The Patience of Job

October 16, 2016 at 3:16 am (Cussed Dumbers)

"Pop rocks?"

“Pop rocks?”

There are times when my patience impresses even me.

Work has been, well, work. Lots of personnel changes, new managers, new stores. My recent floating between stores is morphing into having a home base. Until further notice, I will be spending time at the Nightclub Store, under the newly-promoted Eva Braun. Store managers don’t have a hard time bossing me around, even though I’m the one who trained them. They keep on me, but they are respectful. In return, I respect my bosses and their position. I couldn’t do what they do. Product vendors would drive me to a nearby tower with a high-powered rifle.

I have enough trouble dealing with the public. And the public is KWAAAZY!

I haven’t seen Crazy Cat Woman Carol in a while, several months. Neither has anyone else. I’m hoping she is in a home somewhere, parked in front of a TV, cussing out John Wayne and Frank Sinatra in that colorful tone, the lilting foghorn. “HAVE A NICE DAY!” God, I miss her. Cuss someone out for me, hon, wherever you are.

Now we have Carol Junior. A rope-skinny white girl, thirtyish, she is schizophrenic to the unth degree. She screams cursewords into a shoe or coffee cup like she’s Taylor Swift with Tourette’s. She will have random episodes of up and down. She will holler at imaginary friends I ‘pretend not to see,’ saying horrible things that make customer’s eyes widen with terror, until I ask if everything is okay? She snaps right back to reality, and the customers sigh in relief.

She can let a stream go, but nothing like Carol Senior. And Carol Junior doesn’t pee in front of the restaurant next door, so she gets points for that.

Carol Junior wasn’t my issue Saturday night, she was a pleasant distraction. Other whack-jobs were circling the block, using building scaffolding as shelter during the “storm of the century.” Kayo and Cheri stood nearby, waiting for Stuttering Jay to bring Kayo’s phone back. (This took three hours, and is a story in itself.) A gay teenage street kid was trying to play me for a free soda, and spent ninety minutes berating me from the sidewalk in front of the store when I said no. I would drift back and forth from register to sidewalk, trying to keep the crowds dispersed. Street scum would wander in, spend ten minutes staring at candy and looking at me. I would make firm eye contact and give them the proverbial shit-eating grin. They would walk out. “Sorry,” they would say.

We understand each other perfectly.

The night couldn’t end soon enough, and it didn’t. Giggles was ten minutes late, then took his time coming to relieve me at the register. “Just waiting on you,” he said.

“I don’t think so. I have to wait forty-five minutes just to catch my bus. I won’t get home until twenty minutes to two. So we’re not waiting on me.”

I took my day’s receipts to the office to count out, five minutes after I was due to be off. My bus was pulling out. I muttered epithets loud enough to be heard through the office door.


The Gay Teen was still in front of the store. “Man, I wish I could learn to selectively ignore people how you do.”

“It’s not an easy trick to learn.” I stared hard at him. I could sympathize with him, he seemed like a nice kid. But when scary people tell you to shut the fuck up and go away, you should go away instead of arguing. It was something Cheri said to him that got him going. I didn’t catch it, but it was hushed and dark-sounding. He immediately went across the street, and stared quietly. In disbelief, not menace. You go, girl. I bid Cheri adieu and walked hard for the bus.

I put the phone on speaker, rolled a joint of Doctor Who, and had dinner with Rain. I gummed ice cream, bitched about my day, laughed, reminisced about Sandy the dog. It was a lovely dinner, and I didn’t have to share the bed after, although I would have given almost anything for her to be there.

I’m in the middle of a sixty-hour work week. I won’t get paid for it that way, of course, but nonetheless I must be on deck, observant. I’ve been babbled into the floor by the best of them, and I still have three days to go.

Time to say a prayer. Praise cheeses. American, Monterey, Limburgher, Cheddar, Fromunda…


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