Monday, May 30, 2005

"Fornm Deboom!"
Accompanying a cartoon picture of a dog with a bone, "Fornm Deboom!" was the slogan on the T-shirt of a casually dressed and somewhat hefty Cantonese matron sitting next to me in my bank's waiting area today. The enigmatic message more or less set the tone for what transpired when my number was finally called.
The young female teller at booth 8 was wearing a surgical mask, whether to supposedly protect herself or others from some imagined viral scunge wasn't clear but the mask along with her limited English skills sure didn't aid communication through the 3-inch thick clear plastic security screen.
Briefly thinking that someone with a mask was traditionally supposed to be on my side of the bank counter, I nonetheless sucked it up to do some financial business.
Me: "I'd like to transfer some money from my account here to an account in the United States."
Teller/plague victim: "Mmmph! Wha bmlinigh? Mmmgulrhph. Okay? Quglurph! Quglurph?
Me: "Er, I. Would. Like. To. Transfer. Money. From. My. Account. Here. At. M.S.N.B.C. To. An. Account. In. The. YOU-NI-TED. States. Please."
Teller/plague victim: "Whmgklrgh!" Leaves. Returns and shoves paperwork through cage slot.
Me Fills out form. Shoves it back with Hong Kong and bank ID card.
Teller/plague victim: Points frantically at a section that I hadn't filled out because it said 'For internal use only.'. "Kwalurph! Swalurmmph!"
Me: "I can't understand you! Can you please take off your mask?" Mimes removing a mask, smiles bleakly
Teller/plague victim: Shakes head 'no'! frantically. Bends close to useless intercom microphone. "You shmoupmxrh! You shmoupmxrph!" Points to 'internal use' section again with pen and then scrawls something "Gurlmph? Okay?"
Me: "Uh.ummm..okay."
Suffice to say, business was eventually transacted though I'm not really secure regarding the ultimate result. Either the money will arrive or it won't. Either my checks will bounce or they won't and if they do I'll just hope for a non-masked teller next time.
As they say in Hong Kong: "Fornm Deboom!"
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