I like to think of myself as smarter than average. I realize that if anyone were to actually test that, it might not work out that way. Call it delusion or positive self image or just good ol' hubris, but it helps me get through the day by imagining that I'm just slightly more clever than your run of the mill hairless ape wandering the streets.

Which is why I scoffed at the line at the ATM by my house when I stopped by for a third time to find two people struggling mightily to figure out how to cash a check. This is despite the instructions clearly printed on the side of the machine. Any time you see someone on the phone waiting for customer service at an ATM, you have to concede you're going to be there awhile. I wouldn't even expect the customer service line for an ATM to actually work, to be honest. I figured it's sort of like a corporate appendix; someone long ago thought it was necessary but it stopped working long ago.

So I rolled my eyes and muttered under my breath about what a bunch of morons they were and headed back to my car determined to find a different ATM where I wouldn't be slightly inconvenienced because I'm an American god dammit.

As I reached for the door I noticed a scratch, which is a real bummer because it's pretty severe and the car is still less than a year old. I tried buffing it out with my fingernail, hoping it was actually some sort of debris. No joy. I sighed, resigned myself to the deterioration of all material possessions with my mantra, "It's just stuff," threw open the door and hopped in the car.

Except it wasn't my car.

It was the same make and model as my car. But the dashboard was all wrong. The upholstery was the wrong color. It was the wrong texture, even. For a split second I thought I was simultaneously occupying two time streams, which goes to show the lengths my brain will go to in order to protect my fragile ego's notion that I'm smart.

It's not even like it was parked right next to mine. It was on the other side of the row. I just saw a familiar shape and color and beelined for it. 

I'm not a smart man. Or at least not an attentive one. 

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