Something about doing business in a small town. One you grew up in. Seems I went necking in 1965 with the current Vice- President of the National Bank of Middlebury. Having trouble with Flood Zoning issues after taking out a mortgage on the cottages to help daughter consolidate her credit card interest debt.

 Jim at LaBerge Insurance in Middlebury handles all my insurance needs, and when he heard that the bank challenged the apparent flood zone of my property, putting me in Zone a-e which is, well, under water- instead of what the property plan reads, Zone C- he told me I would have to obtain a Property Accessment Document or something like that. It might cost me 1,000. I put a call in to my old boyfriend at the National Bank but no word back yet.

Seems that 1/100th of my property, probably the small creek that goes down an easement to the lakefront, is zoned A-E. Who did that?  We’re not sure.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency zoning expert, Denise, is working on it. These FEMA people. They’re all under table artists. Denise is an oil painter and while she and I were pouring over maps, both on her end and my end, trying to find the 1/100th sliver of property zoned a-e that might demand I insure my property against a possible tsunami, we started talking about art, and non-bureaucratic issues in the realm of Zen.

  The juxtaposition between the diagrams, charts, maps,  and little sculpted parcels of land, whether town, state, or country, that we consider ours, really don’t belong to anyone. But someone, somewhere, decided that a sliver of my little sliver of land, is in danger of Typhoon damage. Someone, many years ago, made a mistake. A human error. They’re probably buried under another error by now.  

 I am looking at the cottages now, and they are both high up on little hills. The waterfront of Lake Champlain is now at its highest in 50 years, and I still have at least twenty feet of height.

But HEY, who cares?? We all know that it doesn’t matter. It looks like a duck, it walks like a duck, but on Big Brother’s charts, you’re a sitting duck, a sinking duck. It is a joy to know that there are one way flights to other parts of the country, like Bullhead City, Arizona, which does not demand flood insurance.  Yet.

I know there are conclave-chested little men in windowless conference rooms with computers, doing Power-Point presentations, working for flood insurance companies, offered a bonus if they can figure out how to rationalize Bullhead City, Arizona flood insurance premiums.

 I need to thank Jim at Laberge Insurance Company for all of his help on this matter, and his sense of humor. National Bank of Middlebury? Still waiting for that ex-boyfriend call, but I have now made a new artist friend, Denise at FEMA, who, along with Elliot Garcia, also at FEMA, make me feel like the comedy provided on this life cruise makes it all worthwhile. 

We all need protection from the little men. They’re everywhere.


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