Seriously- I mean it.
9.24am and here I am waiting impatiently for 9.30am and the bank doors to open. It’s annoyingly drizzly today. You know rain that wets you, when you think it won’t. I am bored. I am people watching; as yummy mummies and silver-haired Peugeot drivers scuttle, head down past me.
All except one bearded man, with an umbrella . Who on closer inspection is looking particularly smug. Of course he is smug. He has an umbrella. He is oblivious to his black canopy and the humph-shuffle it’s created on the sidewalk. No-one understands the umbrella rules here. This is, after all the Sunshine State. We don’t do umbrellas for rain. He stops; right in front of me and despite the shelter strangely leaves his umbrella up. This bugs me somewhat as it blocks my view and my bugginess escalates by staring into the back of his ugly brown corduroy jacket.
It’s still raining and the bank is still shut. Two police officers amble down the hill towards us. It is not a meaningful police beat walk. They are too busy fixing the plastic lids onto their coffee cups. Maybe it’s not raining further up the hill? Or perhaps their little blue caps are waterproof. Either way, they are not bothered and totally un-hurried as they stroll past me with no particular purpose. It riles me for two reasons. One, every time I see a copper they are drinking coffee. Two, they look young enough to be my children. I seriously want to pull up the shorter ones pants and pull his belt in a little tighter for him. It irks me that I am neither intimidated nor impressed by them. That’s a damn shame.
My eyes follow them, as they mosey across the High Street; and then, unbelievably browse a shop window. I am flabbergasted at their open disregard for their uniform and purpose.
A very short woman (yes another one I seem to collect them outside banks) steps into my personal space.
“She needs to be careful!” she announces to her friend; but obviously she wishes to include me and umbrella man in her statement.
“Who…?” I ask, turning my attention to the end of her wagging finger.
On the opposite side of the narrow street a 20 something girl, with ridiculously long legs is attempting to pole vault across the busy road. I can understand it. She is holding her purse over head, in a clear attempt to block the wet from attacking her mane of super straight and glossy. I know she is panicking that the droplets’ will frizz her out. I squirm as she runs, balancing herself on her too high (but super gorgeous) wedge sandals, they are clearly totally inappropriate for her feat of dodging the oncoming cars. I will her over the road safely and quickly. Every second counts in these situations.
‘She’s Jay walking!” announces the grey hair woman.
“I don’t blame her.” I say defending her. The pedestrian crossing is a good twenty metres up the hill. Not an option. I am on slinky hair girl’s side. Silly old woman. She should mind her own business.
“Oh my!” The old woman’s even shorter mate chirps in “She going to cop it!”
‘Its OK’ breathes out the man with the umbrella.”They’re heading in the other direction”
What are these bank stalking, geriatrics’ rattling on about? I wonder relieved as the girl safely reaches the dry interior of her Ford Focus.
They all shuffle a bit closer, and to my bewilderment encompass me into their group hug. I feel like things are going to get serious. Trapped, I promise myself never to get to the bank before 11am ever again. They are all very short people. The man with the umbrella thinks he is being helpful holding it above us. I crouch down a little, for fear of a metal prod in my eye.
‘We mean the coppers – over there.’ We all peer sheepishly over our shoulders, beyond the parked cars, as the boys in blue, perhaps sensing an affray are heading back our way. It’s official I am the token 40 something “youngster” in the loony, semi-retired gang.
“They are the Jay walker patrol”. She whispers.
“They caught out seven people this morning already”
‘Are you serious?’ I ask. I can understand busy intersections, but this is a mountain village for goodness sakes.
“It’s a $40 on the spot fine.”
“What! Are those pesky coffee drinking detectives busying themselves with slapping $40 fines on unsuspecting rain dodgers?”
“That’s just about it….. Yes.”
I think my onslaught UN-nerved them a bit. But hang on …I am enraged! How dare they waste precious resources on unsuspecting good folk, whose only crime is wanting dry, frizz free hair for the day.It’s an odd situation to feel that way, I know. But really, this is very UN – Australian.
‘We started a petition against it – do you want to sign it?”
Damn straight I do.
I expect her to pull out an A4 sheet at best; she hands me a leather bound 200 page lined book. Humbly I flick through a hundred pages or so, before I reach white space. It’s crammed filled with hundreds of names and addresses, contact details. This clearly is a very hot topical subject in the mountain village life.
I fill in all of my details including my home number. No-one gets the home number unless they are very special. All this without moments thought for my identification security. I fill it in and full stop it with an almighty DOT!
It got me thinking.Their leather bound book is marketing GOLD. Companies would pay $$ thousands for it, I am sure. So what makes this particular distribution of my personal information OK? Why was I so willing to freely give my details? When there are hundreds of occasions where companies via friends or colleagues have emailed me or Face booked a petition for a great cause or maybe an offer, freebie or promise, but I never sign up. Why?
I tell you why. I trust them. I know my personal information will be used for intent. There will be no 3rd party information disclaimer. No flurry of unwanted spam in my inbox. No trivia or sales pitches. Just good old-fashioned do what it says on the tin.
So have the marketing gurus and all of their bang up to date knowledge simply lost the personal touch? Is getting out there in the community and talking to each other the best but forgotten way? Are we already sidelined by the ease of an email marketing campaign? Are we misplaced out there in a cyber world where only those with the SEO know how will reign supreme? Is the new way the best way or is it just the way we are going because it’s easier or faster with the potential to reach the masses with remarkably little effort?
Once again the bank doors opened. Each one of my new wrinkly mates greeted with a named hello and smile by the man in the suit at the door. I kind of liked this experience today. So much in fact I think I will go back tomorrow. I have to actually. Whether I want to or not. You see the millennium me turned up without an appointment and it seems there are some places in this world where you have to wait your turn. It’s not instantaneous and it’s not on-line, true, but then again I don’t need a password for the conversation and I get to chat with some incredible individuals that really don’t care or know for SEO Google or Facebook. Social Media is not on their list.Twitter or otherwise is totally irrelevant. They do not want it nor need it and with a little bit of envy I say; I doubt very much they ever will.