Hail the assertive 'burgh lady

Written by Diana Nelson Jones on .

 So, I'm standing in line at my bank's branch in Lawrenceville this morning, waiting to deposit a check, and the guy in front of me sighs... again. "I been standing here 10 minutes," he says.

"TEN MINUTES?" My voice comes out way too loud, but I am incredulous. People are always exaggerating waiting times. Computers boot up in two minutes and we say it's taking forever... so anyway, he nods staunchly and repeats: "Ten minutes."

There is only one teller in a long row of vacant bays and his customer is needing something complicated. By now, five people are waiting behind me. They have all walked in at once. Two women behind me are my mother's age. They look like they got ready for something more important than going to the post office, except that older people do put themselves together to go out in public. They're reminders of how much like children most adults dress. They were tastefully made up, with their hair coiffed like Pittsburgh's legion of salt-of-the-earth elders.

One turns her attention to a young guy consulting at a desk. He looks up from his client, half stands and says to her, with deer-in-headlight eyes, "I'm not a teller."

"I KNOW," she squawks. "But where ARE they?"

He looks alarmed. "They must be on break," he says.

"Good time to take a break," says the 10-minute man, who sighs again and glares.

The young guy hurries back to a little door. Out comes a woman and they stand there, scanning the vacant row of work bays and say, "Where ARE all the tellers?"

As if on cue, a whole ‘nother woman comes in the front door and walks back to a work station and the woman who came out of the little door goes to a work station, and it's as if a plumber has just drained the bathtub. We're moving. I haven't done a thing but I feel aglow now inching forward. I am standing in line with the real power brokers.

"Good for you!" I say to the instigator behind me, and she says, through a little smile of pink lipstick, "Ya gotta say somethin' or they'll ignore you."

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