It wasn’t much of a lake house; hell, it wasn’t much of a lake, but it was hers, and she loved it. And after a long day at the bank, she couldn’t wait to get back there. Up the bypass, down Levee road, just a few turns on smaller roads until you hit gravel, and before you knew it, the cluster of cabins around a lake. It was private, quiet, and worth every minute of the 30 minute commute. She used to hate the commute in Lexington, mainly because the city had outgrown its ridiculous spoked wheel of a road system, and thought it was ridiculous that it took 30 minutes to get home in a city that size. 30 minutes over hills didn’t bother her, even if she had to go deep into snake-handler territory.
And today had been a day. The bank had finally–FINALLY–gotten an ATM machine this month, which she had thought would be well-received. She hadn’t counted on the army of confused retirees who showed up, angry, confused, or both. She hadn’t counted on a smaller, but just as confused, army of tellers, most of whom were pretty close to retirement age themselves. She’d forgotten how that could go.
She’d worked at the bank in high school and during college vacations, and had enjoyed it, and it was good enough on her resume that that and a Summa Cum Laude Business Degree from UK had landed her a job at a Big Bank in Lexington, which led to a promotion that took her to Chicago. She loved being the small town kid climbing the ladder.
Then her dad had the heart attack, and she was able to call in a couple of favors and ended up as a 34 year old female VP at Hometown Bank, which was a pretty big deal. Vice President for Strategy and Advancement–which meant that it was she that was in charge of making the first ATMs east of Lexington and two new locations in the county happen. It also meant that some tellers would smile at her, thinking about what their daughters and granddaughters could be, while others would frown at her, thinking about what they could never be. And it meant that she had to deal directly with the retirees who didn’t understand why you couldn’t just show a teller an ATM card along with a withdrawal slip (it usually ended up being a pretty sweet conversation dotted with lots of “honey”s and “sweetie”s). AND it meant that she had to deal with the teller who wanted to talk to her about ATM cards, microchips, mind control, and the number of the beast (Not as sweet a conversation).
But not a bad trade-off when you took the scale of it all into consideration: Vice President, a Lake House, enough to save and spend, Season UK Basketball Tickets, and the flexibility to spend time with her dad and help mom out. A pretty good life, all in all.
She was low on gas so she turned into High-Pass to fill up. Gas had gone up. 92 cents a gallon. Better than the Gulf War years, but still. And this was the cheapest place. When she pulled up to the pump, she noticed three teenagers, or two teenagers and a little kid, talking. The two older-looking ones jumped back into their car and quickly pulled out. Didn’t look like they bought anything. The little one stared after them. She went in to write a check for her gas, and when she returned, he was still in the same place, but he was staring into the sun.
“Hi,” she said, a little more cautiously than she expected.
“Hello,” his voice perfectly even.
“What are you looking at?”
She laughed, “That’s cute.”
He didn’t say a thing.
The tricky thing about writing a scene that occurs 20 years ago or so is getting the details right–but not obnoxiously so. I think gas was around 90 cents or so in the mid-late 90s; I do have a memory of it being around 60-70 cents a gallon in LA while on a road trip in 1998. And I do remember going to college and getting an ATM (or “MAC”) card that I couldn’t use in my hometown. Anyway, if this emerges as something more than a blog, I’ll have to research some details.