The accidental old-lady botherer

It was a Sunday afternoon and I had a caffeine withdrawal headache and I wasn’t in the mood for no nonsense. I just wanted to get some cash out from an ATM and go along to my favourite cafe and get a coffee.

As I was nearing the door of ASB Bank’s ATM lobby, a middle-aged woman entered it ahead of me. When I got inside, I saw that she was at one ATM, but the other one was out of service, so I stood back about two metres behind her and waited.

She seemed really tense and eventually turned around to look at me. I think she didn’t realise that the other machine was out of service, so she needed to find out why I wasn’t using it and why I was standing behind her.

“Are you waiting to use this one,” she asked. “Yes, that one is out of service,” I explained. She glanced over at it and said, “Oh, I didn’t even notice that when I came in. I just went straight to this one. Well, I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t holding you up.”

I thought it was an interesting choice of words. I mean, she hadn’t even been there for minute and yet she apparently felt that she was taking too long.

But then I considered her choice of words – “holding you up”. It seemed like a bit of a Freudian slip. I think she was scared of the strange person lurking behind her. She was alone at an ATM on a quiet Sunday afternoon. She was scared that I was going to hold her up.

She had become quite flustered and seemed in a hurry to get her cash from the machine and leave, away from the notorious gangsta criminal R.O.B.Y.N.

Man, all I wanted was a coffee.