You know middle age is approaching when multiple people get excited about a toilet.
I introduce the Cadillac of toilets. We haven’t named it yet, but I’m thinking Pacific Princess. (It’s as big as the Love Boat!) The Nightclub Store has been getting some cosmetic surgery. MISTER Edamame is afraid he’s going to lose us as a tenant, so he’s been throwing money into the building. We have a new floor covering, linoleum that looks like hardwood and buffs up nice. There was nothing wrong with the floor! It had been replaced ten years ago, the whole floor, not just the linoleum. But if he’s buying…
How about something useful? Make the outside surveillance camera operable? (Oops, did I say that?) We have sixteen cameras inside, and he bitches about the wires, but says nothing about the busted camera that dangles from a cord from the awning outside. He had the laborers use a few zip-ties and corral the wires, painting some of them beige to match the wall.
When I heard we were getting a new toilet, I had mixed expectations. Since the previous remodel we’ve had this, this… kid’s toilet! It can’t be more than twelve inches off the floor. Our older employees take so long in there because they can’t get back up. And then there’s Art East, who is no fan. “Did an adult install that toilet? How the FUCK does anyone over four-feet tall keep from dipping their junk in the water every time they sit down?” He does a Lewis Black-worthy rant, and I wish I could do it justice. It’s hilarious.
I suppose I should keep my voice down, as these toilets fall into a gray area. See, they were made before the great “toilet-water act of 1993” or whenever economy-flush toilets became mandatory. MISTER Edamame bought a dozen or so cheap before they were pulled off the market, and saves them for times like this. In order to fix the little toilet, he would need a new piece of plumbing installed. (Costing $600.) So MISTER Edamame released his miserly grip just a bit, hooked up this huge, classic throne, and now we’re shittin’ in tall cotton!
It’s too bad Weird Steven no longer works with us. He lives/lived a block from the Nightclub Store, and it irked Grinder no end that he would come use the store bathroom instead of the community john at his hotel. (“He’s too cheap to buy toilet paper!” “He only works sixteen hours!”) Weird Steven got fired for not having a phone, and stopped coming around a couple months ago. If I offended him, I wish I know what I did, so I could do it again, before I apologize for whatever I did. His conversational blurbs were often interesting, and that whole “learn something new every day” rule of mine was easy to attain, because of his oddball factoids. Back in line in the hotel hallway, and don’t forget your TP.
It’s nice to have a comfortable bathroom for employee use. One can drop off a few friends at the poo’ without baptizing their bits, and without spending half an hour with a plunger getting rid of the evidence.
Want to use it? Fill out an application. Employees only. Spouses of employees only if the parking garage is the final option. I let Rain use the bathroom, but not if any rat co-workers are around. Giggles, notorious for his bathroom activities, has been spending 2-3 hours after work, poking around in the back. Eva finally laid down the law, “At 7:45 you get your stinky ass out of here!”
All praise the Porcelain Gods!
When people ask why I’ve worked in stores for forty years and not became a manager, I am honest. I hate working with other bosses, sales reps and delivery people. The daytime crowd is not my scene. I’ve two fond sayings; “Gimme my happy crackheads any day.”
And, “When I work alone, I prefer to be by myself.”
If I want to make enough money to pay the mortgage, every now and then I have to come out of the dark. That would mean spending the day with Grinder, Uncle Cliffy or Southie. All nice enough guys, but they don’t want me around any more that I need them around. They forget what it’s like to work with me. They assume all I do is read, doodle or flirt with the girls. (Which is true, but I do it while running the store. And the store comes first.) The managers expect me to be making busywork when not ringing people up. Let’s not be silly.
I only do that when I see Master P coming.
I was all geared up, properly medicated and ready to kick ass and take names when I got a text from Eva Braun. “We are locked up until further notice. I have a dead body to deal with. I wanted to give you a heads-up.”
Eva had twice dealt with dead bodies at work. As longtime manager of the Mothership, she witnessed two suicides off the parking structure above the store. One after the fact, where she found the body on the sidewalk. The other she just happened to look up as the person jumped. “I couldn’t watch. It fucked me up bad enough as it was.” She’s a tough cookie, but no one should have to deal with that. She said she’d quit if it happened again. As these thoughts raced through my head, she called. “Good morning, Charlie Brown! I found your crow…”
I got up this morning, prepared to take it easy. I had errands to run, and I wanted to drop in on Voorhees and Dr T. They are working day shift at the stores I usually work, so we share ideas on keeping the stores livable.
Because lately, people have been assholes. But before I could even take a shower, I see a 911 alert on my Twitter timeline. The Nightclub store had been robbed!
I’m getting by, still getting used to being alone. This has been one of the easiest breakups ever, maybe because we’ve had so much practice? I am happy for Rain, and she seems happy. I’m supportive of her, and I’m glad someone is there to take care of her. Boy howdy.
But I also have to take care of myself. It would be easy to fall into over-medication, or have a few drinks. That’s not where I’m at. But I still wanted to cut loose. Is there anything left out there, weedwise, that will give me a buzz?
I found something while stocking up on vapor cartridges. I looked at the young budtender and asked, “I have gotten high off spaghetti sauce and chili, but beef jerky? Really?”
“Oh ho ho,” he chuckled wisely. “Look at the numbers, 150 mgs…”
“Seven dollars? I’ll take three.” If they sucked, I was out $20. If good? I have a new bestest friend.
There were eight pieces. They tasted like kippered beef, I had no idea how they got the drug on there, spray? Is this what my lungs look like? (I saw an ad for Motel Hell; human jerky has been on my mind…) I nibbled about a third, fifty milligrams. Repeated later on, it was a nice, even high. I hate having pepperoni breath, and bits of meat in my remaining teeth, but the slow-creeping buzz made up for these inconveniences. I saved a dose for work. Who knows, it may save someone’s life.
Life rolls on. I have been trying to pick up as many hours at work as possible. I chat with Dizzy. I helped Dr T pay his phone bill so I have someone to text randomly. (He was cool without a phone for a week, but apparently I wasn’t. He can catch up with me after payday.)
Festus has disappeared into the country. Maybe he quit paying his cell phone bill, I dunno. He’s quit talking to me.
The other residents of the burned-out hotel will visit, or text. One of the locals called me, all excited about some pills. When I looked up the numbers, it broke his heart. Those aren’t oxys, those are furosemide. AKA water pills. Talk about pissed!
Work has its share of drama. I’m just trying to keep my head low, be useful and productive. I was given yesterday off, freight day. I usually run a till and put stock away; it takes the whole shift but I have most done by lunch. My coworker, at 11 PM last night, was still knee-deep in cardboard, no idea how he was going to get it all done.
Well, I’m not going in early today. I figure I’ll get there about the time they get yesterday’s work done.
Uncle Cliffy was giving me the eye. Did I have a giant zit in my forehead? Coke booger? “What?”
“Did you know that the average male penis is six inches long?” he asked.
Before I could affirmate, he continued, “And the average woman’s vagina is eight inches deep. That’s over 150 miles of untapped pussy in New York City alone.”
He then brought out pencil and paper, showing his work.
It’s been a slow, slow day.
It’s a beautiful day in Portland, Oregon. My health is good, attitude partly cloudy. Work has been its usual stress, nothing much to report. The Nightclub Store is quiet, with the hotel closed and the bar being remodeled after the fire. I’ve been doing weekends at the Nightclub Store, with two days at the Waterfront Store filling out the work week. Three-day weekends are great once in a while, but I’d rather be working.
I am getting some housework done.
I was going to spend some time writing today, but it’s so gorgeous outside that I MUST go for a walk. Blue Dream in a jar on the desk, calling… It’s a peppy high, tastes great. I will burn a bit of that, and ride with Sister to work.
She’s been doing better. Realizing it’s not getting better by getting drunk, she’s mellowed out. I stand by her regardless, but I’m letting her know I like her a lot better sober. It took me a long time to realize I’m a jackass when I’m drinking. The last time I drank was a few months after I’d met Rain. “Honey, you smoke all the weed you want, but I don’t like you when you drink.” Those words hung with me. I want my sister to know I will love her either way, but I think it shows that it’s more fun when she’s sober. She’s been seeing a lot of ugly behavior at my work. She finishes at 11 PM, then walks over to where I’m working, and we ride home together. During the hour or so in between, there are a lot of obnoxious drunks to keep happy. She’s getting an education.
Time to get out and smell the roses. And any other flowers that may present themselves…
I’m surprised I’m not seeing little piles of gluteus maximus all over downtown. I almost froze my ass off last night.
I texted Dr T; “If Giggles is still there, tell him I’m gonna punch him in the head if he’s late tonight. We had to sit almost two hours to catch the last and only bus. That ain’t happenin’ again.”
I was pissed.
It was a four-hour shift. I spent almost that long at the bus stop.
It was spitting snow when I left the house. By the time Southie left the West End Store, a white blanket covered the intersection. By the time I got off work, YakTrax were required, and there were no buses or MAX crossing downtown. That’s not unusual after 10 PM.
I hurried to the bus stop. The tracker wasn’t working, but the bus was due at the top and bottom of the hour. Eventually I would catch a ride. I had a nice post-work buzz going, and the landscape was pretty. I could wait a while.
And I waited. I checked Transit Tracker for MAX, there was a train scheduled to leave four blocks away in ten minutes. I’d head there, while keeping an eye out for the Hawthorne bus. I passed a familiar looking group at the Madison stop. I went to the light rail stop. I hadn’t seen a train going any direction in a while. The sign at the MAX said, “You might want to consider not using public transportation tonight.” Great. I went to a different bus stop, on 6th Avenue. There was one of the #14 buses, sitting sideways blocking the entrance to Broadway on Main Street.
I tripped back to the MAX, still no sign of train. Midnight rolled around, and little by little people started walking. At 12:35 AM, I saw a bus taking an odd turn, and I got walking. I made it to 4th and Madison just as the #14 Hawthorne pulled up. The driver waved off my fare.
He was the only bus still in service.
We conquered. He turned and made one more pass. I hope he made it, for everyone’s sake.
Now I am heading back to work, for a full shift this time. If I leave three hours early I might make it on time.
Ice storm!Snowmageddon!Close the schools! It’s the end of times!
SPOILER ALERT: I survive. In fact, I came out of it pretty good.
We haven’t had a real winter for a couple years, so Mother Nature is making up for it in spades. The past week hosted non-stop sub-freezing temperatures, and the past few days have added liberal doses of precipitation, leading to enhanced thrills and spills. Cue Paul Simon; “Slip slidin’ awaaay…”