Thursday, July 25, 2013

Back at it

It's been some time since I've written. My mom died in February, and I haven't had the gumption to write much, other than a couple of feature stories for the paper and the occasional pithy email to a friend. Tonight, sitting in my favorite burger joint with a pile of fries in front of me, I dunk them into a deep pool of ketchup mixed with a hot sauce. That's how Mom liked 'em. My burger? The Spicy Hawaiian, a nod to my 808 connections. It's a brilliant combination of peppers and pineapple, a favorite on the Power Stop menu. I'm sure she'd have loved it, too. There's a bubbly beer with a lime in it. That's not a homage to anything. I just like beer.

These past months, I've done little but work, search and apply for jobs. Two rejection letters have landed in my email this week. Search-and-apply has become a futile obsession. It's time for a break, at least until I hear back from all those applications still floating around out there. I am a writer, after all. Writers write, and so it is that I resurrect the blog.

Where I work, initials rule. We scratch them on tickets and sheets of paper, line after line. I was here. These are my initials. Everywhere. Everyday.
"Who's TD?" My scrutinizing associate asked a few weeks ago.  I looked at the letters with her. Cool and flashy, my initials did, in fact, looked more like TD than TT.
This week, I made a modification to the moniker, to change it up a bit, retain the flair, but with bit more clarity.
What do you think?" I asked.
"It's pretty," said one colleague. "But I like the original. Who cares if it looks like TD. We know your symbol."
"You're like Prince," said the other.
"I'm the teller formerly known as Toni," I said.
"OMG, you are cracking me up today," she said.

Why is comic relief never listed as a job requirement?

This afternoon, I gave a young woman cash back on her deposit. Fifty bucks. Two twenties and a ten. She lingered at my window, fumbled through the bills, staring at them with the focus of a border collie on a flock of sheep.
"Everything OK?" I asked.
"I have to have all the bills in serial number order in my wallet," she said. "I'm somewhat OCD that way."
She shrugged and walked away. I waited 'til she cleared the door, turned to my co-worker, raised my eyebrows. Her eyebrows raised back. In stereo, we blurted, "Somewhat?"

And now, a shameless lapse into present tense.

Quarter to five. A woman walks in. I know the instant the door swings shut that she's from Crested Butte. She has three bags of coins. We've already balanced our vault and shut down the machine. My co-worker explains this, her tact and politeness a customer service work of art.  She presents the most reasonable of options. "How 'bout if we lock this away in our vault for the evening, then deposit it into your account first thing in the morning?" It's such a great idea, proposed with such confidence and logic, it makes no sense not to. I'm sure the woman will agree.
"I'm leaving on a trip first thing in the morning," says Ms. Moneypenny (not her real name), sliding the heavy canvas totes across my counter. I smile and grab a bags. "We'll start with this one. It'll take a couple of trips."
"Can I help?" she asks. "Oh, I guess I can't come back there."
"Nope." I say. My colleague senses the figurative stench of an irked vibe oozing from my pores, head to toe, like too much curry and garlic. My co-worker is frustrated too, yet she is far more composed than I feel. We all want to go home, weary of our long day, our long week, our boring job. It's one thing to duck in for a quick, late transaction five minutes before closing. If you make it in before the doors close, you've made it. It's your turn. Welcome. If you've rushed in with your coin container and it's all the money you have and you need it to pay rent TONIGHT or be evicted, or to buy groceries 'cause it's all you've got 'til payday, that's OK too. Happy to help. It's quite another thing to heft in three bags of coins, mostly pennies, nickels and dimes, that were three bags pennies, nickels and dimes yesterday, and this morning. They will be tomorrow, too, and next week when you return from your trip, too. I schlep them into the vault, where the machine sits idle. Irritation notwithstanding, it's my favorite piece of equipment in the whole place, a mechanical marvel. Another co-workers brings in the remaining bags. I flip the switch, pour in the booty, push the button. A riot of coins clatters and whirs, filling and clearing my head.

Chill, calm, attitude adjusted, I emerge from the vault. It is then that I learn the woman's car has broken down. She has to pay the mechanic. A ripple of sympathy hits, followed by sharp twinges of guilt for my own misguided judgement and internal pissiness. Her account comes up on my computer as a matter of protocol. I feel bad for her, poor woman, car in the shop, road trip planned for first thing in the morning. I glanced at the screen.

She has enough in there to buy a new Lexus for cash.

Privy to people's accounts. It's a necessary part of the job, but one I dislike most. "Too much information" my colleague often laments. It's uncomfortable, having seen inside our neighbors' bank accounts. In a small community like this, we're all neighbors.

To be clear, I love Crested Butte, our sister hamlet up the road, and have great affection for many good people I know who live there. It's long been the kind of place where you could belly up to any bar and not know if the guy sitting next to you was a dishwasher with three jobs or a millionaire. And if you did know, it didn't matter. In recent years, however, a new breed of wealthy and entitled have "discovered" CB. They've swooped in to snap up their piece of paradise, but rather than blending in, they prefer standing out, and expect to be treated accordingly. It's a bummer of a change.

One more day in the salt mines, then--- The weekend!