Didn’t Your Mother Tell You It’s Rude To Stare?

I know people like to stare at blind people, especially when those blind people have guide dogs. To all the people who stare, I may not see you, but sometimes others do and point it out. I’m not unaware of the staring phenomenon. If you’re curious, I’d much rather you come up and talk to me than gawk as if I’m some kind of circus freak.

But there are a few places where you just shouldn’t stare, and one of them is when I’m standing at a bank machine. If you stand real close to me and stare there, then you look like you’re after my PIN number and bank staff will get suspicious.

That’s what happened last night. I went in to get some money. Since the bank machines at TD talk, I slapped on a set of headphones. Now, I know that’s gotta look weird, me hooking something up to a bank machine, and every time I do it, part of me wonders if people think I’m messing with the machine somehow. You never know what goofy ideas people will get.

So anyway, add to the weirdness that as soon as a person plugs in headphones, the option is there to blank out the screen because the machine is talking to the person at the other end of the headphones. As soon as I know the voice is working, I do blank out the screen. Why have stuff on the screen that I can’t read and others can? that would just be dumb.

I did all my banking, and I was just about to leave, when I heard two people approaching me really quickly from the inside of the bank, one of them saying over and over “I thought I should do the right thing, I just thought I should do the right thing…” the bank teller said “Excuse me, but there was a gentleman standing kind of close behind you, and this woman thought maybe he was trying to get your pin number. Just make sure you have your card.” I checked and it was there, but I was freaked out. I asked if the guy was still out there, and the teller said “no, he drove away.” I don’t know what the teller would have done if he was still there and meant to take my card. She seemed really small. But who knows. maybe she packs a mean punch. Then I asked a dumb question, but I figure I should. I asked if anything was wrong with the machine I chose to use, like any weird tampering with it, and maybe there was a sign posted on it that I wouldn’t have noticed. She said no. I know that’s a dumb question, but I figured I’d better find out whether I should go inside the bank and cancel my card or not.

Then the teller apologized and kept saying “I just thought I should tell you.” Well yeah, totally. I appreciate being told, but I’m still going to get a wee bit freaked. Wouldn’t most people be concerned if they were just told that someone was standing behind them potentially trying to get their PIN? Add to that the fact that I wouldn’t know what he looked like, and I wouldn’t know if he was waiting somewhere to get the card. then the freak potential gets a wee touch higher.

I walked home having a war with myself. Part of me wondered if he was really after my PIN, and maybe he was going to appear somewhere. I was thankful I only lived 2 blocks away. Another part of me just said he probably thought it was infinitely fascinating watching me stand there punching buttons, hooked up to headphones in front of a blank screen with a dog to boot. Maybe he was just drooling over the dog. Nothing happened, so I think it was the latter.

People, can we respect folks’ privacy? Would you like it if you were being stared at while you were at a bank machine? I would like it if people could stop with the staring altogether and talk to us like normal folk, but I think that would only happen in a perfect world. But I guess I can dream.

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