Thursday, August 21, 2008

Global Warming Strikes The Lobby

I am, as anyone who has met me can attest to, a robust figure. My suits could probably double for shelter for some third world families, and if I didn't get regular exercise from playing softball at night, I'd likely be a third world country. As such, in the height of summer, I'm likely to pit a shirt even with the AC running. Others in my branch are quite a bit thinner, and thus is laid the ground work for a battle as old as Time itself (the Magazine, not the Dimensional Concept).

On a typical day, the air is on when we get into the branch. It is usually nice and cool, allowing me to settle in comfortably and begin my day of making the world safe for dollars and cents. Then the assistant manager will come in, and the battle is joined.

"BRRR," she's say, rubbing her arms and shivering. "It's freezing!"

"Really?" I'll reply, "it's pretty comfortable in here, actually."

She'll bump up the thermostat, making the AC turn off, and then almost instantly a humid haze rises in the branch. The temperature climbs like Google stock and suddenly I feel like I am under a blow dryer set on flambe.

A few minutes later, I'll ask if anyone is hot, knowing the response I'll get (I'm not the only one who runs a bit warmer than usual). After a few of the tellers agree with me, I'll wander over to the thermostat and nudge it down until the air kicks on.

A few minutes after that, one of the tellers will make a joke about icicles forming over the drive up station, and the assistant manager will bump the AC off again.

And so it goes, as Billy Joel once sang.

The problem is this: the temperature varies from inch to inch throughout the branch. You can be freezing over by the drive up lane, and then step four feet to the left and suddenly you're sweating like Wesley Snipes at tax time. There are pockets of heat through out the branch, and the challenge is to find them. There is another Relationship Banker that feels the way I do about the heat, but she sits on the other side of the room where it's always hot. It would be nice to switch her with the assistant manager, who sits in one of the coldest spots in the branch, but then the AM would be too far away from the Manager, so it's no go.

So as such, it has been a long while since I have gone more than 10 minutes wearing my suit jacket. It's become vestigial, useless, purely ornamental, and serving no real purpose, like an appendix, a pinky toe, or Rob Schneider's last movie. A shame, too, because I look darned good in a suit. My argument is that I am required to wear a suit, so there is only so far I can go to compensate for the heat. (No one needs to see me in shorts and a tank top, trust me. I don't get to the beach, and I am so pale that people would be calling Ghostbusters if I took my shirt off.)

On the other hand, those who are cold in the air conditioning can dress a bit warmer when they get up in the morning. They can always put on a sweater (or eat a cheeseburger, for goodness sake). They are the ones who can take steps to make themselves comfortable, whereas I am one Full Monty away from getting tossed out of here. Hey, at least I am pretty much permanently excused from wearing my jacket. It's a good thing I give such excellent customer service that it compensates for my jacketlessness when dealing with mystery shoppers.

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