Ghettoness at the Pay-O-Matic

This little ray of sunshine happened to me some weeks ago.

After Mom’s inheritance check cleared the five days, li’l bro and I went on a debt paying spree. One of the debts we paid was li’l bro’s hospital bill. During the $60k renovations in December li’l bro began having breathing problems. We thought it was just the cold that was going around, but when he was unable to speak or swallow I got scared. Li’l bro has had major allergy problems since childhood, it started with food allergies, namely chocolate and cheese that was giving him migraines since he was about 6 (I began having them myself at 12, but that was brought on by stress caused by my fucked-up upbringing). Since Dad didn’t feel like going back to work we lost insurance coverage in late ’91, and Mom didn’t have the emotional or mental wherewithal to do anything until the debts surfaced in ’96, she got back to work in 2001, and when I spearheaded her divorce ending in 2005.

Getting back to the present, grandma rings the doorbell and says to me in her teary ginzo drama-queen voice that bro isn’t breathing right. I said to her to get an ambulance.

“Is the doctor’s still open?”

The doctor’s office closes at 5pm where I live, and she knows that since she goes there. It was a quarter to 6.


She hesitated. “Yeah…”


Her worthless 53-year-old virgin momma’s boy son was home recovering from flu drove them. I called Mom at her ghetto-ass hospital clerk job and she went directly to Methodist after she got off. It was a tense 4 hours, but he came home with a diagnosis of a minor throat infection, slight dehydration and a bit feverish. All for $2600. On the upside, bro got his very first adult physical and all lights were green. I was floored considering that he is a mono-eater with a steady diet of frozen waffles and pancakes (with light syrup), cereal, 1% milk, chicken (wings, nuggets, and strips), french fries (with tons of ketchup), pizza, ice cream, cookies, water, PB & J (on wheat- we both despise white bread) and highly sugared juices. He’ll only eat hamburgers or hot dogs when forced (he hates red meat- surprise, surprise!) and he’ll add salad and low-fat mayo on both.

His bills came in sections considering our fucked-out heath care system demands that everybody gets paid separately and Methodist doesn’t have a billing department to boot. The first payment was $432 so as we made out the bank checks to the lawyers we withdrew $432 in cash so I could swing by the Pay-O-Matic and make out a money order to mail everything out together. We got out pretty early in order to avoid the old people rush because it was the beginning of the month and that meant social security checks. The Pay-O-Matic’s a little out of the way for us, but no matter since the one in our neighborhood closed up shop a few years back because of mortgage problems. There was one guy in the POM and he was getting his paycheck cashed so the one other cashier took care of me, and I got my money order made out A-OK.

I went to the ledge running along the opposite wall to write the damn thing out, when I hear a knocking at the rear door. The knocking is persistent, and no wonder, it’s a guy in a wheelchair with his right leg amputated at the knee. The front entrance has steps, but the back entrance can only be opened from the inside. The two clerks behind the bullet proof glass WHO AREN’T DOING ANYTHING BECAUSE THE STORE IS EMPTY confer before the older black woman tells legless man the door can only be opened from the inside. No shit Sherlock.

“I need to get inside.”

More knocking.

“What do you want me to do about it?” The younger Hispanic female clerk (closest to the door) says to her co-worker. Then I hear:

“Excuse me! Excuse me!”

I should’ve had my iPod on, Lemmy could kill background noise just as well without Bose earbuds. I turn around and play dumb.


“Could you open the door please?”

In a perfect world Mom would be paying her bills online. But without a bank account, that’s impossible. The POM in the middle-class area closer to us charges $1.25 for each bill payment. We can just afford the 99 cent fee at our usual place. If I wasn’t white the two ghetto clerks would’ve sent the man away or did their job (not to mention the right thing to do) and let the man in. But because I’m white and therefore middle-class (if I was why do I patron a POM in the ghetto?) I’m obliged to do their job. I let the man in, he was grateful.

In a perfect world I would’ve screamed at them to fuck off and do their own job. But in a month, the bills must be paid again, and I wouldn’t have been treated right from then on.

We all know the reason why.


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