It’s already my Tuesday, but it feels more like a Monday than ever.My days off have been falling in the Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday range of late, which makes for a brutal work week. Mine starts off with the after-work drinking crowd and devolves into weekend mayhem. The real Monday is often a quiet end to the madness.
I load up my bag with the things that get me through the night, and awaaay we go…
In fact, it’s so common that I would have a hard time selecting a simple Asshole of the Day most of the time. You get used to it. I tell people I have scabs on my soul from working at Master P’s, but it could be any store. You’re dealing with the public.
Most people are wonderful. They say please and thank you. If they burp or fart they do so quietly. They don’t steal or panhandle. Their biggest transgressions usually involve swiping their credit card too soon.
In between the tweakers, thieves and scumbags, and the snobby rich elite, we have the uber-entitled. College kids are notorious for this. Mom and dad never said no, so when I say no they don’t always know how to act..
It was my buddy from back east on the line. It was morning for me, cocktail hour for him.
“I don’t know how you do it, Charles. During a fall from grace in the ’80s I was a night manager at a store with numbers in its name. It was all pressure all the time, and I remember snapping on this guy who made a mess at the hot dog stand. I yelled at him, and he rubbed the hot dog in my face! I know the definition of temporary insanity, and that was as close as I hope I ever come. I was aiming at his head with a Perrier bottle, but hit him in the ankle bone and shattered it!”
“I wish! Just the Perrier bottle. The cops were right outside, they came in and arrested him. Assault with a Big Bite. They probably could have arrested me too, but they were cool. I told the owner the next day that I had to move on.”
It’s my Monday. It’s Brewer’s Festival. Pray for me.
Mrs Brady had her backpack on and was heading for the door when she stopped and said, “Oh shoot, I forgot to take out the garbage. I had better…”
“Don’t bother. Seriously, I won’t fill up a can the whole day.” There are chores we are expected to do every shift, but if the chore isn’t pressing, and the person coming on says ‘Don’t worry about it’ we usually don’t worry about it. Mrs Brady, however, has a way of turning molehills into mountains.
“It’s my job. Are you telling me not to do the trash? I don’t want anyone saying that I don’t do my job.”
“Jesus, nobody’s saying that, about you anyway. It’s no big deal either way, it’s just that those trash bags cost a buck-fifty each, and I can save five or six bags a day doing it my way. I have a system.” I attempted a a reassuring smile, but that probably looked worse.
“Is this about losing lottery tickets?” I’d told her about a stash of losing lottery tickets we kept in back for tax write-off purposes. She was convinced we had some nefarious scheme afloat, otherwise why would I be so protective of the garbage? Hell, I don’t even know. I have about three things I actually enjoy doing during my night, and she fucking does them all at 2 in the afternoon.
“It’s just that I have a system and a time and a way of doing things. If you do trash now it looks like I haven’t done my job later.” She wasn’t the only one who needs a job. My eye rolls had to have been audible.
“Well, I’m going to do trash now,. You can always do it at your regular time.”
“Whatever.” I went outside, wanting a cigarette ever so badly.
I got busy, and she left without saying goodbye. I took a deep breath and chose to put the whole stupid situation out of my mind.
At that moment my phone buzzed, a text message from Mrs Brady. “If you want to help Dr T cheat on his taxes, there’s some lottery tickets in the office garbage I forgot to tear up. You can have those.”
It’s a good thing she was blocks away. I would have punched her. I texted back, “I don’t dig through the garbage for him or anybody, but I do keep the wet and dry garbage separate IN CASE I HAVE TO. Please forget I ever mentioned garbage.” If I didn’t love my phone so much I would have hurled it into the ocean.
From downtown Portland. …
I need a distraction. It’s getting to that point of the summer when the Travellers remaining are aggressive and obnoxious. Funds for summer programs are used up, school is out, and all the festivals that bring the money downtown are done until November. It’s just you and me, kid. And you want to fight?
Will I get the lucky red bank bag? We had a red bank bag years ago, and I obsessed over it. The new one appeared a week ago, and I was its first user. I haven’t seen it since. It’s something to look forward to. God, I need something to look forward to. I’m working alone today, or so I assume. Uncle Cliffy has a helper, a dude with a comfort dog. I hope he’s done by the time I get there. The dog is afraid of me.
But it does give me an opening to tell one of my favorite cruel jokes: What does a dog with a hare-lip say? “Mark! Mark!”
Mrs Brady has moved up quickly in the organization, attaining full-time status and a position next to management. With that comes responsibility, which she takes seriously. I like Mrs Brady, we work well together, but I hate it when she bosses me around. A gentle education is in order.
When I stopped by for coffee at the Nightclub Store, Mrs Brady was working the register. She’s almost exclusively been working at the Waterfront Store, with occasional emergency reliefs at the Mothership. She’s competent, easy-going to a point, and not hard to look at. The past few weeks we would work together at the Waterfront on freight day. We team well.
It seemed unlikely that we would be butting heads…
We should learn from all lessons, but the cheap ones bear minding. Sometimes we get off lucky.
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.