Manulife Centre, 11am

"Excuse me, you speak Cantonese?"

"Not well, but I can understand it."

(The rest is spoken in Cantonese)
"Can you come over and help me please?" He motions me towards the BMO machine in the lower concourse.

"What's up?"

His story comes out like lighting. My Cantonese is shoddy at best, but I manage to pick up the gist of what he's trying to tell me.

"I just deposited a huge cheque... a couple thousand. But now the machine won't let me withdraw a couple hundred dollars."

"So this is your bank?" I point at the BMO logo.

"Yes. I'm new [here] and I am not familiar with your bank policies. I had no idea that I had to wait a few days for my cheque to be processed before I can take money out..."


"I am hoping you can help me out."

I stare at him blankly.

"If you can withdraw $300 and lend it to me, I swear I'll write you an IOU slip. Just leave me your name, number and address and I'll send you a cheque."

"But this isn't my bank."

"You can still withdraw money. They'll just charge you $1.50. I'll add that to the amount I'll owe you."

For someone who doesn't know how our banks work, you sure caught on to the $1.50 charge pretty quickly.

"I really need the money. I have the money. I deposited a couple thousands of dollars in cheque form. I just can't get at that money today. I'll be able to withdraw in a few days."

I blink.

"I need to buy a bus ticket. My mom's in Ottawa, she's ill. I have to see her."

Well gee, now that you've mentioned the sick mother, how can I possibly say no?

I wanted to tell him to go to the actual bank and deal with it. I wanted to assure him that the bus stations accept credit cards. But I just took that as my cue to walk away -- and if I hadn't been on my way to meet a friend, I would have taken a seat at the coffeeshop around the corner, just to see if this guy's plea for help would be answered.


"We've had stellar interns. And frankly, you weren't one of them." This was disclosed to me in a phone conversation when I called one of my former supervisors to request a reference. "I had a feeling that I'd be hearing from you and I told myself I'd be prepared, but I wasn't. My position hasn't changed."

Needless to say, I did not list her as one of my references. Though I will admit that several reasons inhibited my ability to give the internship 100%, I knew that I was far from horrible as a worker. I was keener than keen at all of our events, and yet I will be remembered in the office as that "intern who put a really provocative image on her desktop wallpaper and could have offended some of our donors!" Puh-lease.

Two and a half years later, M sends me the link to this page, where A (fellow intern and Nancy Drew admirer) and the lactard appear to be happy museum-going students. Students! I suppose I should be thankful that although I am pushing 30, I am still mistaken for a young'un, face planted on a website to attract other young'uns. What does it take to get onto the YPC (25-40 year-olds) page?

This photo was taken at Family & Friends Day at the ROM in December, 2003. Permission to be misrepresented had not been granted.


how i knew you got lucky this morning...

i lifted the lid and upon the flush i was greeted by a cloud of brown

fortunately the stains were minimal