Big line at the bank today. I wasn’t expecting a line because nobody goes into an actual bank anymore, but it was a Friday and I guess the Pay Day thing still applies.

That’s how banking used to be. You got paid on Friday and you spent your lunch half-hour standing in line at the bank. That’s how you could get cash money which you could exchange for beer. It didn’t get excreted from a pore on the outside wall and it sure as hell didn’t travel through space and reassemble in money molecules inside your account, from which you could withdraw it on your phone
Of course, nobody needs cash anymore. The grocery store is happy to dispense cash with your cauliflower, but mostly you don’t need it. You can pay for absolutely anything absolutely any old way that doesn’t involve cash. I don’t know what street beggars are doing now, if they don’t take cards.
I know you can take photos of your checks with your phone and shlorp them into your account from the comfort of your beanbag chair, or even at a stoplight, but I don’t know how it’s done and doubt my phone would cooperate. So I walk to the bank and hand my checks to the teller once a month or so. There’s never a time a three-mile stroll isn’t in order, and I don’t have anything else I need to do. It’s not like there’s a line.
Until today. And the line appeared to have something to do with it being Friday and more to do with the dearth of tellers and the fact that one gentleman occupied one teller for the entire time I was there (that’s a lot of mysterious banking), and the ATM outside was broken. The line was out the door because we were all spaced out, man.
The fellow in line in front of me did not recommend himself to me as an attractive font of conversation. He stabbed irritably at his phone and groused about stuff and eventually made it to the vestibule, from which he beckoned me–“They’re letting two people in the vestibule”–and so in the name of visible progress I entered the vestibule, a small enclosed space, and the man continued to stab at his phone and grouse, with his face mask stationed under his bulbous nose, and I excused myself back outside, causing a cascade of back-stepping in the outdoor line.
By the time I graduated to all-the-way-indoors and stood on my assigned painted spot, the man ahead of me, Nose-Boy, got to a teller who wanted to know how he was today, or so she said, and he growled “Well, I’ve been standing in line for forty minutes,” which was demonstrably not true unless he was there for twenty minutes before I showed up, which he was not. And he spluttered all of this with his face mask parked under his nose.
I know the tellers, who have to spend all day in that building with everybody’s dangling or aerosolized secretions, would have loved to ask him to pull up his face mask. But people get tired of having to scold other grownups. And it rarely works out. This fellow wouldn’t have taken it well. He was already put out by everything. The tellers have to make a calculation: risk severe unpleasantness accompanied by more spewing, or count on protection from the high ceilings and the Plexiglass? I didn’t even have to work there all day and I didn’t tell the man I was leaving the vestibule because his stupid nose was hanging out. I’d do the same thing as the tellers did.
Nothing. God Bless America.