me to make it out to cash and he’d do the rest. He would even waive the fee as a consolation for the “earlier events.” He gives me the printed money order and I rush back to The Beethoven arriving just as my watch says the leasing office was about to close.

“…Thank…you…for staying…open,” I said completely out of breath.

“What do you mean,” the landlord asked. “It’s only 3 o’clock – we don’t close for another hour.”

“Good thing I rushed over here then…isn’t it?” I said somewhat embarrassedly.

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Banking for imbeciles: Part 1

I had the misfortune of paying bills on Monday when I realized my checkbook was empty so I put it aside and worked on other projects for a while. I then remembered I had to go down to the leasing office to report a problem in the apartment, and figured I might as well pay my rent while I was down there.

I was able to report the maintenance issue, but I went to write the check…it wasn’t anything there. The landlord wasn’t in at the time, but it was embarrassing none the less – particularly since my last meeting with her was over a banking error (they sent the leasing company $97 instead of $970).

Naturally, it is much easier to think that rather than say someone at the bank missing a zero on the keyboard that I must somehow not know how to write a check properly (even though I’ve been renting here for seven years). Therefore, the missing $873 must come from somewhere, and she made me call M&T at a distinct disadvantage of not having a statement or a cancelled check in front of me while she and her maintenance guy stand in my doorway.

The woman on the phone insisted it was my fault and that was enough proof for my landlord. However, the agent on the phone did say she would send the cancelled check to me. In the meantime, that $873 was still hanging over my head. I had no choice but to make a check for that amount and hope to be exonerated later on.

Flash forward two weeks, I get a letter from corporate offices at M&T bank with a blurry photocopy of a cancelled check that was conveniently illegible. That’s not exactly a great help to me… but as it turns out, in order to reorder checks I need to provide Deluxe with both my account number and the routing number of the bank. The easiest place to find those numbers is… on a cancelled check.

I put the barely legible numbers into Deluxe’s web form and it worked perfectly. I chose a design and hit “order my checks” and went on with the rest of my evening. However two days later, I knew I had to something about this rent situation so I went down to the M&T Bank office to inquire about temporary checks I could use while waiting for the real ones to arrive.

I get to the front of the line and the thirty-year-old woman behind the counter rolls her eyes and begrudgingly calls me over. I explain the situation to her. She rolls her eyes again, pulls a blank check out of her drawer and hands it to me. I start filling it out when she looks at me exasperatedly and says “what are you doing?”

“I told you I needed to make rent and other bill payments.”

“That’s a withdraw slip – it is for CASH ONLY!”

“I can’t pay rent in cash.”

“Well, I’m continuing this transaction until you can tell me EXACTLY what types of payment they DO take. NEXT.”

I leave the bank and look up the number for the apartment complex on my phone. It wasn’t in my contact list so I looked it up on my Smartphone. No answer so I was essentially forced to walk all the way back to the leasing office to find out. I get three blocks away from the bank and I remember that I forgot to destroy the withdraw slip with my name and account number on it so I rush back to the bank to find the slip exactly as I left it and tore it up in the middle of the lobby.

That out of the way, I tried calling the number from Google one more time. Still no answer, they were probably at lunch so I looked down at my watch and decided that probably wasn’t a bad idea either…

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So busy it’s spooky

I left the apartment just after 11:30am. It was later than I had initially planned, but it adds drama to the otherwise dry story (can he make it? Stay tuned!).

My first stop was the Walter’s Art Museum to see their new Egyptian themed show “The Mysterious Book of Faiyum.” Technically, I had already seen part of the show on Thursday night, but I had such a headache that I couldn’t stay for the rest of it (and I didn’t have enough material for a full blog post about it either).

Fortunately, this was their Egyptian themed “Fall Family Fun Festival” so they waived their $10 entry fee, and garnered a sizable crowd of parents and children in the process though most of the younger kids were kept busy making simple crafts in the main lobby. This enabled me to get through the second half of the exhibit far quicker than I had anticipated so I had to figure out what\where I was going from there.

As I headed north on Charles Street, I ran across a large group of protesters. I have no idea what they were railing against (there are a lot of things to protest in this city) as their chant seemed a bit generic and I couldn’t quite read their signs from across the street. There was no cursory write-up in the Brew when I got back so I may never know what they were chanting about.

They turn off to the right towards the monument and I continued straight uphill before finally ducking into the Starbucks on Preston Street. I was too hot for a hot beverage, but it was too cold for a frozen drink. I didn’t stop to think so I just ordered an iced Pumpkin Spice, and felt bad as I passed the half dozen or so homeless people working the area (carrying around a Starbucks cup tends to undermine the whole “I don’t have any money to give you” canard).

It took me about fifteen minutes or so after leaving the store to find my next destination. I thought a “street festival” would be pretty simple to find, but the 1st annual “Fall Festival” at the newly opened Baltimore Design (High) School was a pretty small affair – four tables, a DJ and a bounce house plus a nominal $5 “donation.” Unfortunately for them, I continued walking (hey, there’s always next year) and eventually circled back to Mt Royal Station, but that didn’t mean my day was over yet…

I bought a ticket and waited about five minutes for a southbound train to take me downtown. I got off at Convention Center and walked over to the Maryland Science Center for their new show called “Mummies of the World.” It’s a fascinating subject, but it tried to tackle too much at one time. Worse it felt hypocritical to admonish visitors to respect the human dignity of the very specimens you brought out for them to gawk at – particularly since the science portion of the show was perfunctory and literally shoved off to the sides.

It was early yet as I left the exhibit, but I still decided it was easier to eat at the museum café than go back to the apartment and make something there. The food was overpriced, but still slightly better than I feared it would be. I put the empty tray on top of the trash can, put my hat back on and then left through the glass doors out to the plaza and started my way back to my apartment…

Categories: adventures, art, Baltimore, festivals, Inner Harbor, md science center, museums, protests, Station North | 1 Comment

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