Friday, 30 January 2009

Soothing Simplicity

I had occasion yesterday to access my safety deposit box. In our fast-paced world of high technology, there is a soothing simplicity to participating in this ritual that has probably changed little, if at all, from Victorian times. While the bank vault's time-lock security doors are, I'm sure, as high-tech as possible, the rest of the access ritual is amazingly low-tech. Where else these days are hand-signed and hand-stamped file cards an integral part of accessing important information or material? In the rest of our world, file cards and their little cabinets are being pitched in the dumpster in favour of computers. Then there is the solemn production of the long, silver duplicate keys -- one by the bank clerk, one by me -- and their sequential use to open (and later close) the little individually-numbered door. No computers, no lasers, no fingerprints, no retina scan. Just file cards and weird-looking keys.

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