Thursday, March 02, 2006

Next Please

I walk into the bank - the one that takes the common man's money and turns it into wealth for its directors (people downunder will know which bank i'm talking about) - and look for a deposit form. There is none around. I scan the uninspiring deskspace to look for clues. I see some signs, "We have taken away the forms. Simply present your card at the counter with your money and we will do a deposit without forms".

"Great", say the little brain cells darting back and forth in swirling eddies of riotous hope. I walk up to the counter. Not quite. I've appended myself to the back of a queue of upright apes eager to part with their crispy notes in exchange for a number to be bumped up against their names. Magical, isn't it? The physical estimate of your toil that you hold in your hands (or have stuffed in your wallet) mutated to bit blobs, stuffed into spaces narrower than a politician's vision.

"Next please", the monochrome voice breaks my reverie. I advance towards the roboteller behind the counter, pulled forward by the irresistible force of her staccato oral discharge.

"I want to deposit my money and I haven't got a form with me", I say.

"That's alright, we can do that with just your card". It almost knocks me off my feet with its helpfulness. I wasn't aware that the robotellers had advanced to be almost human like in my lifetime. It swiped my card and then it had a conversation with the monitor which was staring at it. It looked puzzled. Even more astounding! But then it quickly reset its state machine to morph into its original plasticine visage and turned to me.

"We can't do it, its an ezy banking card and you would have to deposit your money at the grocery store"

"But I was able to deposit it here when I had to fill in the form. Now with the more streamlined system, I can't do it here anymore!"

It turns to the roboteller next to it. The next one is an older version and doesn't have much control over its state machine. It asks me whether the card is attached to an account with the bank or the grocery store. The bank. The first roboteller swipes the card again and regurgitates its previous line. I am adamant that I want to deposit my money here as I don't want to walk to the other end of the shopping centre where the grocery store is. I am rebellious. It seems that the listlessness that has afflicted the other humans hasn't engulfed me completely and I can still exhibit some dissatisfaction with my condition. Waves of fear wash over me at the same time, I hope my rebellion is not being witnessed by the conformist Stasi tasked with keeping the collective brainwaves oscillating between a tightly regulated range.

Vowels and consonants are scrambling out of my mouth in a mad rush to wrap my anger in a comprehensible sequence of gramatically correct formations. I feel elated. It feels like I'm floating in a bubble.

Another roboteller walks in. It takes the card from the first roboteller, asks me a few questions and swipes the card again while punching a few numbers in. It tells me that I can't make the deposit and I would have to deposit...The bubble is broken.

But this new robo- goes further and tells me that I was able to deposit at the bank previously as the paper forms had a different number filled in which wouldn't have alerted the robotellers to refuse the deposit. But now with the formless method, the machine reads a different number from the card which tells the robos that the deposit should be made with the grocery store. It doesn't appear to be just a standard roboteller, it looks like it is the head robototellitarian. It certainly has more powers.

But it too repeats the same sentences to me three times. Maybe it is not that fancy after all. Somebody was a bit sloppy and didn't program its loop condition very well.

It should have been like this always, it says. Seems like the original roboteller forgot to tell me the full story or it may be that I forgot what I was told. The realization that my memory might be failing me makes me accede to their reasoning and give up my ground. It is quickly taken up by the next ape in the queue.

The next day I walk into the grocery store and hand over my money and card to the cheerful girl behind the counter. The deposit goes through smoothly. I feel lighter. Maybe after all depositing your money with a grocery store is not as out of place as it sounds in a world increasingly being taken over humanoid mannequins and robotellers.

As I walk out I make a mental note to...damn, I forgot.

3 comments:

crapsoul said...

couldn't stop laughing....roboteller :) .....keep it up

pavan kumar said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
pavan kumar said...

Sorry my wrong.. lil toooo sleepy, nice post :)