Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 239

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee


Lately I’ve been living with numbers. Account balances, loan-to-value calculations. I wonder if the first person who held an abacus went to bed pushing the beads back and forth, little round sheep? Sometimes it can be hard to pick the people out of the numbers, to see the lives living behind a falling interest rate.

Currency came out of agriculture and they both drove into civilization. Banking at its most abstract is a measure of the movements between people. It ticks and tallies, adjusts the communal flow. Like a hive of yellow-jackets.

I saw an old man clean out his safety deposit box to make copies of documents before he passes. He asked to use our copier and he’s all hunched over and how could we say no? We set about copying what he wanted, and the last bit was his certification of service from the Second World War. It spelled out his battalion, his role, and vouched for his skills as a typist. It got him started in the workforce in the 1940’s and it’s been sitting in a box in our bank branch for 20 some years. His son was with him. As they left, his son held open the door. And I thought about how nothing I leave behind will be so physical, just resume blips in the internet.

Later today, I helped a customer move away from carrying cash by opening a credit card.

Society changes quickly, like insect wings.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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My head is a hive of words that won’t settle.

Virginia Woolf

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 13

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee; back to office coffee. I don’t know what it’s been with these past two weeks but I just can’t find the motivation to get up early and brew. The days are getting longer. The sun’s out early. Maybe I miss those dark winter mornings in the dining room, crunching black beans, watching the lights come on other peoples’ apartments. Anyway, the coffee was good enough. It took away my headache. It tasted like a dentist’s office.

There’s a lady who lives here who has a mouth full of crooked teeth but doesn’t try to hide her smile. I’m not saying that as a platitude. I’m not about to tell you she’s so ‘brave’ or ‘enlightened’ for letting that stigma roll off her. For all I know, she sees herself in the mirror and wants to pull them all out. For all I know, she doesn’t even see them as crooked. I’m just trying to tell you there’s this lady who smiles and it’s pretty nice when she does.

Banking as a business is about selling secrecy. You need somewhere to keep your accounts away from the house, out from under the mattress. I’ve been in banking for about a year, but I’ve been selling secrecy for several. There’s a pact between teachers and students, teachers and parents, teachers and other teachers, and before that, of course, I was working law.

So anyway, that’s all to say that I hear a lot of people’s secrets. Of course I can’t share them, but I can say that I feel fortunate to see the undersides of people. When you walk someone into an office and close a door, a different part of them comes out. You’ve cut the world like a cake slicer, left off all the icing – what’s inside? Chocolate? Lemon? Nutmeg? And even though some of their secrets are important to conduct good business, most of them are filling – anecdotes that so-and-so can tell me because I’m someone who locks their door.

So my question is this: if my neighbor were in that office with me, would she smile? And if she did, what would she tell me about her teeth?

Novel Count: 29,630

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami; FINISHED!

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And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.

Roald Dahl