I first posted this on Jan. 11, 2007. It is one of my all time favorites because the vitriol and contempt I felt for these people was so genuine. I rarely get this worked up about anything.
I hate the people at the table by the ATM. I have never been one of the people at the table by the ATM, but that is not why I hate them. I choose not to be one of the people at the table by the ATM. The people at the table by the ATM have a choice and for some inexplicable reason they choose to sit at the table by the ATM. I believe that the people at the table by the ATM are inconsiderate, ill-mannered, and quite possibly mentally defective. The possibility that they perhaps sustained a traumatic brain injury which significantly impairs their ability to use logic and reason is the only thing that keeps me from lashing out violently at the people at the table by the ATM. If, however, I ever discover that the people at the table by the ATM are of sound mind, then all bets are off.
What is wrong with sitting at the table by the ATM you ask? I’ll tell you: personal space. The table by the ATM does not allow for the standard three feet separation that is an accepted rule the world over. The table by the ATM is far too close to the ATM. It is wedged into a small space between the stairs and a hallway entrance. The people at the table by the ATM are either directly under your left elbow as you use the machine, allowing you to breath down the back of their neck and/or onto their food, or if they at least choose the opposite side of the table they are staring directly at the screen and keypad as you punch your code in. I generally am uncomfortable sitting this close to strangers unless our plane has gone down in the Andes Mountains and we’re huddling together to survive. Eventually I would eat these strangers if I had to, so being close to your food isn’t a bad idea in that situation. I don’t want them get away.
I don’t want to eat the people at the table by the ATM. Why would I? I just got $10 out and there’s a cart serving mini-pizzas about 20 feet away. I have never sat at the table by the ATM, but I do use the ATM in question quite frequently because it is the only one in my building. The ATM is located in an open area that includes a cart that sells coffee, bagels, sandwiches, and mini-pizzas. There are also many tables spread throughout the open atrium area. You would think that due to its location the table by the ATM would be the last one to be used. If you think that, you would be egregiously wrong. As if it is a magnet for the socially challenged, the table by the ATM seems to attract people. Often people with very questionable hygienic skills. As I approach the ATM, observing the multitude of empty tables nearby, there are always people at the table by the ATM. It takes all of my considerable personal willpower to resist screaming, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!!? WHY DO YOU WANT TO SIT SO FREAKING CLOSE TO THE ATM WHEN YOU’RE NOT EVEN USING IT?!!?” In my mind I imagine myself overturning their table as I scream this.
One day if I arrive at the ATM and there is no one at all at the table by the ATM and no one else is in the atrium area I will move the table by the ATM. That’s just how I roll. If you were curious, I used the phrase “table by the ATM” 18 times.
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