The State of Our Economy

I pulled into the drive-thru lane at Bank of America last week, two kids strapped to car seats in the back of our Subaru.

“I’d like to deposit a check, and could we have three lollipops, please?”

The teller leaned toward the microphone, her voice tinny. “We don’t have those anymore.”

Within a heartbeat, I felt the first edge of panic, the first hint of bile. “Do you mean here or every Bank of America?” I asked.

“All of them,” she said.

I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t ask why. I snapped: “Well, you’ve made a lot of moms’ lives a lot harder.”

Really, I didn’t mean to be so testy. But hauling two small children on errands is like trying to pick berries while herding feral puppies.

At least one job, the drive-thru bank lane—with its no-fail bribe of flat, round, yellow, green, red, or purple translucent lollipops—provided one destination with a payoff (for me, too).

Grumbling and trying to turn my bad attitude into a life lesson for my kids, I said: “See guys, things don’t always turn out the way we want . . . “

Meanwhile, I drove over to Charles Schwab to try to open an IRA. Doing my part for the economy, even though retirement is a few thousand soccer games away. The office was open, but nearly empty. No receptionist. One patient advisor juggling the few customer walk-ins.

A Bloomberg News Channel was broadcasting: “The market tipped up a bit today,” the commentator said. “Is it a sign of good things to come?”

Then, as I sat down to fill out complicated forms with antsy children at my elbows, I noticed one true sign of hope:

A great big bowl of candy.

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