Saturday night I finished working late (covering a synchronized swimming competition) and was going to go meet some friends I hadn’t seen in a while. They’d already eaten, so I figured I would grab something on the go. I went to pay for my poutine and…my debit card was refused. I was shocked, because I knew I had a reasonable amount of money in there. I went to the bank machine to check my balance and got an alert in red letters– “Account temporarily unavailable.” When I called the helpline, I was told to check with my branch.
This was on a Saturday evening, mind you. So for nearly a day and a half, I ran all sorts of scenarios through my head. Had someone defrauded me? Was I caught in some government crackdown on foreign workers? Had my entire account been blocked because one editor didn’t write my full name on a $100 cheque, or because another forgot to specify the currency? How much time and money was it going to take to resolve this, and how would I eat in the meantime?
First thing this morning I went to the bank. The first person I spoke to couldn’t find anything wrong with the account or the card, so she sent me to see the manager, the same guy who had opened my account two years earlier. He opened my file, and on top it said “Member deceased.”
The bank assistant processing my cheques had apparently had too many windows open on her computer and had checked the “deceased” box on my file by mistake. Since the bank manager recognized me and I clearly wasn’t dead (and bore no outward signs of having become a zombie) he unchecked the “deceased” box, my account was unblocked and the matter was closed. They were very apologetic.
Sunday night I was writing up an interview I had done a few days before, with a professional magician who’s also doing a doctorate in the science of light. He was very clear about the fact that he didn’t believe in psychic powers, and his magic was the result of long hours spent developing elaborately crafted, often science-inspired illusions.
“I’m not entirely closed to the idea of paranormal powers,” he told me. “If we ever discover that they do exist, it will be a great moment for science. But no one has yet proven that they exist.”
I sure hope that this bank assistant isn’t the person who provides that proof.