Thursday, March 13, 2008

Monday, Monday

For almost two weeks, I've avoided discussing today's topic. I had to give it time to fade a bit. For some time I could not even permit myself to think about it; such is the mind's capacity for emotional self-preservation.

The best thing I can say is that this is the story of how being a dilatory wretch might have saved my life.

On Monday, March 3, completely against my usual habits, I ventured out of the house in the early afternoon to visit the ATM at our closest neighborhood branch. (I very rarely use cash and therefore almost never go to an ATM.) The bank's only a couple of blocks away and is very small and friendly place. There's never a line of more than three customers. If a fourth comes in, that person is quickly helped by someone at the desk.

Before I left the house, I heard a brief unsubstantiated announcement on the local late-morning news that a bank in our little town supposedly had been robbed and that a state-police chase was underway. This was just background noise as I was sipping my coffee and reading e-mail. I didn't listen to it at all. There'd been a long string of bank robberies in towns around ours, but we are quite the exclusive little town, and our bank chain has never been the target. It was fairly surprising to hear that one of our town's banks had been hit. There aren't too many here, but I couldn't really imagine that ours was the one. Odds were slim to ludicrous. It's just too dinky, and there'd be so little payoff for the robber!

I got to the parking lot and headed toward the door. A woman customer was following right behind me. I got to the ATM just as the woman came into the vestibule and attempted to open the main door into the bank. I heard her jerk the door and discover that it was locked. She muttered an oath. I looked through the doors just as she swore, and saw some man in a fancy suit jump up behind the entry desk, come out in front of the desk and smile. (Completely wrong for this location. There's never a guy in a suit there. Never. ) My eyes opened wide, and instead of pretending everything was business as usual, I frowned at the man stupidly, obviously, and protractedly. The disgruntled woman immediately left as I was snatching the receipt from the ATM. As soon as I realized the doors were locked during regular business hours and some weird suit was manning the door, I knew that it was MY bank that had been robbed! I needed to swear an oath myself at that moment, not because of irritation about inconvenience like the woman behind me, but because, Thought #1: I realized I was at a crime scene immediately after something bad had happened!

Not wanting to call any attention to myself by running willy-nilly outta there, I turned and strolled swiftly to my conveniently close car on the shortest path possible. On the way to the car, I noticed some guy to my right at the edge of the alley next to the bank building with a tripod and a huge camera. I mean huge. I don't even know how he carried it in two hands. Thought #2: This guy is obviously not a surveyor. To my left, a white van with some kind of media logo showed up and parked across from my car. Non-surveyor guy kept moving around to get better images. I gunned my car out of there and straight to the grocery store across the street.

I sat in the grocery parking lot and watched the camera guy and van. Local media for sure. After hyperventilating for a few minutes, I calmed down and went into the market. Then I thanked my lucky stars for the fact that I am a lazy butt! Think. If I were an industrious, efficient person about completing chores and errands, I might have gone to the bank two hours earlier, when the nutcase was in there robbing it, in which case I might have become a frigging hostage or cross-fire fodder.

During the couple of days following the crime, the news came out that the suspect was 24 years old and a resident of this town (shocking--we don't have reprobates in this perfect little town! We only import them from the surrouding suburbs!). He had a warrant for arrest, was out on parole for robbing a woman at knifepoint two years ago, and had allegedly raped a woman over the weekend and stolen her car, the vehicle that was used in the bank robbery. State police said the guy did not use any weapon in the bank robbery, but after a multiple-town car chase during which he disabled the car he was driving by crashing and abandoning it in the local city, he fled on foot and threatened police with a knife. Ignoring all admonishment to release the weapon and comply with requests, he was eventually shot and died at the very-nearby hospital.

Damn, I'm so glad I'm lazy and keep a strange schedule! Being a punctual early bird could have gotten me killed.

Monday, Monday . . . can't trust that day! Monday, Monday, sometimes it just turns out that wa-a-a-a-y-y-y!

On the late-night news, the footage and photos showed up. For about a second and a half of footage, there I was in my tatty winter coat of a certain color and heavy boots, waddling from the parking space toward the bank door. I could tell it was me because of the hair. Of all the days to have my Mr. DeMille moment. Then I really wanted to swear.

Ah, well. Better that than knifed or worse!


At 3/13/2008 3:24 PM, Blogger Nance said...

Wow. "There but for the grace of God...". I think I'd have been shaken, too.

At 3/27/2008 11:01 AM, Blogger Tuesday said...

'Lo there. I've been meaning to phone you about this one and a WEEK has slipped by without my checking your mental temperature.

I knew you'd be a media STAR someday! Seriously, you must have banked up some good karma just to be that little bit late.


Post a Comment

<< Home