Sing A Song Of Sixpence

February 26, 2010 at 10:15 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | Leave a comment
  I’m able to read some of the people at The Three Jakes a little better now.  Brian, the manager, for instance.  I realize now that he is a decent guy, and a mellow guy.  If you’ve made it to the point he has in the company then you have some miles on you in the beaten down arena.  He wants to do right by the company, and by his people.  Managing is a hard lot in life.
  I got a call from Brian on my cell phone, actually Wednesday evening about 515.  That’s an odd time for a phone call, unless they are wondering why I’m not there–I thought, as I very carefully didn’t call back right away.  I’ll tell you why I’m not there–normally, I’m not scheduled on Wednesday.  I didn’t notice the call until Thursday morning, when I listened to the voicemail.  Sure enough, I was supposed to be there.  After lunch I gave him a call.
  I explained my bad–normally I don’t work Wednesday–just the one time to be off for my birthday–so I didn’t even look.
  So he apologized for his bad as well.  And they covered it, so we were good.  He’s always very calm.  He reminds me of the type who keep it bottled up, and then when they blow, they really blow.  I hope he doesn’t have a gun or a machete…or a frog gig.
  I was later walking back and forth from the freezer, pulling bread out.  I heard snippets of conversation he was having with Jessica, as he was trying to wrap up and get out of there.  I don’t know who he was talking about, but he said, "–but the guy’s work ethic just drives me crazy."
  First of all, when you say something like that, you need to mean it.  And to mean it, you have to show some emotion.  Brian said it like he was ordering a cheeseburger.
  He’s laid back, but likable.  He took an interest in the radio thing that I never adequately explained to him, and the other day he said, "I have a joke for you–some material you can use."  Terrific.  We comics love stuff like this.  Like when your brother in law the car salesman tells you something interesting about how to perform brain surgery, because that’s what you do.  But he told me this thing, and it was amusing.  Done, but amusing.  He said he was in the store the other day moving his head to to the music, and he realized, "That’s when you’re getting old, when you dance to the music in the store."  I had to rephrase it to something usable.  "When you hear Black Sabbath as elevator music, something has gone horribly wrong…"  But at least we had a bonding moment.  I don’t remember exactly, but I’m sure that’s in "The One Minute Manager" also.

  I don’t have Stockholm Syndrome or anything; my loyalty is very shallow.  I am still only looking out for myself, and I’m not going to do anything stupid.  
  Stupid like what TJ did–after Tony quit (and then talked to the district manager and got a job back not as a manager but as a regular daytime slob) we needed someone to babysit the store between 5pm and 9pm on Monday and Tuesday, and TJ agreed to do it that one first time…
  And now it’s his gig.
  Anyway, I told him that originally I was jealous, because why didn’t they ask me, I have management experience, blah blah blah.  But I got over it quickly.  First of all I’m a driver.  They aren’t going to give me more money–I don’t think they give him more–and I don’t want to be in charge of this anal retentive shaved armpit.
  I more or less told him that I would try to not make his life too difficult, and that was really the best I could do.  I meant it, and he seemed to appreciate it, and yet–
  Thursday before Brian left, he did his follow-up on everything.  There are always little details and notes and so forth about hundreds of little things, which is one of the many reasons I want no part of it.  If all my ADD medication did was make me keep track of ridiculous stuff like that, I wouldn’t take it.  Brian came to me and had one of those "one-minute manager" sessions with me.  TJ had come to him and told him that he had asked me to do something–maybe out in the customer area–and I said I’ll just do the dishes.  This was seen by him as defiance of his shaky authority.
  I’ll have to take his word for it, because I don’t remember.  And I don’t hold it against him–he has to deal with it.  He doesn’t like doing the job to begin with, he sure doesn’t want to deal with an asshole like me not respecting him.
  Brian reminded me than when TJ is running the shift he is in charge–the usual conversation.  I told him I sure didn’t mean to–I don’t remember the context.  But I’ll be a good boy from now on.
  But I wonder–what *was* the context?  I can think of a couple of different things:  I might not have heard him (highly likely), or he wanted me to do something that involves bending over and I try to avoid those jobs (also highly likely), or maybe he phrased it as a suggestion or something less than authoritative.
  Or…petty as it sounds, was it retaliation for my interruption, when he told Marissa to break down the line?  I said, "Hey, it’s up to you, but generally they break down this other one, and go with that one.  I’m just telling you what I saw."
  He seemed to accept my observation at the time, but now I wonder.  Oh well.  It doesn’t matter that much to me, so I can easily apologize for it because I don’t have a real vested interest in it.

  It was a slow night.  Thursdays I usually make some coin, but it wasn’t happening this time.  Tuesday I had worked with Jessica, Will and Darnell.  Those two tried to outdo each other in who could do the least important thing on the bitch list, leaving me to do most of it–and I’m the goddamn driver.  I didn’t work that hard, though, because I noticed Jessica wasn’t, either.  She wasn’t scheduled; she was covering because Brian had scheduled TJ and TJ couldn’t be there…something Brian does because he doesn’t look at our availability.
  Which is funny–he’s done this several times to me, and a few times to other people.  If it was on the bitch list, he would get it right:
___ 118.  Verify that everyone is scheduled to work only on days they are available to work.
  I’m sure the DM has discussions with him about other items–and I bet that it is only items on the bitch list because they are a largely unimaginative lot.
  So Jessica was just kind of hanging out.  She sliced some meat, and that was about it.
  Around 9pm, Steve showed up.  Driver Steve.  I wasn’t expecting him until 11ish–but that’s okay.  This wasn’t the regular driver Steve anyway.  This was young Steve with the pony tail who works during the day.  Now he is our late night closer.  Why?  Because the first Steve got fired.  Did I mention anything about an incident last week involving alcohol?  Maybe not because it didn’t involve or concern me.  Nonetheless, Steve is gone.
  We had a good deal worked out, Steve and I.  He worked another job and didn’t get out of there until 1030 or 11pm, which means that instead of 9, I would "get to" stay until 11 or 1130.  More hours, more deliveries, more cash for me.  Of course the downside is that on those nights I wouldn’t get home until midnight, and get to bed around 1am.  The next day I come into the bank a little later than 630, which means I have to stay later in the day.
  So the new Steve comes and explains everything.  I get to leave.  Oh.  Well, okay.  I run the idea by him of me staying later on some days, and while he seemed to be okay with the idea, we didn’t nail anything down.  He actually lets me take two more deliveries before he starts driving, and that put me up to 20 bucks on this pathetic night.
  I get my money together, Jessica runs my slip, and I count out.  I owe 85.06.  Okay.  I know I don’t have any coin change.  Still, I count out 85, and it leaves me with a 20.  I said–joking–"And I’m not giving you six cents."  Ha ha ha.  She laughed too, as she counted the money.  Then she said, "So, do you have the six cents then?"
  "Seriously?"
  "Yeah.  Or a dollar?" With that, she dug out 94 cents in change.
  You want me to break a twenty for 6 cents?  My eyes hurt a little; they had been rolling a lot lately.  I said, "Hold on."  I went out to my car.  In my bag I found some change.  I had two–make that three–quarters.  But they were clean and shiny, and that didn’t match my mood.  I looked in the little cubby under the ashtray, and there was a dime in there.  Dirty, sticky, covered in ash, and it had a piece of paper stuck to it.  Perfect.
  I went back in the store, and noticed Jessica was back at the slicer.  I didn’t slam it, I just laid the dime down by the register, and turned to walk out.  If I stay, I’m going to say something.  I don’t want to say anything.  She went to the register to finish the transaction, and by the time she got there, I was gone. 

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