Reading: Farm Fatale by Wendy Holden. I picked it up during my travels today. Because, you know, I'm only reading four other books at the moment.

Listening: To my two new CDs. I can't afford to buy two CDs in one day, but it was a bad day, people.

Watching: Buffy. Anyone surprised at what happened? Anyone?

So. Having found out yesterday due from Dora that they have released a second soundtrack from Moulin Rouge, I have been able to think of nothing else but acquiring this CD. So I met a friend for lunch and afterward headed to the closest Barnes & Noble, on the Plaza, which isn't exactly next door to where I work, but closer than home.

They're sold out. I buy a book instead.

On my way home, I decide to stop at Crown Center, a shopping center attached to the headquarters of Hallmark, just to see if there was a Sam Goody or other such store where I might get my CD.

No such luck. The music store closed six months ago. However, Crown Center is currently having an exhibit of items recovered from the tomb of King Tut, so I bought a snickerdoodle from the Great Harvest Bread Company (hey, what better way to get your parking validated) and wandered through the relics for a few minutes. I felt very cultural.

And also a bit like a slacker. My lunch was going on two hours.

So I go back to work. Or at least, I try to. But I can't find a parking space in the building. And this pisses me off.

I mean, I pay just over a hundred bucks a month to park in the building, so dammit, I should have a space. It's cold outside, I don't want to pay again to park for the day, a block and a half down the street. I've paid for a space in the building, I want a space in the building. This isn't like college, where they sold way more parking permits than there were spaces but you knew that going in and you just had to go really early and pray for a spot.

I circle the levels a few times, and finally decide in a huff that I'm just going to go park in the two-hour bank parking, except there aren't even any spaces there.

So I left. I was feeling rather irrationally indignant. No space for me? Fine. I didn't want to be here anyway.

And so the search for the CD continued.

I headed up into North Kansas City, an area that I have spent my life ridiculing, and belittling anyone who actually chooses to live up there.

Elise lived up there, though not by choice, really. There came a time to move in with her boyfriend-now-husband, and that's where he lived. I make my way to her old neighborhood and then call to ask her where the nearest Best Buy is, and she talks me there with surprisingly accurate directions, seeing as she hasn't lived there for over two years.

The bastards are sold out. I seriously want to scream. I buy the new Chris Isaak CD to ease my pain.

My lunch has been just over three hours long, and I have driven just over 55 miles since getting gas this morning. By the time I get back to my building, a parking space has opened up, and I grugdingly go back to work for a few hours. (I should point out that I had exactly zero voice-mails and exactly one work-related e-mail waiting for me.)

On my way home, I stop at the Best Buy by my house, fully expecting to be turned away once more. I don't see it in the soundtrack section, and ask one of the cute boys in blue shirts. He looks at his computer screen and says, "I know we have a couple in the back, just wait here."

And sure enough, a few minutes later, he returns with my CD, and I nearly kiss him with joy.

Have I told you lately how much I love my bank?

I love my bank. I adore my bank. When I move, I will seriously miss my dear, sweet bank. It's a small little community bank, six branches, employee-owned, and totally wonderful, and I love them, even though they've screwed up my cashier's checks three times now.

I pay my rent with a cashier's check. It's a habit I got into after a little spell during which I had to pay my rent with a cashier's check, which is a whole other story. Now I choose to pay this way, mostly because my money is always tight the first half of the month, and I'd just as soon not worry about the check clearing.

A few months ago, I got home from getting my cashier's check to find a message from someone at the bank, apologizing profusely but telling me that I needed to come back because they had made a mistake with the check and made me the recipient instead of the payor.

So I took it back, and they were incredibly nice and apologized again about the mistake, which I wasn't in the least upset about, these things happen, and I told them a story from my own days as a bank employee that beat a little mis-typed cashier's check by a country mile.

Now, you would think that I would have learned to double-check the cashier's check from then on, but please, we're talking about me. Last month, I didn't even realize that they had switched the names again (making the check from my apartment complex to me) until I went to deposit the check in the slot on the morning before it would be late. (We have until 9:00 a.m. on the 6th, otherwise it's a $50 late fee.) And it's 8:50 on the 6th, and I'm looking at this backwards check, and now I am a little upset but more at myself than at the bank, because I should have looked at it before now.

I take it back to the bank, and while one guy is fixing it, the teller who made the check in the first place leaves her station at the drive-up window to come over and apologize to me personally. We chat for a minute, and I ask her if I could get a photocopy of the wrong cashier's check to take to my apartment managers as proof that I had the check on the 5th and therefore it wouldn't have been late if it had been correct, because I'm trying to get out of the late fee.

And I swear to you, the teller writes her name and phone number on a blank receipt and tells me to have the apartment manager call her if there is a problem, and if they end up charging me the fee, I'm supposed to get something in writing and bring it back to the bank and they will reimburse me the fifty bucks.

I ask you, would Bank of America do this for me? Would Commerce or US Bank or any other huge corporate banking conglomerate? Not bloody likely. They'd point and laugh and tell me it's my own fault for not noticing the error before 8:50 on the morning it was due, so here's $50 out of your checking account, go pay your little fee and don't bother us anymore.

So anyway. This evening, the new Moulin Rouge soundtrack playing merrily in my car, I pull up to the window and ask for my cashier's check. I wait a few minutes, the nice guy behind the window slides my check out to me, and as I pull away, I look at it. It's payable to Lincoln Highlands, which is correct, but it's from Elizabeth Highlands. Uh, not quite.

So I drive back around, wait about fifteen seconds for the car that was behind me to drive away, and pull up to the window again.

"Hi. I'm back." I slide the check back in. "My last name is wrong, can I just scratch it out, or do you have to make a whole new one?"

The teller, who I think is new because I haven't seen him before, instantly apologizes and berates himself in an amusing way. He calls over another guy and asks him what to do, and the second guy looks at me, smiles, and leans into the microphone.

"We do a pretty good job of screwing these up for you, don't we?"

And I laugh, impressed that he remembers me, and I say yes, you do, but lucky for me I looked at it this time. And when the original teller slides out my new, 100% correct check, he smiles into the microphone too.

"The truth is, I just wanted to see you again."

I love my bank.



enter the oscar pool