"Here’s your ticket, and a map. I’m parking at metrolink, and we’ll ride back on it."
"You found a parking spot too?"
"Yeah. What is going on with this place today?"
"How did the Cards do yesterday?"
"Don’t know. But this is my first time going to the new ballpark."
"Where is section 244?"
"Up another flight of escalators. You’ll see it."
"I’ll have a pretzel dog and some nachos, and a Bud Light."
"That’ll be $20.50."
~~seventh inning stretch~~
"Where you guys going?"
"We’re going to leave so we can beat traffic."
"I’m going to the bathroom; I’ll wait for you."
"I can go down stairs, but I can’t go up stairs."
"A street corner….band."
"Don’t taze me, bro! Don’t taze me, bro!"
"Does this train go out to Lambert?"
"Yeah. We passed the last one up."
"I can go down stairs, but I can’t go up stairs."
"You parked on the roof."
"I want to go where the bad girls go."
"Don’t worry, I’ll take the trash out."
"You woke me up from a nap to tell me that?"
I was driving to work this morning on this beautiful Spring day–Earth Day, I believe–enjoying the splendor of Mother Nature and driving my tiny little fuel efficient car and trying to think of what I could recycle besides old jokes.
Suddenly, a large vehicle pulls up to one side, then slowly accelerates past me. I notice the bumper sticker as is pulls away: "Earth First."
Well, I was offended. What hypocrites. Here they are, driving a Hummer–an H2, for crying out loud–with a bumper sticker that says Earth First. I mean, I don’t know for sure, but I imagine that thing gets about 10 mpg. Maybe less. Are they trying to be ironic?
But I care about the environment, and I care about the planet. I was going to catch up to them and give them a piece of my mind. I sped up, and the wind effect from following the H2 whipped my little car all over the road. Ha! I thought. Do you think that thing will provide shade for you when global warming kills us all?
As I got closer, I pulled down my bio-friendly hemp sunglasses and tried to get a closer look. But I didn’t see the Toyota Prius electric car stalled on the highway in front of me.
The H2 honked. and I looked up in time to swerve out of the way, and I rolled into the ditch to avoid flipping over. The H2 driver, a good Samaratan, pulled over to help. He had a winch, and we hooked up my car and pulled it out, and then he was on his way. But I managed to get a closer look at his bumper sticker. The top line said, "Earth First."
Underneath that, in smaller print: "We’ll strip mine the other planets later."
"Well, they call me a workin man;
"I guess that’s what I am–
I’ve always worked alot. When I worked at the warehouse in the mid 80s, this ended up being my schedule:
Monday 8am to 11pm (by myself) 15 hrs
Tues 3pm to 11pm 8 hrs
Wed 3pm to 3am 12 hrs
Thurs 3pm to 11pm 8 hrs
Sat 3pm to whenever we get done.
And usually that "whenever we get done" was 6am Sunday morning. The odd schedule was due to the nature of the work, obviously. We sent out trucks on 1, 2. 3 and 5 day runs. During the week, it was staggered and we had to load a portion of them. Come Saturday, we had to load EVERYTHING because they all left again on Sunday or Monday. And this was just a four man crew, loading about 30 trucks.
So I got fired from that. . .
I worked at Domino’s the first time just as a driver, trying hard to get 40 hours. Once I became an assistant, I was REQUIRED to work 60. My first promotion was actually that my hours dropped down to 55. I sat there at 55 per week for a while, until I went back to the warehouse. The deal I struck (because I made so little per hour) was that I got the privilege of working 6 days per week, 48 hours. Yay?
I went back to Domino’s as a driver, and got right at 40 hours. When I became an assistant, I wasn’t required to do the 55 hour thing anymore. I did some OT, roughly under 50 hours per week.
Becoming a manager, that was fun. 55 hours per week guaranteed, because I was on salary. Sometimes I even got to work more than that. For free.
Back down to assistant, and I was happy with 46 hours per week. Manager again, and I worked my schedule creatively to get down to fifty hours. I lived five minutes from my store, and I could be late or leave early and be covered. If a supervisor came in and I was not there yet, "I had just run to the store." When I left there to go to Steak n Shake was the first time I worked two jobs. I stayed at Domino’s and drove a couple nights a week while working roughly 50 hours a week there. That was only for about 4 months.
Back to Domino’s, I was manager, working way less than 50 hours a week because the store had shorter hours. I went to Papa Johns, where even as an assistant I was on salary. As soon as I was hired, my supervisor left, and was shocked at how much I was making. Well, dickhead, I had experience. But he wanted me to work more dayshifts, because that’s how they could suck more hours out of me. However, I was a really good closer, and valuable in that capacity. I remember calling him out on it. Hasan, my Pakistani supervisor. He lied right to my face and and said no, that’s not why.
But because we closed at midnight, I was barely working over 40 hours for my salary, not the 50 they wanted. It was while here that I started working a second job again, this time for Scooters, when it was new in St Peters. This was 10 years ago. I worked less than ten hours a week here, just a few lunch shifts. Wow, ten years ago….
This was about the time that they were opening the second store, and needed someone full time. So, I quit Papa’s, and went to Scooters full time. I don’t recall how it happened, but I did need some extra cash, and so I began to drive at Domino’s part time. I never tracked my hours at this time. This last decade, I realize now, has been a blur.
In 01 I went back to school while working the two jobs. I really don’t understand my motivation at the time…..because I don’t know if I would be up to it now. But that’s what I did for basically five years, until I graduated in 06. I traded a bank job for full time and scooters switched to part time, but it was still two jobs.
Here we are in 08, I saw the need and picked up a third job. So, let’s see how many hours I’m working….
The Bank 40 hours
The Restaurant MWF, 5+5+6=16 hours
Dominos TF, 7.5 + 9.5= 17 hours
So that’s…..73 hours per week. That is alot of fucking hours. My time off is broken up into half days. I have 4 half days off. Wed night, Sat day, Sun day and Sun night. Plus, every day between jobs I would come home, nap for an hour, change, and leave for the other job. The nap was a must. Crucial. Imperative.
I know that this is a little boring and I’m sorry; some of this is for me. This is kind of to show me where I stand now. And where do I stand now? Well, under this system, I always had money, which is nice. Caught up on bills, and always had cash. . .somewhat because I never had time to spend any. I feel like if I had two days off in a row, I might get too far away from home and not come back. Something has to keep me tethered.
But now, thanks to Bunny–my BFF–I have a new financial situation. She helped me (and pushed and prodded me, and guided me) to get my house refinanced. This did several things:
a) Got The Storm’s name off the house (so long, sucka-face!)
2) Paid off the Truck and big chunks of credit card
d) lowered interest rate and house payment
Plus, my child support payment drops down as well.
In essence, I need LESS money now. I was working three jobs because I needed the money, not because I thought the shit was fun. So first, I dropped Tuesdays at Domino’s, 7.5 hours. I can’t drop Friday, I cant. It’s too much money, and I’m a whore.
Just this week, I dropped Monday night at Scooters. The other assistant was looking to pick up hours and I was looking to drop. I love it when a plan comes together. So that’s 5 hours.
So now, I work 40 at the bank, 11 at Scooters, and 9 at Domino’s. Sixty hours–but it’s so much less than before. More importantly is my time off. I work Thursday, Friday, Saturday night, and Monday thru Friday during the day. That means I have off four nights. It seems like so much.
In fact, even if I pick up overtime at the Bank (which I can, five hours’ worth) and end up with 65 hours per week, I still have more USEFUL time off. I can stay one hour extra a day, or go in an hour early, and still have all my free time. Five hours of overtime at the bank is worth ten hours at Scooters. Or, five hours at Scooters and the cash I made on Tuesday at Domino’s. So I’m working less and making the same money, almost.
Anyway, I’m just happy that I get more time off, and more time to spend with Detroit, and more time to do things for myself.
I’ve been thinking about stepping back into stand up.
It’s raining, and just getting to work is a bitch. The highway is backed up–I get off as soon as I can, and try to make my way over. Nigel starts to overheat. I speak in a Scottish accent to him, because he understands that better. I end up pullin th fuckin thing o’er an givin him a bit of a respit.
I get there about 50 minutes late–but in my mind, only 20 minutes late–because I told the fuckers not to even expect me till quarter after, or more like half past. Just Sam and Dina on the line, and Mike the driver on the ovens. They are going down–in flames. In the waiter’s world, I guess this is called "in the weeds." We call it being slammed. At least there’s a way out of it: You just work your fuckin ass off, keep your head down, and keep making pies.
Most of these fuckin orders are carry-outs. A row of goddamn pizza boxes from here to the end and stacked on the table as well, and there’s three deliveries in there. Cheap cocksuckin rich bastards.
And, our little Chinese boy Kevin is gone. At first, when we got our new supervisor, his careful analysis of the schedule revealed that we NEVER need two CSRs (inside people), so Erica–my little underage Chinese crush–is gone, daddy, gone. But the new supervisor is aggressive, a go-getter, a pro active cost-running efficiency type–in other words, a grade A asshole. He decides that we need NO inside people whatsoever. Sales don’t justify the need.
Theoretically, he’s right. But it’s just theory. I just read this the other day, and it’s applicable here:
"The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice."
In our store we need an inside person to take care of the carryout traffic, because we have so much of it and it takes extra time, especially because these same rich fucks who are too cheap to get a delivery are too impatient to wait. When they darken our door, they want immediate service, a handjob, a foot massage, stock quotes, and their fuckin pizza. And they want it NOW.
But today, we have to deal. We all know our jobs. I was proud of our boys. Most of the time we are slow and just fuck off constantly–it’s a nice place to work. I don’t recall if I said this before or just thought it: working here (at this location) feels like a Domino’s retirement home. The pace is alot slower, and I brag about and repeat stories from my glory days. And I guess I shuffle around muttering to myself and shit my pants? Did I say that before? Mayhaps I did–
For all that I bitch about concerning Domino’s, they know how to handle a rush. There are processes in place. Everyone knows what they have to do, and we do it, and keep going. These guys know there stuff–I didn’t have to worry. When the rush was over, there were very few if any mistakes. None that I saw.
After the rush, Dina was pacing, smoking, and pissed. Turns out that she was dayshift, and someone else was scheduled to close. Sam had to leave–family emergency thing–and the guy that was supposed to close the supervisor–
[–and do I know his name? Do I give a flying rat’s ass? Not really. He could be a nice guy for all I know, just a by-the-book dickhead or ambitious fucker. Who knows? I can’t wait to meet him so he knows how unimpressed and unterrified I am of him.. . .But I have become attached to my little ragtag fugitive group here, and whatsoever he doeth unto them, he doeth unto me. Plus, the fact that he made us get rid of our Little China Girl pisses me off–]
the supervisor sent him to another store to close that evening. As a driver. Is that logical? Could they not get another driver anywhere? Ever? So Dina is supposed to work an open to close–and we close at 2 am. I found out later that that night was also Earl’s (the previous supervisor) going away party. I imagine the new supe didn’t like the old one, jealous of his popularity with everyone else. Earl is a good guy. Add to that the subtle inference I picked up that there may have been a thing between Earl and Dina in the past. I’d bet on it. Like, $2.43.
She said if no one showed up to cover her by 930, she was closing the store. Well, maybe I’d get to go home early…..
Friday is a big money night for me, and that’s why I do it, despite the 2 am bullshit. Early evening I usually don’t make much, I’m just there. But overall I make enough that…Well, I know why women become prostitutes. The money is just too good. Everyone has a price. Turns out, mine is four bucks and the change.
By 830, we’re down to just me driving. On a Friday, this just seems odd. In the early 90s at the busy store I worked at, on a Friday we would close with three drivers–And we’d all walk out with 120 to 150 bucks. Translated to today’s money and allowing for inflation, that’s like….a thousand dollars. I stand by my calculations.
Once down to just me, that’s where I’m making money. We’re busy enough, and I’m in and out of the store. One of my runs is to the Marriott Hotel, and I thought I would be heading back there again once they saw me, because it looked like there was a Fat White Chick convention going on. The place was crawling with them. I almost got accosted in the elevator. I felt like a rock star. Or maybe security for the pizza, who was the actual star. "Hmmm—" they inhaled deeply and sighed, semi-orgasmic. Three of them, all part of the same group. I could tell because they all had nametags that said "My name is [Susan]! I’m a Fat White Chick, Ask me how!" The bar was full of black guys, waiting to hit on them.
I come back to the store shortly after 930, and Dina’s not there. Little Scotty is. Christ in leaky sidecar. This guy just fucking annoys me. I’ve probably mentioned him before. He’s actually a perfect cartoon caricature of himself. Skinny, scraggily looking, no chin, and ears that stick out. Add glasses a goofy fucking demeanor. He won’t shut up. Ever. What makes that worse is that he has nothing to fucking say. He’s on his cell phone talking to Dina–who left partially to get to Earl’s party and partially to get away from him–who I’m sure is rolling her eyes trying to get off the phone. He wants to make sure that I know that he’s talking to Dina so that I know that they’re friends and he has someone to talk to.
Runs on the rack. I bag them up and go. I come back, more runs. Yay. The less I have to suffer fools–
There’s two time orders for late night, which I guess (correctly) are for after-prom parties. Fifteen medium pies for 1115, then another 8 large pies for midnight. I come back about twenty till eleven, and Scotty is working on the 15 pie order. Slowly. I go over to help him, and I watch him as he jealously guards his dough. I don’t blame him. These are good looking pies; some of them are almost round. Every thing he passes on to me I have to fix, mostly without him knowing it. When they come out, you can tell the mark where I came in and started helping.
The whole time he doesn’t shut up. "Sam’s supposed to be here to take over for me so I can go to the party. But Sam had a thing he had to take care of with his nephew. I mean, I understand why he’d be running late and all, but I have to open in the morning. When I talked to Dina she said he’d be here."
That was the content, which he repeated in various forms a few times, dropping other names to make sure I knew how popular he was. Finally I said, "Maybe they lied to you. Maybe Sam isn’t coming in. They just said that to get you here."
The effect I have on feeble minds is truly impressive. I should be a hypnotist, or a dictator. Or, my first choice–coach woman’s college volleyball. He started to sputter and shake, freaking out at the possibility. Why else would I say this, unless there was some truth to it? Surely I wouldn’t talk out of my ass–? Yes, yes I would. And don’t call me Shirley.
"Well–well I’m not closing. And if I am, then I’m not opening tomorrow, too! And if I have to, then I better get off on Sunday, or something." He sputtered like a misfiring two cycle trimmer, and went to go get his phone. Then he was doing the ultra-hip thing where he talked on the phone while he made pizzas, right next to me. He wanted me to know how hip he was. He’d seen other managers do this, so it must be cool. Because he had to know right NOW.
Dina wasn’t answering her phone. Caller ID is indeed a gift from the gods. He made other calls. While I’m cutting and bagging up this run, he gets in touch with Sam, who is coming in. Scotty’s all excited, wagging his tail like a puppy. "I wonder if I should change my clothes now, or wait for Sam to get here. He said he’d be here in about ten minutes. I could change my clothes now and save time for getting to party. But if I get an order an have to make a pizza, I won’t be in uniform."
He stood looking at me, waiting, smiling his goofy smile, Surely I would have some input, or at least communicate with him. He’s like a social vampire. He just sucks the life out of any social situation. He has no skilz. I said, "That certainly is a dilemma," and I leave on the run.
I get back, and Scotty is gone, thank God. Sam is there. More laconic, which matches my mood tonight. He did mention that Scotty was anxious to get out of here–and hung around for half an hour talking about it. What a fucknut.
Sam had the order for midnight about ready, as well as another run. I took the regular run first, and got to the midnight order at midnight. Big, big house–nothing unusual about that. After-prom party. The father let me in, and asked if I could bring them downstairs to the basement.
A group of about 2 dozen high school kids, boy and girls, greeted me. They were happy to see me. They were happy. The parents provided a party for them, complete with keg. A couple of the guys insisted I do a beer bong. I said, "After the day I’ve had? Let me at it." I’ve never actually done one, but I thought I got the general idea. I got on my knees so they could hold it up. I put my thumb over the end as instructed, and one of them filled the tube and funnel with beer. Quite alot of beer. I’m supposed to put it in my mouth and gravity–
Gravity forces the beer down my throat. I managed to suck it all down, incredibly. I was their hero. Everyone was watching and cheering, and I was recorded on several phones and cameras. I got high-fived by the dudes, and hugged by some of the sweet young chicks.
So maybe if you google "domino’s driver does beer bong," other than this entry, maybe the video will be on youtube.
I made my way over to the father, to get my bag and get the credit card slip signed. He put an 18-dollar tip on there–pretty fuckin nice–and he shook my hand and said, "You were never here."
Absolutely. I was never there.
Except, you know, for the video.
I just love the bright, young, ambitious, go-get ’em type. I love to watch them go down in flames.
I come in and we’re slow–of course. After about 20 minutes, the rush hits, and we start getting orders stacked up. I’m on the phone taking orders while Eric slowly goes down on the line. I get off the phone, and go to the line to help out.
At first he tries to tell me what to do. Then he is surprised that I know already. Then he finds that I can top pizzas. And cheese them. And sauce them. And then I am caught up and taking dough from him. "Oh. You’ve done this before?"
Yes, child, I have done this before.
We get through the little spurt before Dina comes in, and then I don’t have to help much after that.
Oh, wait–yeah I do. About 7 pm, someone calls about their pizzas that were supposed to be there at 6:45.
Their 45 pizzas. To a fundraiser at a bowling alley. Dina saw Kevin on the phone with them, whispered a harsh "Oh, shit!" and ran to the office to get the piece of paper. They had called Tuesday and she took the information down but forgot to enter it in the computer.
Well, they still want their pizzas. What do you do in a situation like this? For one thing, you DROP EVERY THING ELSE and start making the pizzas. Toss dough, ask questions later. I’m going to be up, but Dina asks me to hang and make; I comply. She starts on the dough. Eric has questions. He wants to KNOW.
"Didn’t you know about this order before?"
"Why wasn’t it already in the computer?"
"I forgot to enter it, Eric."
He looks at the price. "Oh. Are we giving them a deal?"
"Are these ‘school’ pizzas?"
"No, they’re just rung up that way."
"But why is–"
"It’s a fundraiser, Eric."
"So do you–
I finally cut in. "Dude! Why are you asking all these questions? We. Need, To. Make. Pizza. Now." He was pissing her off asking all the questions, I could tell. All of this was obvious–or obvious if you’re not an idiot–and it seems like he just wanted her to admit she made a horrible mistake, and that he could do better.
This assclown is a loaner from another store. Obviously ambitious, and here he sees an opportunity–he’s here to work, but he’s spying on us, milking the store for all the information he can so he can go back and say–"oh, yeah, I can run that store much better." I’ve seen his type before.
I help make the pizzas, about 30 of them, till the oven is backed up. All they have left is 15 cheese pizzas, so Dina tells me to hit the road. I do. I take a triple–it was lined up for me, nothing else I could do. Twist my arm.
When I come back, the big order is gone, thankfully, and Dina is gone too, because dinner is over, and we are getting down to Eric, me, and Paro. The rest of the night was exceptionally unremarkable, and the tip average was down. My personal view is that it was Eric, and his wonderful phone persona. For one order, the customer said they had a coupon, and we showed no record of it. It’s in the back of the phone book, but the computer didn’t register it. He said to me, "Make sure you get the coupon from them. If it’s an old expired one–" his theory "–go ahead and take it, but make sure you tell them. Shove it in their face."
I said, "Well, that really all depends on how they tip." I am not confronting a customer about a coupon. Maybe in the old days I would have, but there is just not enough care in me for that now. They could pay me with deposit bottles as long as I got a tip out of it.
Eric was frustrated with my attitude, and I was….resigned to my fate for the evening. I knew I was going to have to do all of my work and most of his cleaning, because he would be busy in the office, talking on the phone to all of the other stores, bitching about all the work he had to do. I’m sure he was going to narc out Dina on every little thing he could, meanwhile he didn’t do an actual food count (a big no-no), instead going with the computer generated ideal food.
He says to me later, "You know where the bank is, right?"
I answered him truthfully, "Dude, I’ve never been there." The closing driver is ALWAYS supposed to follow the closing manager to the bank for security, in separate cars, for the night deposit.
But it’s an inconvenience for me, it’s the opposite direction that I go, I’ve never been asked, and this guy has not been endearing himself to me enough that I care whether he follows procedure or gets raped in the eye socket by Sandy Duncan wearing a strap on. (I live for irony.)
His whole attitude grates on me. Even when I was my at my dickest as a manager, I still said "please," or *asked*–even when it was implicitly not a request, but a command. Looking back, maybe I should cut him some slack as being–even if he’s been doing it for two years–new. But it’s not my job to train new managers, especially ones as socially inept as this pizza cowboy. What really irks me is that I’ve seen this exact type before, and he is the perfect one to take this position all the way to the top. He could go far in this company. Corporate types adore numbers-running little Hitlers.
So he tells me I have to follow him to the bank. Whatever. I briefly consider going straight when he makes a right turn. That’d be funny. But I follow him. South of the highway, left, another left. I hang back while he makes the deposit, and then he rolls down his passenger side window, perhaps to impart some final wisdom for the evening.
I drive off without looking back.
Tuesday night, Detroit and I go to the store for some stuff for dinner, but–as is sometimes the case–we decide to put the big cooking off for another night and just get something quick for tonight.
In retrospect, that might not have been a good idea.
Wednesday at work, I’m minding my own business….you know, more or less. Part of my business is whatever everyone else is doing, unless it’s not that interesting. Having ADD is like living an unfiltered life. But the girls in the pit are going to order out, and today I feel like being apart of the group.
My sammich that I ordered was not that good, but not bad. Bland, actually. About an hour later my tummy was rumbling. About half hour later I was seriously pre-occupied with the unique sensations my body was having. I emailed my boss and left.
It’s a nice day. Perhaps the nicest so far this year. High Temp in the upper 60s, clear sky, slight breeze–it’s the perfect day…
It’s 230 in the afternoon, and I lay down.
Lots of thoughts roll through my brain in the next several hours. I have the flu. The superflu, the one that killed everyone in The Stand. Or the big flu pandemic of 1918. I traveled through time and got sick. They always warn you that if you’re going to travel through time to make sure you get immunized.
Wait, I got my flu shot this year. Why isn’t it working? It’s some genetically engineered version made by the Russians (because I’m still traveling through time and it’s the early 60s) or the FDA.
Whatever it is, it’s going to kill me. Maybe I’m dead already. But I can still move and talk. Well, mostly I moan and groan. I’m a zombie. I’m the walking dead. Gross–I prefer my meat cooked at least medium, I don’t care for rare.
My body hurts on the inside, and yet it feels numb on the outside. No wonder zombies are so anti-social; I don’t want to talk to anyone. Detroit carelessly comes to me when I call her, not realizing the danger she is in. She comes within reach and I paw at her from the bed. I mean, I think I do. Actually I might just be lying there. She brings me water, but zombies don’t drink water.
Neither do dinosaurs, and I might be one of those, too. How else would you explain the fact that I can’t lay on my back? My tail is in the way–duh! Plus, the clawed hand is clumsy on the keyboard.
I call out for Detroit, repeatedly. Loudly. I think I did. I think it was loud. She ignores my pleas for help. With herculean effort, I rise from the bed and trundle down the hall to find Detroit lying on the couch watching TV. Clearly, ignoring my plight. Obviously, she doesn’t care if I live or die or turn into a zombie.
I get up and go to the computer, simply because my body hurts from lying down so much. It’s about 10 oclock at night. The mouse was invented for humans, sadly, not dinos, and so I have difficulty surfing and stumbling. I type briefly, but lack the coordination to hold the shift key down for capitalization. No wonder the dinos died out before they developed higher civilization: they lacked keyboard skilz.
Detroit goes to bed, and I follow. She lays next to me, dangerously. She has no idea what peril she is in, being so close to a zombie dinosaur. Bravely, her only concern is the noise I make, and would I please stop thrashing about? Moaning and whimpering to myself as Detroit sighs impatiently, I fall into a restless sleep.
About 3 am, I wake up. Completely fine. Healed. Returned from the dead. Ha! Once again I am triumphant over death, dismemberment, and imminent zombie transformation. I have lived to tell the tale!
Man, am I hungry. I go to sleep with a clear mind, happy that I no longer crave human flesh, and glad that I can now lay on my back without my tail getting in the way.
I wake up shortly after Detroit leaves for work. I could get up and go to work…but honestly, I don’t feel like it. I’m beat from being sick the previous day, and tired from all the sleeping, and my body hurts from all the lying down.
Plus, yesterday was an incredible day, what with the weather and all–and I feel I was cheated out of it. I’m taking the day off to "recuperate."
So, the day after was a pretty good day. I watched tv, made macaroni and cheese for breakfast, took a nap, went for a drive, sat outside in the back yard, went and got lunch, watched a movie, and took another nap, all before Detroit came home from work.
My short stint as a zombie is now a distant memory, but I learned something about myself–something that is somewhat disturbing. I learned that I could not have one of those jobs where I can work from home, because I would just lay around in my underwear all day and masturbate.
But the old gas station where you ran over the air hose thing and it rang a bell, and they’d come out and fill it up for you, and gas was 12 cents a gallon–those days are pretty much gone.
I’ve been to lots and lots of gas stations in my…27 years of driving. There are some I like, some I don’t like, and certain things I expect. The evolution of the gas station over the years with technology is pretty impressive, and yet we still have to get out of our fucking car in the cold to fuel up. And, the cars still don’t fly–something I remain bitter about.
Nowadays, the gas stations are something of a luxury resort. You can get gas, food, alcohol, and–if you say the magic word–sex in the bathroom. Clean and well lit and friendly.
They have no personality to them anymore. Our society is so homogenized, and the gas stations were the first thing to go homo. Bland and saccharine, they completely lack style and personality.
I mean, for instance–we have QT here: QuikTrip. These guys are good. Fast and efficient. It seems their whole premise is to get you to not stand in line long, and I appreciate that. Of course, if you have a problem–which, while statistically is highly unlikely, it is nevertheless a functional reality of our world–then you are SOL because they still want to get you through the door and out of their face. It’s a fine line between efficiency and indifference.
Down the main drag, they recently opened a new gas station….after closing one right across the street from the QT. A Philips 66. You know, I don’t know if they call it a petro mart, gas n go, quik shop, kwik stop, gas it up, pump it up, hump a lot, travel store, travel more, diesel whore, gas n more–And I don’t give a shit. It’s clean and bright and efficient and sterile looking. But Looks can be Deceiving.
I would always just get gas and leave, and never associate any emotion with the gas station. But now, I’m….I have a relationship with this place. An emotional tie. It’s addictive, like playing with a hornet’s nest. Actually, it’s nostalgic, like when I was living with my old girlfriend (and Christ, is she old!) who was a raging bipolar alcoholic with quite possibly a multiple personality disorder: I never knew what the hell to expect.
Rolling the dice with karma…
A few times I go in late at night, and the dude behind the counter starts telling me his life story. Same dude. Different story every time.
Occasionally in the morning when I’m in a hurry, I need gas and it won’t pump. Instead of waiting for help, I do the only rational thing and leave, going to another gas station and wasting more time, and increasing the perceived amount of time the first station wasted.
Lately I’ve been hitting it in the morning, and I’m getting to know the people. Not by name, because I don’t give a shit. There’s Ugly Manager Chick, Fat Dumpy Blond, Craggily Old Lady, and Indifferent Bitch. Generally one or more of them is outside smoking, and I always wonder if someone is in the store. I could stuff shit down my pants and no one would know. ("Is that a 2-litre in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?" "Both!")
If I’m lucky enough to get Indifferent Bitch, I play games with her. She obviously hates her job and/or her co-workers (and I probably would to), and thinks she is too good for this job. Another vibe I get from her is that she feels she is too pretty to be working there. She is pretty, but she’s not all that. Just, relatively speaking, she’s the cutest. In a cage full of monkeys, which one is the smartest? And does it matter?
Sometimes I try to act MORE indifferent than her. I throw my money on the counter and look away. I sigh when she sighs. I roll my eyes. I stare at the ceiling. Sometimes I play Opposite Day, and try to be overly cheerful and happy, and talk and talk and talk the entire time. This is harder to do than it seems. Coming up with filler isn’t easy. I usually have a theme that I start with, but this is all improv. I generally have a point to make and a word or line that I want to finish up and walk out on–it’s a carefully crafted performance piece.
And sometimes I don’t say anything, but just stare right at her nose.
This morning I stopped for gas. I went inside to pay, and handed the cashier–Fat Dumpy Blond–my debit card. The debit card from the bank I work at. As the transaction progressed, she commented, "Oh, this is the first card I’ve seen from Pulaski Bank. Is that a good bank? Are they nice there?"
I said, "Oh, yes. Very nice. Very friendly. The best." I then opened my jacket to show her my shirt, which has the bank logo on it.
She said, "Wow, they gave you a shirt, too?" She proceeded to tell her co-worker that Pulaski gave me a shirt when I opened my account. "That’s great," she said.
I said, "If you open a money market they wash your car. When I got my mortgage, they found me a babysitter for the weekend." She was starting to not believe me. I continued to pour it on. "I opened a CD and a got a massage." Her eyes widened. I leaned in. "I work there."
She put her head in her hands. "Oh my God, I am so blonde," she said.
But I said, "We are the place to come if you want a mortgage. No one is better." She said she was going to be refinancing soon. I said, "Come to us. We are the best. Our people are the best." She nodded, and said she would.
I should earn a commission.
Okay, and addendum. I just went across the street to the bank for Bunny to make a deposit for her (cause she’s busy and important, and I am the opposite of those things.) As I take care of the transaction and chat with the tellers, I have a slight sensation–my spider senses tingle–I get the faintest whiff of….chocolate chip cookies. FRESH BAKED chocolate chip cookies. I mention it to the tellers. They confirm it. "Yeah. We bake cookies."
Get the fuck out.
No, seriously. Want one? She goes in back (And by the way, like the post office or any other place that has an "in back" this is just as mysterious. I mean, I work there, but since I’m not a teller, I’m not privy to some of these secrets) to get me a cookie. I said, "Seriously. What’s the deal?"
Don’t sarcastic people just piss you off?
I was on the committee to help organize it because I was on the committee last year and somehow I was on the mailing list. Luckily, because time was short, we didn’t have to do much and outsourced most of it. We did have it at the same place this year, the fabulous Coranodo Ballroom.
Last year, if you recall (and I’m sure you do; I’m certain that all of you follow my life story, memorize statistics and trade cards about it) I had an issue with being a little drunk and saying some untoward things to some women. I was trying to be fun and funny, and entertain people, and obviously some chicks at the bank think I’m a horny sexist pig. It’s amazing how intuitive some people are. I tried to behave a little better this year…but if I get called on the carpet again, I guess I’ll know.
This company has a thousand stories–
Detroit knew some people there this year, so she had friends to talk to, and fun. Of course I’m everyone’s friend, and talked to alot of people. I feel I may have neglected Scott and Bunny….But I see them all the time. Anyway–open bar. We all had a good time. Some people had a better time than others. A woman I honestly hardly know was drunk as shit and hanging all over me, trying to convince me to go to the bar with her and a group of people. When I pointed out my girlfriend, she invited her, too. Then she moved to my friend Serena’s boyfriend, and ran her hand up his leg. I didn’t get any of that. It’s not fair. But she did have her ass in a short dress right in front of me.
Detroit caught me looking down at her ass. Of course I was. She signaled me a dare to lift up her skirt. Yeah. But I was also looking at her husband, the angry drunk jealous type about 20 feet away. Maybe–
Maybe he just knows how she is. Or what she is: A gang-bang waiting to happen. She got distracted and we four made our escape around the corner. This morning, I see one girl posted some pix on her myspace from the "after party" at the bar–the one that the drunk gang-bang hostess was insisting we go to. Either her and her husband didn’t go–or she was kept out of the pictures for the sake of decorum.
Or maybe she was just under the table, blowing all the guys.
We should have went to the bar.
Although everything in my life is going quite well, I still feel like I lack direction and meaning.
I mean, until now. It came to me in a flash of brilliant insight this morning, and I discovered (or it was revealed to me; revelation is subjective) what my deeper purpose is:
I need to watch all the Bugs Bunny cartoons over and over until I have them memorized, so I can quote them at will. With ease.
I’m sure you realize the necessity of this undertaking. Someone has to carry on the torch, lest this art be lost forever.
Oh, I’m serious.