Waiting For The Check To Arrive In The Mail

Ottawa, Canada
July ’77

At the bank, I went up to the teller’s window, and told my sad story.
The guy was not sympathetic. After he made a few rude comments, he left his
post; I assumed to get the answer to my question. When he came back,
he was not helpful. In fact, he left me with the impression that my
money might never come. That was not what I wanted to hear. With my
voice rising in decibels, I asked for clarification. I ended up
explaining my situation, once again, to the new guy who had stepped in
to prevent a scene. He told me he would call my Credit Union in order
to make sure the money was sent. For some strange reason, he ended up
calling to confirm that the money had been sent, not once, but twice.
When it was all over, the asshole gave me a $25. advance (minus the
$3. taken out for the two phone calls) on the $100. I still had to
wait till Monday to pick up the rest of my money. I was not happy when
I left the bank.

July 9

Last night, back at the hostel, this guy came in and asked if anybody
wanted to go to work painting houses for him. He got a couple takers,
including me. But, after finishing a cup of coffee with him this
morning, I’m not so sure his offer was legitimate. The guy was upfront
about what he was doing—coning the government. His con was to hire
illegals and pay less than minimum wage. Joe, as he called himself,
paid his employees after the work got done, and the government got
nothing. To be sure, it was a scam. My problem was in trying to figure
out which side of the scam I was going to be on. Last night, when Joe
presented his shtick, he told me I would make $2.75 per hour. During
morning coffee, he upped the wage to $4.25. I found it hard to believe
that my amicability was worth the extra $1.50 per hour. Joe was not
shy about talking about his other schemes, either. He also ran a
Christmas card scam where he took the money and ran. I wasn’t going to
count my money until it was in my hand. At the very least, out of the
scam, I hoped to get a ride to Toronto. That’s where the houses were
that needed painting. We were supposed to leave on Tuesday, which
worked out good for me, since my money was supposed to arrive on Monday.


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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5 Responses to Waiting For The Check To Arrive In The Mail

  1. Sure hope your bank situation gets straightened out soon. That sounds horrible.

  2. grannydog says:

    Dealing with financial institutions can be a pain in the … too much red tape. Hope things worked out for you with that ‘Joe’ character.

  3. Trouble ahead, trouble behind…

  4. frizztext says:

    The guy in the bank was not sympathetic, indeed…

  5. bwinwnbwi says:

    The rose in the brier patch turned out to be my extended time in Ottawa–it was great! Thanks for all the comments!

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