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09:26:52 - 2000-06-05

SATURDAY MORNING AT THE DRIVE THRU

I hope to go to Heaven someday. But if the paperwork gets screwed up and I get sent to Hell instead, it's okay. Because I've been to the drive thru at the bank on Saturday morning. Hell would be a picnic with Martha Stewart after that nightmare.

Then again, hasn't a picnic with Martha Stewart always been the international symbol of Hell anyway?

Drive thrus are, as we all know by now, a work of the devil. After God created the dandelions, puppies and stuffed crust supreme pizzas, Satan stepped up to the plate and with furious anger, unleashed the first drive thru.

I feel confident, but not altogether cocky, that this drive thru was for a fast food restaurant. Since then, drive thrus have popped up everywhere ... from dry cleaners to liquor stores to maternity wards and forced us humans to believe that we have so little time to invest in anything that we can't leave our automobiles.

Let's face it ... we have to hurry and get home so we can hurl some tequila on our wife's crisp and clean maternity dress and by golly, the last thing we need is to have to get out of our cars to arrange such an event.

Then we have the bank drive-thrus in a league of their own. Banks have taken the sick idea of drive thrus and bastardized the concept beyond its original purpose. Drive thrus were designed to assist those in a hurry ... those who have a life and don't have the time or patience to wait behind Ma and Pa Kettle as they contemplate emptying out their savings account on a whim to buy a new sattelite dish so they can watch Springer seven times a day, once in Spanish.

Yet ... every time I go through a bank's drive thru, there's always one carload of imbeciles ahead of me who aren't really sure what a bank's purpose is. And it is to these sub-humans that I dedicate this column.

Recently, I made the grave error of not putting my paycheck in the bank on Friday during normal business hours. No big deal, I told myself. The bank is open on Saturday.

Wrong, King Kong. Only the bank's drive thru is open. You'd have better luck folding your paycheck into a paper airplane and sending it sailing into the bank's outside wall in order to get it in your checking account than you would waiting in one of these lines.

I arrived at the bank at 9:15 a.m. on a beautiful Saturday morning. With five drive thru lanes open and full, the shortest line I found had two cars in it. I raced like George Michael to a secluded bathroom and became number three in line. I squealed to myself in glee, knowing I would be back on the road in five minutes or less.

Uh huh. I may as well had the tooth fairy riding shotgun with me ... that's how gullible I had become in my old age.

Five minutes passed before the person in the front car had even filled out their deposit slip. As for me, I always grab a fistful of deposit slips every time I go to the bank, so my deposit is ready to go by the time I get to the bank. This way, you're not only more prepared than 90 percent of most people banking, but they also serve as wonderful scratch sheets at the drop of a hat.

I cannot begin to count the times these little deposit slips have come in handy when I have needed to leave nasty notes on people's windshields.

Of course ... to leave nasty notes on people's windshields, one must carry a ball point pen in their car.

By sheer coincidence, a pen also comes in handy when going through a bank drive thru.

Many people see no need to have a pen handy in a bank drive thru, when the nice tellers inside will let you use their pens.

Hmmm.

Maybe because the rest of us in line behind you don't have the assload of time that you obviously have to harass employees for their personal belongings so that you can take care of your bank transactions AT THE LAST POSSIBLE FUCKING MOMENT.

It's real simple, Jethro. Grab a pen from home, from the office, from the Bic factory itself if you have to and leave it in your glove compartment.

When situations arise that demand the use of a pen, you will not only feel relieved, but superior as well that you have nipped a problem in the bud before the problem ever arose. And the people behind you in their automobiles will no longer wish instant death upon you.

Most of them anyway.

The zombies that I have the most problems with that frequent the bank drive thrus are the bottom-dwellers that send one transaction at a time in the little tube.

A piece of advice, Frankenstein ... these bank tellers are fairly intelligent. Nine times out of ten, you are not going to send a transaction their way which is going to stop them dead in their tracks and make them wander around in circles in a stupor, trying to decipher what you are wishing to do. These are trained professionals that know how to cash not one, not two, but up to three checks at a time.

There is absolutely no need to send each check individually.

The bubble headed bleach blonde in front of me this past Saturday was not familiar with this rule of thumb. She was under the impression that everything she had come to the bank to do would have to be done individually so that nobody walked away more confused than she.

The fourth time she sent the cannister back with her fourth transaction, I politely laid on the horn, filling the parking lot with an obnoxiously long honk.

"Are you okay," the woman asked as she craned her neck out of her car window to turn around and look at me.

"I'm about to ram into the back of your vehicle if you don't learn how to use a drive thru properly," I screamed, with veins bursting out of my forehead.

"Thank you," she smiled as she waved and turned around.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe everyone else looks forward to waiting in line at the bank drive thru like they would anticipate a full body massage given by a naked Kathy Ireland.

Somehow, I just don't think so.

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