Monday, November 03, 2008

470 Where'd The Cities Go?

#470 Where'd the Cities Go?

Connie Fuentes is sitting behind her "Assistant Manager" name plate at her desk at the Last Big Bank on North Clybourn Avenue right near the river and one of the Presidential Expressways. in Chicago. Connie came up from from Lima, Peru, maybe 35 years ago. People think she's Mexican, but she doesn't mind. Mexico has big cities, too. Bigger than Lima. It's a Sunday morning. "Can you believe this," she asks, "a bank that's open Sundays? Look around you, what do you see?"

You see nothing. The bank is open, but beside one lonely teller, whose name also is Fuentes but is not related to Connie, there's no one in the bank. No one in Chicago goes to the bank on Sundays. There are no customers. But she's an officer, and the rules say an officer has to be on hand whenever the place is open.

So she's got the Trib in front of her and she's saying "This paper never picks Democrats, but they picked Obama. Me, too. I picked Obama. Tuesday is my day off and I'm going to the voting place and taking along a book or maybe a couple of puzzles." Like many people whose first language is not English, Connie takes pride in her skill with crossword puzzles enIngles.

"You know," she says, "the guy is sort of from here, Chicago, and you'd never know there was such a place if you look at his campaign stuff. Same with the other guy. I like the other guy, too. He was born in Latin America. That's not supposed let him run, but there was some law down there a million years ago that makes all those guys 'natural born Americans.'

"But the guy from Chicago? You never see Chicago in his ads. That TV show the other night? It was all out in the country. Same with McCain. Something happen to New York and Los Angeles, maybe they disappeared some time back and no one mentioned it? If I weren't right here, I would have thought Chicago disappeared, too. Maybe it did, and all these streets are just an illusion."

Her visitor notes that perhaps both campaigns either figure they have the cities locked up in their camp or can't make any inroads here so they don't bother.

"Nah, they want the farm vote," she says. "They want the guys in trucks and with AK47s in their kitchens. They forget us, here. You're from New York, what do people there think."

Can't claim much knowledge there. Maybe they're used to being ignored or taken for granted.

The visitor asks "Hey, Consuela, you got change of a five?"

She goes digging through her purse.

"No, I mean behind the counter. Might as well do SOME business."






Shrapnel:

--We had a time change yesterday. It was a little later than usual. But it remains fraught with the usual confusion and forgetfulness, searching for clocks you see every day and forget are there until you need them and then notice they're still on daylight time.

--Time is on every one's mind these days. Like the credit card companies that have shortened your grace period without telling you plainly. Gets you into that upper interest bracket late-payers have faced, and much faster than it used to.

--Time is on everyone else's mind, too. Like the companies that print coupons. Some of them expire so quickly now that they're out of date before they're printed.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.(sm)
(C)WJR 2008

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