Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Oscar laughed every time Evil blew up a cohort.

The music begins during the opening credits. The music, the music is a mystery. I will have to think on this one for the opening.The film could start with a medium shot of a long marble counter, an institutional type counter. The camera pans from some silk sunflowers in a non-descript blue striped ceramic vase to a pile of papers lying scattered on the counter. At this point, the viewer gets a hint the film takes place in Asia because the scattered papers, on closer inspection are a mix of English script and Chinese characters. Among the documents are a passport and another document that looks like a passport. This is the hero’s foreign expert certificate. We do not know who this hero is yet.

The camera pans up. The intro music fades into the cacophonous sound of a bank. Here is when the camera pans up to the face of a hapless American. A Chinese man in a suit is speaking to the hapless American in broken English. The hapless American is nodding, dazed. The camera pans down to the American’s hands. He is filling out a form.

His first words are “Why do you need my bank account information in America if I am getting US money in cash?”

The bank official, a kind man, smiles apologetically at the American. The bank official then turns around to a man sitting at the desk and scolds him in Chinese and then slaps him a bit. The man sitting, a clerk, now has tears in his eyes.

“Follow me,” the Chinese man in the suit says to the hapless American. The Chinese man in the suit ignores the teary eyed clerk. The American follows the Chinese man in the suit to a teller window. The bank is crowded. As the hapless American and the Chinese man in the suit who is the manager of the bank walk up to the teller, a customer leaves the window.

The manager says something to the teller in Chinese and then walks away. A loud argument can be heard in the background. The camera is focused on the teller. The teller does not pay attention to the argument. The camera follows the hapless American’s eyes to the small group of customers – two men and a woman - standing arguing in Chinese. The manager, the Chinese man in the suit, is in the middle trying to placate them. The camera pans back over to the teller. He is trying to get the manager’s attention by making eye contact with him. The manager is embroiled in the argument. And, there are no subtitles to any of this. The viewer should feel a bit lost, a bit confused.

Finally, the teller uses the public address system to get the attention of the manager. The manager looks up, points to the teller to the arguers and walks back to the window. As the manager walks up, the hapless American says “It looks like you have your hands full.”

The manager simply smiles and says to the American – “Yes, Yes.” His smile says more than his words.

The above was a brief, oh so brief, dramatization of me trying to get RMB changed to dollars this morning. It was a nightmare, a laughable nightmare. I got to the bank at 8:45, fifteen minutes before the bank opened. I was the third in line. Changing money over took until 11 am. I am not sure why. If I tried to explain it here, I would fail miserably. All I can say is that I had to fill out multiple forms and go to multiple tellers for help. At ten thirty, after the manager had kindly told me fifteen or twenty minutes earlier to sit down to wait for the order to be processed, I started to get antsy. My first lesson of the day on Tuesday is at 11:20. With the slow molasses way that things move here, I thought I should track him down and find out the story. He had disappeared.

When I finally found him he looked at me as if perhaps he had forgotten about me. At this point, he went to a new teller and said something in Chinese. Thirty minutes after this, after filling out duplicate forms and standing around for no good reason, I had the thousand dollars in my hand that I had intended to take to the Post Office to send Western Union to Meg to pay my credit card. However, instead, I had to jump into a cab and head back to my apartment to grab my backpack so that I could head to school.

All of this is frustrating beyond belief. Yesterday, when I told Mary I had to send money Western Union to pay a credit card. She told me I should just transfer from the Bank of China. Okay, yeah, that is a great idea, that in fact is the idea I had over a month ago when I decided to wire $800 to my fucking MBNA credit card that is now fucking Bank of America. And you know what?! The money has still not made it!

I may be wrong but are these not maybe the two of the biggest banks in the world. I mean it’s not like I tried to wire money to Ponca City First National Savings and Loan. IT was fucking Bank of America. It is named after a country and maybe even loosely speaking named after a continent. That to me seems like they should know what in the fuck is going on. They don’t. Now, I have been hit with a $200 fine because of this. So, I just have to fucking laugh, laugh, laugh.

Needless to say when Mary told me I should just wire transfer the money through the bank, she got an earful. Furthermore, I just talked to Jennifer my friend from my last school here. She has had the same exact problem with the same exact banks. She tried to wire her credit card. When it didn’t go through she asked Michael at our company about it. He told her about my problem. I told her I sent $800 a month ago. It still has not made it. We are both flabbergasted. Once I pay this sucker off, it is bye bye credit cards for me. The fucking life draining whoreholes.

So, I thought I would be in this really rotten mood when I got to school but for some strange reason, I was almost giddy. I got to school ten minutes before the start of class. My first class of the day was the 7th graders. I really did not have time to prepare anything before hand so I pulled a lesson out of nowhere which turned out to be something they liked doing.

We did research, research that can actually be used by someone like me for instance who may or may not be thinking of taking a job in Africa. For no particular reason, I gave them some questions concerning Ghana, which may or may not be the country in Africa where the job is that I may or may not be thinking of taking.. Most of the questions were fairly nondescript except a red flag came up with the question “How much would an apartment cost in Ghana?”
This is when Eric said – “I think you are making us look because you want to move there and you want us to do the work for you.”
To cover my tracks, I told them I used Ghana as an example, tomorrow they will pick a country that they want to research. Neisha told me she will research France.

The seventh graders and the sixth graders continued watching Time Bandits. Today, the 7th graders actually paid attention to the movie and laughed. The sixth graders still love watching the movie. Oscar laughed every time Evil blew up a cohort. When class was over, they did not want me to take it. I told them we will watch the rest of it tomorrow. This was a design class today. I told them to think about how it looked; the designs in the movie. They did not pay attention to me.


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