Thursday, 14 December 2017

Enter Your Password ...



Is it just me, or is the world becoming truly Kafkaesque? (Youtube video, courtesy Noah Tavlin)

Every once in a while, I post about absurdity. Hey, I'm a partial Luddite, sure, and I'm getting older, yes, yet still I persist. So, for your enjoyment, here is yesterday's installment from Manoeuvres in the New World Horror...

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING, 2017. DAY ONE.

My credit card is refused at a boot shop on Queen Street in Toronto, after I realize I used my old password (PIN). After ONE wrong PIN attempt, my card is locked out. Huh. You used to get three tries I say, bemused but unbowed (to blank stares from the clerk).

I step out of the store into the cold to call the bank (a 10-minute wait on hold), and reach a perfectly nice human. Great. He will send me a request to reset my PIN. 

But I don't have data, I say. Or do banking on my phone (to silence). Okay, he's still with me. He comes up with a new plan, he will find me the nearest Bank ATM where I can reset my PIN! Isn't that a wonder! I wait a little longer (in the cold on Queen Street, I’m starting to suffer, just a little). He's triumphant! He tells me that Google Earth says there's an appropriate ATM at 591 Queen Street West! Go there! Go now! Reset your PIN at the ATM, and all will be well! You can shop, shop, shop!

I walk a few blocks (he faithfully wants to go with me, for some reason, so we stay connected), to 591 Queen Street West, and it's decidedly NOT a bank, or an ATM. Dude, it's a sketchy convenience store, I say. Not much use to me unless I want to buy a t-shirt with a pot plant in the shape of a Canadian flag on it. NO bank or ATM here. But there has to be, it's right here on my screen, he says. It's beside a Shopper's Drug Mart, right? I'm looking at it on Google Earth. There’s a Pizza Pizza, the pharmacy, then a Bank, right? ...

I almost feel sorry for him. He's so hopeful, he's trying so hard, he WANTS the bank to be there. But Google Earth has failed him. I can accept this. He cannot. He's truly incredulous. I offer to take a photo of the spot to prove it (but there's the problem of no data, how would I share it with him?). 

We both know it’s over.

Then, we move forward. I’ve sent the password request, so you have 12 hours to update it at any of the bank's ATMs, he says. Fair enough, I agree. He GUARANTEES ME (and this is important) that all I need to do is stick my credit card into ANY OF SAID BANK'S ATMs, to reset the password. He seems sad, though. He apologizes that he didn’t help me. It’s not your fault, it’s okay, I say. There, there. It truly isn’t his fault. He’s young. He’s not used to failure.

We part ways, disconnect. I can’t help thinking he’s still shaking his head somewhere, he can’t believe Google Earth was wrong. I imagine him belting back a few scotches at the local bar, telling people about the missing bank, but it was right there he’ll say to all who will listen. People will begin to move away from him. A valuable truth is setting in …

I’m frozen, walking a little desperately in the cold (too cold to run for the streetcar), so I take a taxi home (no data, no phone banking, no Uber, I used to be an early-adopter I think ruefully, settling into the back seat). Nothing was shopped for, no purchases made. I get home, warm up, head back out into the fray, eventually I arrive at one of the bank's ATMs a few hours later.

I put my credit card into the greedy slot.

The first message that pops up?

… ENTER YOUR PASSWORD …

Kafka would have smiled. I did. I really did. My right eye twitched a little first, though.

I will live to shop again tomorrow but not, I think, today.

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