You know, hole yourself up for long enough, and you re-emerge into a world of incompetence.
There's a world of incompetence out there I actually almost forgot about.
Went to Rosebank the other night. And I go to the bank (noticing wearily that Nino's is all plastic and sparkly now – seems it has got a facelift in the past few weeks), and I stand in the queue at the ATMS.
Firstly, out of the three ATMS, one isn't working. Fine, that happens. Then the dude in front of me proceeds to break the other one. How do you break an ATM? Don't answer that, there are many ways to fuck up an ATM, but he did it I assume, accidentally, and fairly unobtrusively. He then doesn't tell me he'd broken it, neither does the security guard whose hanging around, and I push my card in. Only it doesn't come out, and neither does my R200.
Ten minutes of whirrs go by. So I say to El Security Guardo: “Dude, my card's stuck. Did you know this machine is broken?”
Yes. He did know. He just didn't feel like telling me.
OK then. Is there a number I can call for Standard Bank so that I can cancel my swallowed card?
“You sure? This is a potentially hot heist area, no emergency numbers you can point me towards?”
No. Doesn't know.
“It'll come out......eh...maybe eventually,” he says.
Oh awesome. So what I'll do is just stand here and wait for that to maybe happen? The queue behind me is getting longer.
Wow have I missed this outside world. Good to know some things never change. Better even to know that when the world seems like a dangerous and unfamiliar place – there is a certain....safe familiarity in that incompetence is still very much all around. Reminding you - quickly - that all is going on as normal in the real world.
Luckily, the card spits itself out somehow. Except now, the last remaining machine is taken up by two women who are having I-didn't-take-my-Ritalin-this-morning-or-like-something trouble. They're giggling and fannying about and not really attending to the money-withdrawel process. Oh wait, the card comes out....and gets pushed right back in. Then a few buttons are pressed, then a statement, then a confused debate with our hero the security guard. By now, I've left a mate waiting for 30 minutes at a restaurant. And still no money in hand.
I haven't really missed that if I'm gonna be honest.