I'm not good at meeting new people. My vocal chords tense up. It feels like there is icewater where my blood should be. I start to shake a little bit. All of this causes me to get even more nervous. I try to talk but nothing comes out.
It is with this state of mind that I started my new job as a bank teller. I was really looking forward to it. I mean, it certainly wasn't the best job ever, but it had its own perks, in its own way. I could help improve my social skills for one. Talking to people all day, helping them access their accounts, surely this would require me to improve my people person skills. I intend to be a people person before I get another job, that's for sure.
I got there early enough. Not too early so as to seem over-eager, but not late so as to appear lazy or unmotivated. I am plenty motivated, trust me. I did pretty well in high school, except when it came to making new friends. Don't get me wrong, don't misunderstand, please, I had friends. Just enough. Not too few to seem anti-social and not too many so as to be over-stretched in my friendly obligations. Just the perfect amount. But I was always a little bit weird whenever my friends weren't around. I've heard that when you are in a group with a bunch of acquaintances you are supposed to be cordial and I tried this out, but it always seemed to end with me croaking like a toad and hopping away embarrassed and more than angry at myself, at my friends, and at all of my acquaintances, whether they had been present or not.
I met my new boss. She seemed very nice. We had already met, and she made a good impression on me. I hope that I made a good impression on her. I'd like to think that I did, but I can never really know for sure. She told me all the secrets of the bank, I guess you could call them that anyway. She showed me to my little bank teller area thingy. I don't really know what to call it. I'm not sure if it's a booth or just a desk or what, but she showed me to it, and I started doing my job as soon as she left.
The teller next to me was a pretty girl maybe a little younger than me, I couldn't be sure, I was always horrible at guessing people's ages. I smiled at her and introduced myself. She introduced herself as well and said she was glad to have a new face around the bank.
"Really? Why's that?" I asked, surprised that someone would actually want to see an unfamiliar face in a place of such familiarity.
"It helps liven the place up. Keep it interesting," she explained.
"Oh," I responded, rather dumbfounded. That seemed like a logical enough answer, for her, but it did not quite resonate with me and my own personality. I guess that's why 'personal' is in personality. But I couldn't fault her for being so altruistically optimistic about the prospects of a new person at her place of work. I guess if I ever really became a people person I would look forward to new coworkers too.
A couple minutes after this little exchange, a person came into the bank. My new teller friend urged me to get their attention since I was the new person and needed the experience and all that. Taking the hint, I moved out from behind my booth-desk-thing and headed straight towards the person.
"Hello, there and welcome, may I be of some assistance to you and yours?" I asked with a pretty good smile on my face. The customer, a woman, looked at me rather peculiarly then broke out in a huge smile.
"Yes, please." I proceeded to help her pull some money from her account, and I told her she had made a good choice, removing all that money.
"Carpe diem and all that," I said, trying to be as personable as I could manage. I think by the end of the transaction I might have even won her over with my suave charm. She even waved goodbye and thanked me while she was moving towards the door. I told her it was all my pleasure.
"Come back any time!" I called after her as she hit the door, and she waved back at me again without even turning around. I sighed a contented sigh when another customer came into the store, and I noticed that there was a long line of people waiting to be served. We were, I guess you could say, overrun, swamped, full of people that wanted bank related help of some sort. I was starting to get nervous. I could feel my blood becoming ice, but then, blessedly, I saw a familiar face, and I calmed down considerably.
"Everyone hold it! This is a robbery!" the voice seemed to come from nowhere, but eventually I pinpointed it. It came from a man that had just entered with a mask or something on his face so that his voice was muffled. I knew what I had to do now. I ducked down and hid behind my booth-desk. My new boss had briefed me on bank hold-up protocol, though she had said that it didn't happen too often.
I peeked around the corner and could see one of the thieves staring straight at me. I pointed over at my new teller friend, the only other bank personnel in the room at the time. Then I pointed at my new boss's office and the two men moved swiftly, the first one grabbing my new bank teller friend before she could hit the silent alarm, the other one going to my new boss's office and binding and gagging her. It was a simple procedure, one we had performed many times before, but this was the first time that I had ever interacted with a customer beforehand. It felt so exhilarating, so liberating. I think I enjoyed it almost as much as the thrill of the heist.
I got the money for my lackies, and we started to leave when all of a sudden we heard cop cars heading our way. We hurried up the process and ran out to our getaway car, but it was too late. This was a first as well. I dropped what little money I had been carrying and got down on my knees with my hands on my head before they could start shooting me. A police barricade was already forming and I could see just behind a burly policeman the customer that I had helped out putting away her cell phone. I smiled at her and saluted her, but she didn't seem to understand. I was honored to have been taken down by her, but she just walked off, almost in fear. I did not quite understand. I had not been scary such a short time ago, but now she seemed repulsed by me.
No matter. I tried to stand up gracefully after the cops cuffed me and nearly succeeded, but my foot was at such an odd angle that it could not withstand all of my body weight at once. I crumpled back down to one knee and as I stood up again I hoped that there would be many new faces in prison. I knew now that I was a people person.