Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dazed and Confused

Apologies to Led Zeppelin.

My local bank looks pretty much like any bank in an old western movie or in  It's A Wonderful Life. Tombstone, Dry Gulch and Cedar Rapids all had banks like this one designed by Fritz Schmaltz, architect and barber extraordinaire.It's a solid, narrow, two-story brick building.  On one side there's a empty lot which enabled the bank owner to install a night depository chute.There's wooden platform in front of the chute so short people don't have to bring a step ladder to reach the handle of the pull out drawer.  On the east side of connected to the bank is a seedy looking cement block building. The blocks are painted white. It has a homemade wooden door with hasp lock and one window.  In the window is a sign that warns the premises are protected by C. H. and R. Security..

Last year the bank owner installed two plastic/glass security windows inside for the tellers.The word on the street was that he was getting tired of being robbed.   Now, a serious thief has to stick the "gimme all yer cash" note in the window slot.  Since the bank teller can't fit a bag of money through the slot, she'd have to go to the access door in the lobby, unlock it and hand over a cloth bag of bound bills.  That's assuming the bank owner was too cheap to install bullet proof glass/plastic. There isn't enough business for two tellers to staff  two windows. If it gets busy Lissa runs from one window to the other. It opens at 10 in the morning and closes at two.  Fridays it's open from 11 until five.

When the Kwik-Stop changed over their ATM to one that charges a fee, I opened an account at the bank.  Yesterday I had to make a deposit in my checking account to be able to pay the Amish workers who finally finished the barb wire fence on our south line.  The local bank is a boon for the Amish because it's too far to drive their buggies to the big town.  The Amish patriarch says it takes two hours to get to Viroqua which is twenty minutes away by automobile.  Besides, the town council has been debating an ordinance which would require the Amish to scoop horse poop or attach a manure carry bag to the horses' rear end.  The bag spooks the horses and stopping to scoop the poop has it's drawbacks.  The Amish have threatened to take their business elsewhere.

The local bank faces the expansive central square of  town. At one end is a playground with swings, a wooden castle to climb in and around and concrete block restrooms.  The other end, closest to the main street has a gazebo and a Veterans Memorial  with a concrete bench in front of marble markers to ponder the folly of war.  Town workers have placed an assortment buck-ugly plastic Christmas figures which light up at night. The street around the square is double-wide. People angle park in front of the bank or library.  On the opposite side of the square is a motley assortment of converted store front apartments, a firehouse turned into only God knows how many units and single family houses. One house is painted bright canary  yellow after being remodeled.  A few are so nondescript that I can't recall what they look like.  I do remember the white house that used to be a butcher shop or dressmaker's store.  The constable of police who's now on suspension for philandering with the thrift shop owner and I are talking on the steps of the library.  He's telling me that the occupant of the white house with the false front is has a problem with drugs.

I angle park in front of the bank like everyone else.  I have a blank re-call petition behind my car visor.  Jorge does his banking here, too. He enjoys sharing local news and gossip with the bank teller. I leave the recall petition behind in case Jorge has already approached Lissa.  After the prerequisite complaining about my Schatzki ring and Lissa's back trouble, I ask,

"Has Jorge been by asking you to sign a recall petition for the Wisconsin governor?"  She says,

"No I haven't signed one. If I sign, it angers people on one side or the other."

Snut Farley Looking Dazed and Confused- copyright Seven Roads Gallery 2011
I guess the bank teller decided that it was easier to tick me off than one of the local nubs. Or even worse. She didn't want to let me know that she is a die-hard Republican. I take the blank petition to the library and ask the director why the assistant director didn't sign the petition.

"Oh, he's off in his own world somewhere," she says.  I take that to be a mild reproach for someone who always has a snipe and gripe about the guy.

She rambles on about the heating bill, wait for it, $47 last month for the three room single story building which she tells me, "by law we keep it at 68 degrees".  In between humming a non-descript tune she thumbs through a Newsweek which lists the top Republican and Democrats in Washington and how much they make.  I get the idea that conservative leaning Newsweek wants to make the statement that most of the Pols are fat cats.  I'm dismayed at the growing disparity of wealth. 



okjimm said...

oh the joys of small town wisconsin.... I used to joke about motto 'Forward'.... no one here goes forward without at least two weeks or so to think about it. 'Backward' might take three

Gavrillo said...

On the other foot, at least people here know what side their fence is buttered on. Or do they? Jorge reports that the octogenarians in 8:30 am whirlpool at the "club" are gonna be mighty p.o.d when they realize The Repubs have cut benefits to the marrow.

T. Roger Thomas said...

I like your description of the town, which paints a very vivid picture of the setting in my mind.

I'm also appalled and upset about the growing wealth gap in this country.

Gavrillo said...

TRT-Thanks for the positive feedback. Although I proofread, use a spell checker and double-check after I make a post, sometimes there'll be glaring errors like, which interrupts the flow. I apologize. Glad to have you back blogging 'n such after a short hiatus.

Gavrillo said...

Darn. For some reason the comment I posted to T. Rodger Thomas left out the quote right after the word like "On the east side of connected to the bank..." which I used HTML symbols to italicize the words for emphasis.