Monday, November 20, 2017

Não Tenho

Some days are just too stupid for words.

Some days, you should just be able to delete them.  Throw them in the trash, and empty the trash and they are gone forever.

Today was one of those days.  Actually, it wasn't.  It had one of the worst couple hours of all time in terms of pure stupidity, and you know how they say, one shitty customer can ruin your whole day and all that.  There are parts of today I will cherish forever, or at least, for a week or two.  I scored two bottles of stout which is no mean feat here in Salvador, and I pretend to enjoy one of them shortly.  It may be the best thing that happens to me all week.

So, my friends, I'm about to embark on one of my semi-complicated rants and if you're not in the mood I suggest you proceed to your second favorite blog in the world cause there ain't no stopping me now.

Okay.  Let me start by saying that the 20th of the month has become Hell Day for me in general; it's the day I owe my monthly taxes on my sales at the store, and also the day I pay my health insurance, and for some reason there's always at least a couple other large bills that need paying on the 20th so it's a day I've come to dread.  I've been reflecting a lot on the fact that I don't spend nearly as much time as I used to hanging out in banks waiting to pay bills (you don't pay bills via mail and check here, good heavens no), which is decidedly a good thing, and I take full advantage of the Internet option to pay whatever I can.  I also pay a lot of bills at the ATM, which is good too.

Both of these options crapped out on me today.

First off, and getting the stupidity ball rolling, I forgot my ATM card at the house.  I really don't like walking around with this card if I can avoid it, I don't like walking around with any cards that have the potential for being abused or whatnot, you know, visions of a gun to my head while I withdraw 2000 reais for someone who neither earned or deserves it.  But I really need to remember to bring it with me on the 20th.  Here's why.

To go with my bank account, I have this nifty little gizmo that gives me a code whenever I press a button.  It works great when I am paying bills online - I pay the bill, get the code, payment authorized, 'vapt vupt' as they say here in Bahia.  BUT this same gizmo has this @#$@# $%ˆ$% @#@#%  function that is not vapt vupt at all.  The furshlugginer thingie has a sensor on the bottom, and for certain kinds of transactions I need to hold the @#$@#$ thing up to my computer screen so it can try to read a series of flashes generated by my bank's website and generate a different kind of authorization so that I can proceed with my payment.

Stupid piece of shit almost never works.

I'm sorry, I did warn you this was kind of a complicated rant.  Feel free to bail if you want, but it does shift gears in a couple paragraphs.

Okay.  So I can't pay my taxes without my card, which I forgot at home.  If I leave it until tomorrow, I'm fined, so I decide to go home.  Once I get home, I try the online banking again, because for some reason the monitor on my mac works much better with the aforementioned furshlugginer gizmo.

Hey presto, it worked!  The gizmo gives me the code, which I eagerly enter.

And wouldn't you know it, the system is down.  So it's off to the bank after all, card in hand.

Most folks really hate walking around Salvador after dark, with good reason.  It's not safe.  It's not nice.  It's not leisurely or enjoyable, at least here in the center, where I live.  I go charging off to the bank, card in my pocket, to the nearest ATM to get this taken care of.  I'm quite annoyed at this point and just wishing I could relax at home behind all my locked gates and doors and such.

On my way to the bank I have to go down this certain alley that I walk down every day.  It tends to be deserted at night.  Tonight, a large dude who is quite clearly tweaking out and looking for his next hit of crack asks me if I have any change and I say no.  Not an uncommon occurrence, but this guy did seem particularly desperate.

Once in the bank, I go to make my payment.  And what the _______ - I left the _____  _______, _____ bills on my desk at the house.  I did my semi-regular routine of throwing my hands in the air and swearing in English and all that.  The agency was deserted, so I indulged myself mightily.

Okay, now I have to go back to the house and do the whole routine all over again.  Crank the annoyance level up to 11.  I stomp back to the house, get the bills, and stomp back up the hill to the bank.  Just at the end of the aforementioned alley, the same big tweaker dude rounds the corner.

He stops right in front of me.  He grabbed my shirt in both hands and balled it up in his fists.  I remember very little of what he said, except for "I'm not a thief." I think he was extremely torn between his desire to rob me and his desire not to.  He motioned to his waistband, like he might have a weapon there.  He said a lot of things, but like I said, I don't really remember.  He wanted to get high.  That much was obvious.

I do remember what I said.  "Não tenho," which means "I don't have." I said it a couple times.

Let me just mention that I really wasn't scared as such.  I was extremely annoyed, and I get in a really stupid head space when I'm annoyed like that.  Also, I really didn't think this guy wanted to hurt me, he just really, really, wanted to get high and he knew I had the money that would help him achieve that goal.

So I did something I remembered having read about somewhere about these kinds of situations, which is that the people who initiate them really don't want to get caught.  I opened my throat and I howled.

Não Tenho

I put all my frustration and fury behind it, and I'm sure there was a little divorce and financial insecurity and various regrets and embarrassments behind it.

Não Tenho

I screamed it again.  I really did it because I wanted to attract attention to the situation, which I may or may not have done.  Certainly nobody came to my rescue.

Dude coulda hit me right then.  Coulda had a weapon in his waistband and done something worse.

But he didn't.  My screaming worked.  He let go of my shirt and kept walking.

And then I opted to walk to a different bank, further away and in a shopping mall, and I watched my back very carefully until I got home.

And here I am, and my stout is almost finished, and my story is done.

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