Wednesday, January 10, 2007

No More Cold, Quiet Marble Palaces

I went to the bank today. Not the biggest deal in the world, but it is in what used to be a funeral parlor and the person who helped me was sitting about where the Guest of Honor’s head would have been lying. Sometimes I wonder if there will ever be a time warp of some sort and, either suddenly or with ethereal slowness, we see a former two-day resident of the premises appear.

In the old days, back when I was a lot younger, this would not have surprised me. Banks looked, and sounded, a lot like cathedrals. There was a sort of audible hush that quietly echoed off the walls and ceiling. As you walked toward a teller’s window, or to a table to make out a slip, your feet made that characteristic “walking on very hard stone” sound.

Tellers were serious people, behind glass and metal bars, and all inside these hallowed walls spoke quietly. There were no decorations. You presented your deposit and your bank book; the entry was noted and the book returned to you. Then, “click click click click,” you walked toward the door, half-tempted to genuflect while passing the President’s door.

Tellers smile now; they speak with each other and pass pleasantries with customers. There are no glass partitions, no metal fences; carpets have replaced marble floors and I haven’t seen a bank book in years. I don’t know if they even exist anymore; I’ll have to ask somebody. Somebody old.

Jacob Marley, perhaps.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the bank just a few weeks ago and as I waited in line a customer in front of me passed a bank book across the counter to the teller. I did a double-take. They do still exist. Although I must admit, I live in a time-warp town and the bank in question - although carpeted and thus lacking the click-click-click you mention - still has a bit of the old-bank feel you mentioned. So perhaps they don't exist elsewhere... only here in the town that time forgot.

Love your blog.
- Carole (former King's student/WRKC staff.)

January 13, 2007 8:45 PM  

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