** The next 6 days I'll be posting 500 words a day here as part of a creative writing challenge. Join the FB group. I feel like I need to warn you I started writing this at almost 4 a.m. and didn’t edit.**
The other day when I made the mortal and uninformed sin of going to a Buti™ class even though I didn’t know what it was, and also is anything in the yoga world really real anymore, anyway, I happened into children’s clothing store on the way back to the car. Happening into children’s stores is my superpower these days, albeit a fairly useless one.
I put considerable thought into the clothes I buy Jonah, which is undone by the time that it’s time to dress him for school because he has opinions. Still, I found him a cute little pair of striped overalls at this tiny store in Eagle Rock called Kumquat, like the fruit. Sometimes when I buy Jonah things, I am painfully aware of their expiration date. He could not pull off a pair of these floppy, French-looking overalls at eight. He would get punched.
The saleslady wrapped them up and I swiped my card. Declined. What? My mind raced. I had(?) plenty in my bank account but what if a hacker draining my bank account while I was grunting at yoga. Can you try it again? I sheepishly explained that it might be a security flag. I looked at my phone and I hadn’t received the text that accompanies a denial of funds. Declined again. I searched for my other cards, then remembered that I had left them in my work bag. My friend Renee stepped up to pay and we left. She is a good friend.
Once when I was at Ikea there was a woman who had been in line and came back to buy an Ikea Family card. Except that she didn’t wait in line again. She cut to the front of the line after she had already left the store. I don’t have that gene that allows you to be gracious with cosmically unfair things, so I told her not to cut like a third grader and she looked me up and down in disgust. Admittedly I looked a little rough around the edges; she carried a giant LV bag and wore lots of diamonds on her manicured fingers. Then her card was declined and I felt like karma did its job.
When I left the store I called my bank. I was transferred to the fraud protection department, where they needed to confirm some charges.
“Ms. Fiola, I’m really sorry I have to say this vendor’s name, but I need to confirm some transactions with you.”
“Sure,” I answer, totally perplexed. That a faceless associate felt too embarrassed to repeat a company’s name piqued my interest. I am repressingly prudish with my online and IRL activity.
He paused. “I’m really sorry,” he repeats.
I waited, the suspense was killing me.
“Did you attempt to make a purchase for $30.58 at a placed called, I’m sorry, ‘Kumquat?’”
“You know that’s a fruit, right?”
“You guys put a hold on my card for a store named after a fruit?”
“Well, ma’am, yes of course we do but that’s also a named used by, you know, other vendors, and we are sensitive to your protection.”
I wanted to explain that if that were even true it would probably be spelled with a “C,” but someone somewhere really thought they were doing their job. Banks will insist that freezing your account is for your protection, but if you know how banks work, then what they’re really saying is that it’s for their protection. Protection from lascivious fruit.