Monday, June 30, 2008

Jane Sykes, Chapter Two: In Which We Learn That Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolates, Which Is Itself Like A Ballistic Missle

After my initial experience with Jane Sykes, I was terrified of the woman. The blazing, crazy eyes. The warbling, shrieking voice. The giant glob of lipstick perpetually stuck to her upper lip.

Apparently, I hadn’t seen anything yet. Jane had been diagnosed with schizophrenia in her mid-twenties. As I mentioned, she is now in her seventies. She is supposed to be medicated, but she often goes off her meds. She has been asked to leave just about every bank in Blue Point. She comes into Fiscal United Bank frequently, as we have not yet asked her to mosey on along.

There is a colloquialism in banking (and, I’m sure, in every retail setting, in one form or another) that has come to be known among our tellers as “shot not.” That name is derived from the term “shotgun,” which is commonly used to claim ownership, derived itself from the practice of calling out “shotgun” in order to secure a place in the front passenger, or “shotgun,” seat. “Shot not,” is exactly what it sounds like; a declaration of negative ownership. In other words, “I’m not taking this one.” Jane Sykes has been “shot not”-ed by just about everyone in the branch, and for good reason.

Apparently, Jane once came into the bank with a problem that needed solving. My assistant manager Margaret, who was a client service rep at the time, was the one who had to resolve the problem. She did so, with quick success, and had earned Jane’s gratitude. Jane came back into the bank a few days later, carrying a box of chocolates, seeking to reward Margaret’s efforts. Margaret, terrified of the woman, had stayed in the vault room, where everyone hides when there is someone they don’t want to deal with. After a few minutes of Jane becoming more and more belligerent and insistent, Margaret stepped out of the vault room, her “business” finished. She was pelted with the box of chocolates by an irate Jane, who was infuriated by the fact that Margaret had taken so long to make an appearance.

Mrs. Gump was correct, life is like a box of chocolates; it can hit you from odd angles and hurt quite a bit if you don’t defend against it.

Since my promotion, I have seen her several times. She is no less scary. I have a thick legal pad on my desk, perfect for blocking incoming Whitman Samplers, just in case.