I’ve been getting lower than usual hours, just coming off a three-day weekend. Yesterday, a Wednesday, is a typical work day for me, and having it off left me wandering about. Since I had nothing better to do, I hopped the MAX for the first of three trips downtown…
I tell people I don’t do my job for the money, but for the entertainment. While that’s not entirely true, it’s close. I have to do something to make a living, and running a convenience store at night is a surefire passport to adventure.
The end of the month sucks on the Avenue. Everyone is on the hustle, including yours truly. I keep an eye open for bargains, and help those desperate on occasion, because what comes around goes around and you never know.
Others are more predatory. Like in nature, some predators are more fear-inspiring that others. Some have brawn and speed on their side, others have to rely on stealth and cunning to get their dinner. I got to witness a first-class example of this yesterday afternoon.
Everything is falling apart at once.
The other day in the shower as I combed my hair, the comb snapped. I went to trim my beard, the guard on the trimmer busted into pieces. I’m afraid to masturbate! (<– Hat tip to Rodney Dangerfield.)
I wish this were the extent of my turmoil, but afraid that isn't so.
What goes up, must come down, as Sir Isaac Newton discovered and Alan Parsons warbled. For every action there is a reaction, as well as the occasional consequence.
Some people have had to learn this the hard way.
“Well, I been down so goddam long, that it looks like up to me…” –The Doors, 1970.
I’ve been meaning to write an objective piece about depression, but I’ve been too bummed out.
Among others, my nephew Tony and Robin Williams have been depressed to the point of suicide. I went through that in my teens, and have been okay for about forty years. Lately though, the heaviness has returned. I’m not suicidal, in fact I’m hopeful. My depression is drug-related. With Robin and Tony, I’m not so sure.
My dalliances with opiates have led to some side-effects. “It’ll never happen to me” isn’t something I tell myself. I’m too smart to think I’m the one unique person who can use major drugs without succumbing to the consequences. But I do pay attention, and when the bad outweighs the good, I take the appropriate steps.
That’s the plan, anyway.
I remember when weekends meant the drinking started Thursday, the acid got dropped on Friday. (After work.) Saturday you drank yourself down from Friday night, and Sunday you slept all day so you could string two sentences together on Monday.
Times have changed.
It had been an honest to dog three-day weekend. The sun was out, it was almost 90 degrees as I stepped into the Waterfront Store, ready to start my work week. I said hello to Mrs Brady, who was running about like a headless chicken. Freight had just arrived. “I’ll be here until six, we’ll get it done!” Her attitude is usually sunny, and we work well together.
I said hello to Uncle Cliffy, who grunted and said, “Boss wants to talk to you before you start.” His ominous tone gave me no concern. A chat with the boss is usually just that.
I was chatting with Officer Paul of Clean and Safe outside the Upscale Mall. The sunny weather, upper 80s in mid-April, had the loonies out in full force. I wasn’t working on this fine afternoon, but a walk downtown seems like work. Everyone knows me.
Officer Paul rode off toward the river, hmm, was something afloat?
The public’s attitude of late is like things that float.
In a terlet.
Sitting amid the scaffolding adjacent to the building was a homeless kid that looked like Booger from Revenge of the Nerds. He got up as soon as I went inside, snagged the bottle and sniffed it. “Hmm!” He shrugged and took a swallow. Then another. He went back into hiding.
I went back outside, and walked over to him. “It’s just Coke and Sprite, in case you’re wondering what you’re drinking,” I said.
“Thanks for telling me. I’m actually glad it’s not beer. I’m hung over as fuck already.” His big, raggedy smile was contagious.
Then a familiar face walked past. My little sister! Through a series of coinkydinks, her first attempt at applying for a job since 1988 was a grand-slam home run. She is now working in the housekeeping section of a swanky downtown hotel, keeping hours similar to mine. I’ve been known to meet her buses at random times, and sneak her into the bowels of the Waterfront Building late at night, albeit just to use the bathroom.
Any mischief in the basement is reserved for Rain and brave co-workers.
A lot of hiring and firing has been happening at my work. I haven’t had to train yet, but I encounter new faces in odd places. One guy was my freight help on Wednesday. On Thursday I was called because he had “been arrested for jaywalking and being held in $15,000 bail.” As Master P said, “He needs to be more forthcoming on why a jaywalking ticket costs fifteen grand.”
There are two attractive female new-hires. I am behaving myself.
I am behaving myself.
It seems like I’m on holiday. Maybe it’s just scheduling quirks, or the fact that Rain has been gone and I’m finally starting to decompress. I pick up every shift offered, making the check fluffier. I was stressing, until I looked at a calendar and realized I’m two weeks ahead on my bills. (Barring death or dismemberment, and we don’t want any of that.) Gots to pace myself. Behave myself. Stay healthy.
Rain took me to the store last night, and spent $81 on stuff I need in the day-to-day. She plans like a prepper, watches the deals, and hooks me up with stuff I always need. Flonase! That shit is expensive! I have a full four-month supply ready for when my current one runs out.
Denture materials? She bought the 120-day supply of effervescent tablets, which is about nine months worth for me. Polident, not the generic stuff. Yes, Virginia, there is a difference. She looked at the Fixodent. When I told Rain, “I have enough glue” she got the giggles.
“I don’t know why I find that funny.” She dabbed at the corner of her eyes.
Three economy-sized bottles of 91% isopropyl alcohol. For bug control, bong-cleaning, and emergency flushing when the fucking cats peel out on top of my foot. Cat scratch fever, duh duh, duh.
Viva paper towels. Because some things are worth it. I don’t bitch when she demands Cottonelle toilet paper, as long as I have Viva for my jizz-rags. We live large when it comes to paper products.
Buy one, get one half-off. Hello, ibuprofen! I greet every day with 1,200 mgs of generic Advil, since 1990. I would be an old cripple without it. Thanks to my baby, I haven’t paid for pills (the legal kind) in a couple years. And I won’t have to, until at least September.
Angel got a new job. It sounds like my nephew might be working at the neighborhood Freddy’s. The weather is turning around, I feel the need for yardwork. (That feeling is enhanced by the notice from the city to clean a few things up. Oh-kay…)
But first, I have a couple of lunch shifts to cover. I’ll be missing the Cubs home-opener, but there are 150+ games to go. Maybe a matinee tomorrow? Who am I kidding? Days of the Cubs as daytime TV drama are long gone. MLB network has lots of games at random times, so I will adjust accordingly. I still dream of a Cubs-Mariners World Series.
Time to make the doughnuts…
Back before Elmo fell from grace, when a customer would complain about high cigarette prices by declaring, “Oh Jesus!”, Elmo would respond with “Your God Won’t Save You Now!” I found this hilarious, but controversial, and it’s his line, so I left it to him. Lately I’ve been tempted to resurrect it.