The woman who called me for service was large, not just from side to side but also tall, with a heavy, slow, shifting gait. She wore small strappy sandals and a gold broach on her chest that was shaped like an antique phone. Did she like antique phones or is the broach representative of something else? I didn’t ask.
I proceeded with my banking business, part of which required that I give her photo ID. Now, my photo ID is actually in two parts right now since I recently married and changed my name. Currently, I carry two cards, a plastic card and a little yellow paper addendum from the state that says, basically: "Hey, this lady has changed her name, but this is still her". I feel a little bad about handing bureaucrats this card because, being a paper pusher myself, I know that handling these types of documents can be difficult – some places don’t accept them and it may add an extra layer of forms to an already form heavy job.
“I’m sorry,” I say, handing the ID over “I paid 16 dollars to get a new card, and I really thought they were going to send me a photo ID, but all they sent me was this.”
She takes the cards, her lacquered fingernails clicking against the wood desk. I am always fascinated by long, plastic nails, as I cannot imagine how I would type with them. She shakes her head at me. “You thought you would get a new card for free? Oh, girl, you have GOT to be joking.” She says, not laughing, but smiling.
At this point, I think that she misunderstood what I said, so I say it again. “No, I thought that I would get a new photo card for the 16 dollars I paid.”
She shakes her head, gold earrings swinging. “You thought, just like that,” and she snapped her fingers “something for free. Well, nothing in this world is free.”
“No, I know, I didn’t think for free I’d get. . .”
“You are such a kidder! Phew! Well, I guess you learned, hm?”
I think to myself. “I paid 16 dollars! I did not expect anything for free!” but at this point, it’s too late, and she has already made up her mind. I nod instead. “Yes, yes I guess I learned. Nothing for free.” Minutes later, she hands me my new, free, debit card.