When I decided that I needed a second job to sustain a life away from home, I went to Bank of America to become a bank teller. I thought maybe I would be able to get a job at the BofA on Melrose Ave. but the choice wasn't mine. I ended up working at a BofA off of Vermont Ave in a crowded and occasionally less desirable section of Hollywood. It was one of those areas that bordered the more upper class residents of the Los Feliz area and the bad areas around Hollywood.
When I walked into the bank on my first day of work I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into. There was a fairly large waiting area with couches and desks and then approximately ten teller spots covered by bullet proof glass. I tried to ignore the fact that I felt like I should be packing a gun just to go in to work every day and took my place with the rest of the tellers behind the window.
It didn't take long for the tellers to share all of their horror stories, like foiled robberies, and hold ups at the ATM. But I stayed strong and just ignored it all. I needed money and I wanted to be able to include BofA on my resume, so I forged on. I didn't even get through the first month on the job before I witnessed fights in the lobby and people stealing from other people, it was chaotic. On more than one occasion, the teller line got so long that the managers would bring out signs that showed one hour wait from this point on. If the tellers weren't helping twenty-five customers an hour then we were getting pulled aside by the manager. After awhile the shock of it all wore off and it became just another job to me.
I eventually quit BofA to move up to Ventura for a short time between 1998 and 1999. The first thing I did was apply for a job as a bank teller. I ended up getting hired on at Bank of Ventura. Ventura is relatively small and suburbian compared with Hollywood so I figured I shouldn't have any problems working in a small town bank. I walked into the bank for my first day on the job and looked around. It was so quaint and peaceful. There were only five or six teller stations and absolutely no bullet proof glass anywhere. That's when something strange and twisting happened inside my mind. I panicked. I suddenly became afraid. My experiences in Hollywood had warped my perspective about what normal meant that I started questioning the manager.
I literally asked her, "How can you ensure my saftey without any bullet proof glass?"
You can probably imagine the look on her face. She didn't know what to say. I think she was trying to figure out if I was serious, and I was.
The manager finally said, "We don't have any use for bullet proof glass in this area."
I was so skeptical about whether or not I could be safe in a bank that had no bullet proof glass, an out of shape security guard who looked bored, and no organization for potential lines that might form for the tellers, that I quit my job. My reasoning was based on my concerns for safety. I wasn't right in the head anymore. I ended up getting a better job at a magazine publishing company.
Not only had my view changed of what was right and what was normal, I had also become afraid of spiders. I was getting ready for work one morning and noticed a spider in the window sill. I was too afraid to kill it so I just kept my eye on it. When I got home from work the spider was still there, so I kept my eye on it some more. I did this for a couple of days before I finally asked my boyfriend to kill it, but when he got to it, it was already dead. I snapped out of my fear, and started feeling bad for the spider. I wasn't sure how long it had been sitting there waiting for the the window to open up before it died so I wrote about this spider:
EIGHT LEGS TOO FAR AWAY
Stuck in a box where the big people roam.
Build me a web for my prey to roam.
I will get me my prey today or tomorrow.
When those little bugs come out to play, to roam, outside alone,
they will snag in my web and provide food for my home.
And I will wait while I dodge the hand of the people
who kill for the fun and the fright of the fear
of the eight legg-ed unknown.
And I will wait while I wonder how may I have got here
from the out of the side
away from all that I have known.
Hunger sets in to distract my lonely
of the sadness, the fear
that I'm far from the prey that is the reason
for this forever long stay.
I have survived the reign of the mighty while big hand;
but my stay has grown long
and I remembered today how I got in this Hell
where my carcass doth lay.
I stopped trying to be normal and eventually accepted who I was and then all the fears dissolved.