Striatal cholinergic interneurons discharge rhythmically in two patterns associated with different afterhyperpolarization timescales, each dictated by a different calcium-dependent potassium current. Single spiking depends on a medium-duration afterhyperpolarization (mAHP) generated by rapid SK currents that are associated with N-type calcium channels. Periodic bursting is driven by a delayed and slowly decaying afterhyperpolarization (sAHP) current associated with L-type channels. Using calcium imaging we show that the calcium transients underlying these currents exhibit two corresponding timescales throughout the somatodendritic tree. This result is not consistent with spatial compartmentalization of calcium entering through the two calcium channels and acting on the two potassium currents, or with differences in channel gating kinetics of the calcium dependent potassium currents. Instead, we show that nonequilibrium dynamics of calcium redistribution among cytoplasmic binding sites with different calcium binding kinetics can give rise to multiple timescales within the same cytoplasmic volume. The resulting independence of mAHP and sAHP currents allows cytoplasmic calcium to control two different and incompatible firing patterns (single spiking or bursting and pausing), depending on whether calcium influx is pulsatile or sustained. During irregular firing, calcium entry at both timescales can be detected, suggesting that an interaction between the medium and slow calcium-dependent afterhyperpolarizations may underlie this firing pattern.