Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Troubled times?

Having lost my job, I started to ponder the future. A scary thought! Stress set in, as did high blood pressure, but a typical Floridian storm, where I was able to sit on the deck, kept me sane. Watching the falling rain gave me a sense of comfort, despite the ill effects of the rain creeping ever upwards on my deck. Being at 2.7 feet above sea level is worrying sometime. We had some 4 inches today. Thankfully when the tide was out! In the meantime, I think I've come to terms with being stressed out. 'Worrying about it doesn't help.' So I'm kinda relaxed. I now get panic attacks about every 10 hours, not every nano-second as before.
Every lining has a silver cloud, so I appreciate my new job. I now work for a prestigious bank. Night cleaner. I clean 5 offices an evening here in Florida. The cameras roll to check that I do the mopping up each day. I scrub the toilets clean, and I have a flair for vacuuming. The glass partitions that keep the proletariat from tellers has to be cleaned each day, as some idiot will always try to leave his/her finger-print, or worse a slobbery kiss, on it.
I started life as a bank teller back in the early 60s. The most important rule was confidentiality. There seems to be none of it today. I managed to rummage through 28 mortgage applications today. Why did I do that? Because I could. And the bank should not allow their staff to keep their files in the 'open'. I actually didn't rummage, but the point is, I could have. I'll never approach this bank for a loan or whatever. I find it amazing that some guy is about to borrow $150K for a mortgage and he earns $18K a month... a month? He's a call center manager, who has just been tranferred here from India... Now, if I was the bank... I'd fire me in a heartbeat!
I could have had copies of all deposit transactions for the day, including account numbers and names. One of the teller's safes had been left open. Not just unlocked, but left open. Mucho dinero in there. No threat from me... if I'm going to steal, it's going to be millions! Then the final insult.
At one branch, as soon as I'd turned the alarm off before entering, there was a constant 'alarm-type sound'. This was because the computer said that there was someone still in the vault. As the bank had only been closed about one hour, I knocked hard on the vault to no avail. I called the 'Cleaning Supervisor'. His advice was to do what I thought was right. I called the security company. What a farce! I had to provide the customer account number before anything could be done. I called the bank's own security department - same result. So, being a simple Welshman, I called the local constabulary. Not by dialing 911, I might add.
Four of Pinellas County's finest Crown Vics turned up. These folks were great. There was much drawing of sharp breath through clenched teeth, but they were worried (as I was) by the fact that the computer showed that there was someone in the vault. The reaction of the first one was to cuff me. After much deliberation, he conceded that he might have been 'rash'. Eventually, they managed to drag a Vice President (no less) of the bank to check things out. He was hardly of an age to shave, and accused me of all kinds of things, most of which were physically impossible. A conservative estimate put him at about 27, going on 12. He confirmed that all was well, after opening the vault. No-one occupied it.
He then climbed into his car, and one of the 4 Crown Vics stopped him. He was a) stoned, and b) over the limit. Ce la vie.
Perhaps no longer a VP of the bank, I will be 'cleaner' for a while...
Here endeth today's lesson....