Saturday, March 14, 2009

Jane Sykes, Chapter Four: In Which We Learn Why Doctor McCoy Was Always So Grumpy

Jane now asks for me whenever she calls, and will only deal with me. She will hang up if anyone else attempts to assist her. I tend to be that person in the bank for all of our elderly and less than 100% mentally sound clients. I listen. I would make a great bartender if it weren’t for the fact that I can’t stand for more than ten minutes without a vicodin and I have the memory of a gold fish with anterograde amnesia. I have the ability to tune out the droning to a certain extent and let the client prattle on, injecting a timely “uh huh,” or “really,” when appropriate. Whereas other bankers tend to retreat fairly quickly, I have the stamina to let them vent for several minutes before I allow myself to be “rescued.”

So I get the freaky calls. I get the endless dissertations on the evils government from the paranoid nutbags. I get the wistful tales of better days from the old fellas who know everyone in town and have for half a century. I get the ignorant and often racist tales from the elderly folk who remember when there were separate water fountains and dammit, they liked it. And I get Jane Sykes.

Like the time she called me early one brisk spring morning to address a problem she was having with a different kind of liquidity.

RB: “Thank you for calling Fiscal United Bank, this is your Relationship Banker speaking, how can I help you?”

JS: “Dear, this is Jane Sykes. I have been a member of your bank for over thirty years. I have a problem, and you are the one I always deal with.”

RB: “Yes, of course. How can I assist you today?”

JS: “The pipes in my house are leaking all over the place!”

RB: (Stunned silence) “Oh… I’m sorry to hear that. so how can I help you?”

JS: “I need you to come over and find out what the problem is!”

RB: (More stunned silence) “Jane, I’m sorry, but I’m not a plumber.”

JS: “You can’t come over to help me?”

RB: “No, I’m sorry, but that’s not a service I offer. I’m a banker. I could try to get the number of a plumber for you, if you’d like.”

JS: “No, thank you. I’ll try someone else. Good bye.”

Dammit, Jim, I’m a banker, not a plumber!