“AUTOMATIC TELLER MOMMY” sa Salad Talk ni Maria Teresa Cancio
The other week, I had a friend call on me whom I hadn’t seen for so long. We had coffee and caught up with each other on many things, and during the course of our conversation, the topic shifted to ATM machines. (Actually, shouldn’t that be AT Machines? Pardon the grammar OC-ness; I don’t want to use the phrase “grammar-nazi” because we already have many authoritarians around us.) We compared notes on how easy it is now to access cash without frantically looking for the nearest bank branch, not to mention trying to master gridlock and road rouge just to get throughout the traffic nightmare that has become Metro Manila’s signature, to refill your wallet with much needed moolah.
While at lunch, we watched as a mother approached the ATMachine beside the restaurant where we were dining. The mother had a baby in a stroller and another child helped her push the stroller. As she inserted her ATM card into the machine, the older child waited and when the mother received the cash dispensed by the machine, he began jumping up and down, saying, “Yay Mama! So we can buy my Star Wars toy now?”
“Yes,” said the mother. “And can we buy Missy’s toy also?” “Yes,” the mother replied patiently. The little boy fell silent for a while, then asked his mom, “Mama, so if we need anything, the machine can give us anything if you put your card in it? Or we get only cash?” The mother smiled at her son and said nothing, and they pushed the stroller away towards the direction of the toy shop in the mall.
My friend (let’s call my friend Adi) and I remarked on the child’s query of his mother, that ATMs can give anything one wished.
“Hay nako, you think it’s just kids who think that way?!” sighed Adi. “My son who’s working at a bank has a barkada whose boyfriend is such a leech! He borrowed money twice from her with many promises to pay her back but so far not a peso has come back to her.”
“What did he need the money for?” I asked. “And how long has it been since the loan was received?”
“Oh, P30,000 borrowed 6 months back,” said Adi. “My son and his officemates told the girl she should charge interest! But when love gets in the way, alam mo na, Tess.
“And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the boyfriend rested for just a while from his requests for money; then last week, after weeks of hiatus from making her kulit about money, he deals her a whopper by calling to tell her he desperately needed P70,000 for his mom who’s in the hospital with stage 3 cancer?”
“Doesn’t boyfriend’s family help him out with his needs?” I asked.
“Oh, they have the means to help him all right,” said Adi, ” but they gave up doing this because the last time they lent him P100,000 to ‘get him out of the hospital because he’d been in an accident,’ it turned out he was rushing to make full payment on a trip with his high school batch mates to Tokyo for a golf tournament! I mean, Tokyo!! Golf!! Talk about big-time spending!!”
We decided to rest our case on that point. The female barkada of Adi’s son has already been inducted into the ranks of Automatic Teller Mommies of the world, even before she’d borne her own children. Of course, she’s lucky she’s still not permanently attached to this leech of a boyfriend so she has many options open to her to effectively pull away from him:
1. Sue to collect and therefore kill their romance
2. Break up with him and still sue him
3. Migrate somewhere far from him if he has a penchant for becoming violent when crossed.
We both reflected on the way our kids asked for things through the years and how we handled their requests (or demands). We both agreed that when necessary kids have to be told that their requests/demands cannot be granted when money is tight. And if the issues are properly explained to them, children will understand. Maybe not always but they WILL comprehend and at least they won’t add to the ranks of Automatic Teller Mommies being abused by parasite partners, husbands, or wives.
P. S. I gave up my ATM card a long time ago. I prefer cashing checks.
Si Maria Teresa Cancio ay host ng programang ‘Everyday Goodwill’ sa Radyo Inquirer 990 AM. Ang ‘Everyday Goodwill’ ay mapapanood at mapapakinggan sa Radyo Inquirer 990 AM at Inquirer 990 TV tuwing Martes, 1PM-2PM.
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