GOING CASHLESS AND CLUELESS

I am not exactly a techno geek, and I am not a complete bimbo either. But there’s this uncanny experience I have every time I deal with cybertech things. Such things as Mobile phones, laptops, palm tops, TV remote controls, game pads, light switches even door knobs, and such things as elevators and automobile (unless it has no wheels) I can’t even manage the zippers on my pants. Such experiences like forgetting to press the red button to end a call unless you made the call; such things as using the phone’s backlight to search for the same phone in the dark and throwing tantrums and things, when I can’t find it. I always find the missing phone when I discover I have thrown it against the wall. such experiences as collecting the components and taking them to the phone repairer at the computer village at Ikeja who does nothing more than couple the parts to make it work again, and I had to dole out monies for that simple service.

Well, I am not exactly a moron; even if I am, I am not the type that will seat on the TV and watch the couch. I know what end of my anatomy my head is screwed unto. I am not an ass. I know what an ass is, and I am not it. But I guess such moronic acts like pointing the VHS-player remote control at the Home theater and complaining that “these chinko gadgets don’t work” is telling. You wouldn’t hesitate to label me, would you? But that won’t help, unless you leave me be. Good christian folks leave me be.

Currently, I am faced with a new kind of threat: CASHLESS SOCIETY. There are no other words or words combination in the universe that has inspired insomnia, and nightmares in me. The circumstance of a cashless society would have been different and happy for me if not for the fear of ATM, which has been my wisdom till now.

My ATM cards have minds of their own, otherwise, they are possessed. The ATM that is the joy of Banking ease, is nightmare to me. It has never worked, it doesn’t look like it is going to work for me in this new order of cashless society. My financial institution never seem to be available when I needed to withdraw cash. All I get is a ticket for trying. But I am smart enough to hand my card, together with the PIN code, to the next user to help me withdraw cash from the machine. It works all the time, till I forgot to take back my card from one good samarithan. It was just my good thinking, more than luck, that I had withdrawn everything down to NGN 0.86 that one last time. So I forego the blasted card. Good riddance.

I opened a new account with a new generation bank. I didn’t ask for a ATM card, but I had one foisted on me, my name boldly engraved in block, gold fonts on the sky blue surface of the card. My account manager handed me the card with so much inflection you would think he was doing me one mighty favour. Inside me I was screaming “chei, chei, cheiiiii! Not another one”. Now the card is never at hand when I needed it.

I always, always, always forget my ATM card at home. To arrest this development, I bought a wallet and have the card stuffed permanently in the wallet: I started forgetting my wallet at home. I resort to always keeping the card in the pocket of the dress I planned to wear: I always forget and wear another one, leaving the card back home: Weird. I did the weird thing to have my ATM card under my control. I punched a bigass hole in the middle, and tied it with a shoe laced around my neck. There was no way I was going to forget the little imp at home that time. I lost that ATM card pronto.

The ATM machine proclaimed “please insert your card” I did. It said, nicely, “please enter your sacred number: I typed 0803 (the first four digits of my mobile phone number). I pressed “proceed”, next I pressed “withdrawal” next I entered the amount I needed. Nothing happened. I tried again, nothing happend. The machine asked if I would love to perform another operation? I had started punching the buttons on the keyboard with a mind to type “give back my fucking ATM card, moron!” when I realized the keyboard had only numbers- no Q-W-E-R-T-Y. What cretins these mindless robots are? Then I pressed yes, it “said again in that same nice voice “please enter your sacred number”. This time, I used my middle finger to type the secret PIN code: 0803. Then I pressed inqury to find out what was wrong with my card. Nothing happened. I waited for something to happen. By now, the queue behind me had gotten longer, and has formed a “M”. It was just begining to form “M-O-“. I wasn’t going to stand there till the ever-lenghtening queue spell out my name. Tempers were running short. Patience was in shorter supply. Goodwill was fast running out. But my ATM card of a devil seems to have found a new home. I felt like a big fat “O”: not O for Oprah, but O as in Oaf. Standing at the head of a long coiling, twisting, name-spelling queue, a looped shoe lace hanging from my neck like a goat that has broken free of its tether. I Stood there, forlorn, in front of a dumb Automated Teller Machine, screaming unprintable vocabulations, holding up traffic, breaking out in a profusion of cold sweat. I don’t remember anything afterwards.

Now the premonitions for CASHLESS SOCIETY have transmogrified into a big fat-ass monstrous fear. I can no longer rest easy as more gadgetry has been imposed on us cyber-challenged folks: some look like scorpions, some others looked like giant spiders- ain’t scared of those critters in their God-made-nature forms, but when they transform to cyberthings, I shit my pants (metaphorically speaking)

There is one particular new gadget- a mobile-phony-looking thingy mingy. It is called PUS, POS or something like that. It has a slot where you swipe your card. I hear it don’t dispense no cash, but depletes your account balance like zip. Now, ain’t gone and like this pussy any better than the ATM. You see? it get’s worse. Cashless Society don’t work for the greatest happiness of the greatest number, unless it is just me. There is a OCCUPY CASHLESS SOCIETY COMING SOON TO LAGOS, and at the head of the long line of protesters will be yours sincerely.

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