Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A dream - sunset holocaust

Matt and Chey and I are all piled into a car together, with Cheyenne driving and I in the back seat. We pull into the driveway of a familiar house. We all get out of the car and I am slightly anxious because we forgot to bring something with us. It is twilight, and the eastern sky beyond the house is made darker by the presence of forbidding cumulonimbus clouds, the textured, corrugated bottoms of which provide a low, ominous ceiling. Although they are ubiquitous to a certain extent, they start to thin and break up as my gaze follows them across the sky towards the west. About 2/3 of the way to the horizon they disintegrate completely, leaving a clear, calm sunset. The sun, having just disappeared below the western horizon, leaves a bright yellow sky which fades slowly into the dark blue of near twilight before it is obscured by the blanket of clouds from the east. I turn my vision back towards the dark cloud cover and am amazed to see in the distance an immense UFO flying below the cloud deck. It is quite far away, but I can definitely discern a massive hull festooned with bright, multicolored flashing lights. Matt is just getting out of the car so I yell at him, "Reach back into the car and grab the binoculars, quickly, hurry up!" I point at the sky and exclaim to him, "It's a UFO! Give me the binoculars!" Matt digs around in the back seat and emerges with the binoculars in hand. He sweeps the sky futilely with them, which exasperates me, and I frantically urge him to hand them over. He does, and I proceed to scan the eastern sky. Almost immediately, I spot it. It is an amazing sight, made even more incredible by the sudden ignition of two engines mounted at the rear of the main body, which begin to glow a dull orange. I exclaim to Matt, "The engines are lighting! It'll be gone soon so hurry up and look!" I hold the binoculars slightly away from my eyes with one hand and with the other hand I point as directly and accurately as I can at the UFO, while at the same time passing the binoculars to Matt so that he will know exactly in what direction to look. He sees the UFO but doesn't seem nearly as thrilled as me, and he and Chey proceed into the house.

An old man and woman live in the house, and at this point I realize that we are visiting a kind of analogue for our grandparents. I don't recognize them but they still seem familiar as I greet them in the living room. However, I am still filled with excitement at what I had just witnessed, so I quietly steal back outside. Heavy clouds had begun to form in the western sky, and as I looked towards the sunset, I could barely make out the diminished shape of the UFO against the form of a thunderhead as it reflected the last of the sun's dying rays. Suddenly, I realized with dread and unwelcome comprehension that it was engaged in battle with an enemy vessel, and they were exchanging a volley of nuclear weapons. I hid my eyes as one of them detonated, and when I looked again, there was a towering mushroom cloud rising from the western horizon. I quickly hurried inside and warned everyone. "There has been a nuclear detonation and the shock wave will be here quickly. We have to seek shelter!" Matt, Chey and I, along with the old couple, quickly proceeded outside and towards a separate garage. I watched the mushroom cloud as I hurried across the yard towards the garage, and I could feel the air pressure building as the front of the shock wave quickly raced towards us. With all of us inside the garage, we hunkered down on our knees, clasped our hands behind our heads, and tried to roll ourselves into little balls. Then the shock wave hit and the garage shook violently around us, shattering the glass in the windows and shaking the door off of the frame. As I crouched there, hunkered, I tried to catch a glimpse of Matt and Chey to see if they were all right. With the door gone, I could see the grass and trees outside through the open doorway scorching in the intense heat. I expected the garage to come completely apart around us at any second, exposing us to the searing winds.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Evil Blood Sucking Car Repair Shops

Oh boy. Today as I was driving to the store to grab some smokes, I started to hear a distinctive rattle up front in the motor area. Not good, thought I. I drove home and let it idle for a while, listening to the rattle and clank. I finally shut off the motor, definitely not happy about this new development. Later, my brother took the car to the post office to mail off his laptop which he just sold on eBay. I heard the car pull up when he got back, and then I heard the sound of the motor increase in volume somewhat as my brother opened the hood. After a few seconds, I heard a SNAP POP. Uh oh. Seconds later, my brother came in and informed me that the serpentine belt had just snapped. Shit. He said that he was afraid to kill the engine because he wasn't sure if it would start again. I told him that he'd better kill it now, as it was running purely on battery power as long as the serpentine belt wasn't turning the alternator and charging the battery. Apparently he hadn't realized this immediately, so he went outside and killed it.

We debated on what to do for a few minutes, and then he suggested that we take it to a repair shop to get an estimate. I thought for a few minutes... a serpentine belt should only cost about 30 bucks, and it should take maybe an hour to effect repairs... at about 50 dollars an hour, it should cost less than a hundred bucks to fix it. So, I agreed, and he drove the car to Firestone using just the battery power.

About 30 minutes later, he arrived home after walking back from Firestone. He told me that the mechanic there had said that it might be something more serious than just the serpentine belt, that the rattling could be due to a loose pulley. Immediately my hackles went up. I've been fucked over by mechanics several times, and hearing this instantly put my on my guard. I warned my brother about this, that mechanics were devious bastards and that I'd been screwed over several times in the past, but he just kind of blew it off. I stressed again the importance of what I was saying, and that we should definitely be wary if they tried to quote us an estimate based on more than just the cost to replace the belt. He started to take offense to this, thinking that I was questioning his ability to handle the situation, and began raising his voice. I asked him why he was getting so pissed and defensive, and he said that he'd never been screwed over by a garage. I told him that just because he hasn't been screwed over doesn't negate the importance or the worthiness of my advice. He grew more and more angry, and finally he told me that he wanted to use the money I had in reserve for rent to pay for any repairs that might be needed. I told him no. I have 200 dollars specifically for rent that I had borrowed from my sister just the day before, and that plus about 500 dollars that I'll be getting on Thursday, is going to be JUST ENOUGH to pay my student loan payment plus my share of the rent. Well, he didn't take too kindly to my refusal to give him that money, and he asked me if I was afraid that the rent wouldn't get paid if I gave him that money. I told him yeah, that's what I was afraid of, and he said that he would make damn sure that the rent got paid, even if I didn't.

Well, that really pissed me off, since I was the one who paid the rent for December, with no help at all from him. I told him that if it weren't for me, the rent wouldn't have gotten paid this month, and that he should think about that before casting stones. Well, about 5 minutes later, he called me on 32 dollars that we still owed out of 650, that never got paid because I just happened to be a little bit short, what with having to pay the entire thing this month. I had told him that I would pay it when I got my next check, but I had forgotten. He called me a liar for saying that I would pay that 32 dollars, since I had forgotten and it was never paid. Well, this set me off like a hydrogen bomb. I grabbed an envelope and a pen and the address for the landlord and got on the computer and looked up directions to his house with MapQuest, which happened to be two miles there and two miles back. I wrote those down, and as I was going out the door, I said "You suck Matt, you really suck. I'm not a liar and I'm moving out. Just as soon as I can. We'll see how you manage when I'm not here to bail your ass out when you're broke." Then he said to me, "You're moving out, huh? That's probably a damn lie too." I got even madder, which I didn't think was possible. I said, "I hate you!" and stormed out the door. I then turned back around and said "Give me my phone!". I sure as hell didn't want him answering when Firestone called back with an estimate. He gave me my phone and I left.

On the way I stopped off at a convenience store and got a money order for 32 dollars and put this in the envelope, and wrote on the front: "Sorry so late, Matt and Ash" and wrote down our address. I continued walking until I got to his house, then I put the envelope in his mailbox and walked back. On my way back, I received a call from Firestone. They said they had an estimate, and that it would be 350 bucks to fix it. I said, 350 for a serpentine belt? They said no, not just the belt, the tensioner needs to be replaced too (the tensioner is another pulley which you can adjust to increase or decrease the tension on the belt, something I didn't know at the time). I asked the guy if he could just put on the belt and forget about the tensioner. He said no. So, I told him that I'd come pick up the car then. He was silent for a few seconds, then said something that I don't remember and I said thanks, bye, and hung up. After that, I called John, my sisters husband, who is pretty good with cars. I asked him if he could help me replace the serpentine belt, and he said sure, that it should be fairly simple and easy.

When I got home, Matt had already gone back to Firestone and picked up the car. I didn't say anything to him. He told me that it would cost 270 dollars to repair it. Well, I was still pretty pissed and didn't want to talk to him, but I had to laugh and tell him that they had quoted 350 to me. Then I started to research serpentine belts and tensioners online for my car. I came across a lot of useful info, such as a diagram showing how to install the belt (it's pretty convoluted) and reports from various people describing their own experiences. I quickly found out that tensioners can be adjusted with a 13 mm socket, and that they can get pretty loose. I went back out to the car and found the tensioner, and sure enough, it was loose and it rattled when I moved it. Well, I sure as hell wasn't going to trust what Firestone said. That tensioner just might need to be tightened, it might not need to be replaced at all. However, it looked to be a pretty big job, as it was a very tight squeeze to access the area where the belt goes onto the pulley's. I had just read about several frustrated people who had spent hours trying to install a serpentine belt to no avail, and I started to realize it might not be possible for me to pull it off, even with Johns help.

So I called John and explained the situation to him, telling him that I thought it might be too big of a job for us to do after all, and that I would just have to wait until I had enough money to pay the fucking Firestone guys to fix it. He said to hold off, that he would be over to check it out. I had plans to visit a friend tonight already, so while I was over at her place, John was at the house, checking out the car.

When I got back home, Matt said that they had looked at the car and researched it some more. What we need is a serpentine kit that costs about 80 bucks, and comes with a belt and the tools we'll need to be able to fix the tensioner and install the new belt. This sounded a lot more reasonable than the 350 they quoted me or the 270 they quoted my brother, once they realized I wasn't going to let them give it to me in the backside. So with 80 dollars for parts and 50 dollars an hour... lets be generous and say it takes two hours to fix it... Firestone should charge me 200 dollars MAXIMUM for parts, labor, and tax to fix that thing. So I was right, they were trying to screw us over, just like ALL mechanics and garages will do in the blink of an eye without thinking twice. I've just had too damn many experiences, several times getting ripped off, and several times ALMOST getting ripped off - like today - NOT to be wary of those fuckers. Repair shops are worse than the IRS. At least the IRS doesn't lie to you.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Stuff

Ah, now I just love this. Sleeping until I feel like waking up, then sitting up in bed, grabbing the laptop or a book, and just reading or listening to music or yakking here on MySpace or the game forums or finding crazy shit on teh interwub. And I don't have to work. And it's still morning with most of the day ahead. And, since I'm sick, I might call off work tomorrow and get to do this again.

I won't lie, I could probably go to work and tough it out, but whatever I have is most likely contagious, otherwise how would I have gotten it? It would probably be wise to stay home. We'll see how I feel tomorrow.

Christmas was cool, I got:

A book titled "Jonathon Strange"
A bunch of candy
A bunch of socks (this is my favorite gift)
A shirt with a weird skull on it
Some black t-shirts
A 50 dollar Target gift card
A 30 dollar Visa gift card
A 20 dollar Papa Johns card
A Sarah Brightman cd (oook, thanks mom :p )
The title to my car, finally transferred over to me (I bought it from my mom, finished paying for it in '06)
Some sausage and cheese
Some smoked salmon from Alaska
Some Krispy Kreme Krullers

Friday, December 26, 2008

Relieved

Yesterday morning I went to work and was feeling all depressed again. Thankfully I was let off work early and I went to my sisters straight after that.

Well, it turns out I'm not depressed after all. I'm just sick. Almost immediately after arriving at my sisters, I started getting physically ill... cough, sore throat, chills, fever, sneezing, runny nose, the works. I do find it decidedly odd, though, that getting sick was prefaced by this horrible depression. That's never happened before.

Anyway, I've never been so glad to be sick in my life. Now that the physical part has kicked in full force, the mental part has pretty much gone away. I was really getting worried there for a while. Nothing is worse than that deep, dark clinical depression, the kind where you have to constantly fight minute by minute to hold back tears. Yuck. I hate it. I hope it never comes back again. EVER.

I'll see my mom today and she'll take care of poor widdle me.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day

Thank the maker. Today I got off work early. Ryan shows up late again, of course, but it's not like it's a biggie. We're dead on Christmas. So he rolls in at about 7:45. Sup Ryan. Merry Christmas. I told him about how I went into berzerker mode yesterday.

Terry calls and wants Ryan to start the paperwork. I tell him this. He says that maybe that means Terry is going to finish it and he'll get to go home early. Yeah, maybe.

Terry gets there and wants a cigarette count and one of us can go home after it's finished. Ryan volunteered to stay. I told him that I owe him one.

My brother came to the store and took the car keys. He's at my sisters, where I'm going to go in a while. He said he'll pick me up at 2:00 but I just walked home. I get to be alone for a while.

I'm feeling it again today. This sucks. I'm going to sit here alone for a while because I rarely get this chance. I haven't been drunk or even had a drink in over a year. I think I'll catch a buzz at Chey's today. It will probably put me in a better mood.

My mom and stepdad are coming to Denton tomorrow. I have the next three days off to celebrate Christmas with them and my brother and my sister and John. They're both getting old (my mom and Ed). I think I might lie down and never get up when she dies. I don't like thinking about it.

Merry Christmas everybody. I hope it's a good one. :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bad Day

Today I felt like a zombie. The day started normally and then I got to work and I couldn't work up the motivation for anything. I was walking in slow motion. I couldn't look anybody in the eye. I caught myself stopping what I was doing and staring off into space. Several people asked me what was wrong. I dunno, I would say. It got worse and worse. It started feeling like depression. I don't understand that. I haven't felt depressed, like that anyway, for years. My brother says it's because of the holidays. No it's not. It's not because of anything. It is pretty damn random and pretty damn wierd. It lasted until about 12:00 and then the shit hit the fan.

The shelf with all of the chips and cookies that stands under the heat lamp where we put the breakfast sandwiches decided to take a magical mystery tour of the store. One minute I'm staring off into space, the next WHUMP. I jumped a little and turn to see chips and cookies and sunflower seeds scattered all over the floor with the shelf lying there in 3 pieces. I stared some more. People came in and giggled. I didn't giggle. I walked around the counter and looked at it. I walked back behind the counter and got 3 trash bags. I started putting stuff in the bags. Chips. Sunflower seeds. Cookies. A little kid tried to help. No thanks, I said. I started to get a little bit pissed. I started to chuck the stuff into the bag. I started to throw the stuff into the bag. I started to throw the stuff over the counter. I stood up and grabbed a piece of the shelf and HEAVED it off of the floor. This caused chips and cookies to go flying everywhere. I manhandled that fucking thing back behind the counter and SLAMMED it into the floor. I went back and grabbed another piece. One of the bags was caught on it. I HEAVED that one too and the bag went flying, sending more chips and cookies on various trajectories. Customers stopped to look. I looked at the customers. Now and then I'd have to stop to take some money from one of those fuckers. I was not nice to them and they scurried out of the store with their tails between their legs. Finally one guy who came in earlier knelt down and started throwing shit in the bag. "Here, let me give you a hand. You want these in the bag?" I was about to tell him to go fuck himself, but I just nodded my head. So we got all of the crap put into bags and I said "thanks" to the guy.

After that I started feeling a little bit closer to normal, but shit still ain't right. This is wierd and unprecedented and unaccountable. I'll sleep on it tonight and we'll see what happens tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In the morning

YAWN :::smack smack::: (stretch) Huh? :::fumbles around for the light switch::: (hey, there's light. yay) :::grabs laptop off of the floor, logs onto MySpace:::

Oh. Well, I didn't post a blog last night because I was just tired I guess. I watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail and then went to beddy bye.

(lets see, what else is going on today before the drudgery of life begins in earnest)

:::looks up Bjork Homogenic song lyrics:::

"I tried to organize freedom, how Scandinavian of me."

Ah, the song is Hunter. Funny that I didn't realize that. It's the first song on the album.

:::browses the game forums for a while, defends honor, dishes out some wisdom, puts the smack down on an uppity teenager for getting smart, glances at clock:::

(oh shit, it's already 5:16. sonofabitch)

:::gets up to take a shower:::

(screw it, too damn cold in the bathroom)

:::crawls back in bed:::

(live, from space.com)

"So, get out your 2009 calendar and put a big circle around Saturday morning, Jan. 3. That's the expected peak date for the Quadrantids, a notoriously unpredictable meteor display. In 2009, peak activity is due to occur in the pre-dawn hours of Jan. 3 and will strongly favor western North America."

(hmmm, if it's not cloudy maybe I'll get up an hour or two early and check em out)

:::eyes closed, trying to stop time:::

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A dream - degenerate matter

We were traveling through the void, the ship and I. How long we had been traveling, I can't say. Time didn't seem to have much meaning for us, as the stretch of awareness which I was currently experiencing had just seemed to fade in from black oblivion, condensing out of nothingness. When I tried to remember back to something else, I only encountered the frayed ends of existence. It didn't matter.

The ship's representation appeared before me on a large computer screen. It was just an abstract jumble of lines which vaguely formed the features of a face. Noticing the screen for the first time, I took note of my immediate surroundings. Everything around me was gray and featureless, and I found myself strapped into a comfortable reclining seat. I turned my attention back to the face on the screen.

"We are going to encounter degenerate matter soon. I won't be able to continue, it will be the end of my mission. You must be my eyes."

"But how?"

"I will give you mine. You will be in contact with me until the last second. I will relay you all information that I can gather."

Suddenly my awareness was outside the ship. I could see it in front of me, heading for a bright object which was radiating fiercely in all spectra. Then I saw myself. I was a ring of components sailing along behind the ship, recently detached. As I watched, another ring detached from the ship. I knew that this ring was the ships' eyes. I willed my ring towards the eye ring. We touched, and together formed two rings which joined at a common tangent. My view backed away until I could encompass the entire system. We were heading straight for a dense ball of degenerate matter, the source of the radiation. With the ships' eyes, I could see every band of the electromagnetic spectrum, from gamma radiation to radio waves, as the energy was thrown violently into space. This energy acted like a kind of wind, and with my 'infinity' configuration, I was able to spread out like a sail and catch these rays. The powerful rays buffeted me violently, slowing my forward velocity and eventually reversing my direction. The ship, however, had also spread itself into a new configuration. It became a sparse net which passed the battering ram of energy through it evenly and cleanly. The ship actually sped up as the gravity of the degenerate matter gained more and more influence, and slowly the core became visible.

Seeing with the eyes of the ship, I magnified the dense ball until I could make out it's structure. It looked like a cluster of red spheres, all of them close together and touching, with a soft, snowy material acting as a kind of mortar that held the spheres together. I only got to observe the detail closely for a few seconds before the ship slammed into it at close to the speed of light.

The explosion was spectacular. I have it all recorded. As I play it back in slow motion, I can see the cluster of spheres starting to expand as the ship impacts it's surface. A tiny explosion bursts forth, lighting the snowy material and causing much of it to evaporate. As the explosion gains force and grows, the spheres start to unravel until they become flat hexagonal planes which meet and join, forming a kind of soccer ball pattern. This new configuration continues to expand, and even with the video slowed down to millions of frames per second, the speed with which it grows is marked. My view zooms out as the sphere grows, keeping it within the viewframe. Finally, a critical threshold is reached, and the hexagonal structure flies apart, releasing a bright, surging turmoil of energy. Once this energy is free, the explosion increases it's expansion exponentially. The shock wave finally reaches me and I am pushed violently away. The explosion continues to grow and grow, until it encompasses the entirety of existence, and I am finally pushed beyond the boundaries of the cosmos. As I drift aimlessly and eternally, once again surrounded by void, I realize forever that I have witnessed the birth of a new universe.

A dream - things to come

It was damp and overcast as I walked down the empty suburban street. Everything was still and quiet. There were no cars parked anywhere, and no other people visible. There was a chill in the air, and the humidity made my breath come out in dense white clouds. Everything was described in oppressive shades of grey. The only sound was the noise of my feet striking the sidewalk, and that was muted and dull. There was a thin fog, not enough to really obscure anything, but objects in the distance looked as though they were only partially there, as if my reality was traveling through a phantom world that only took on substance as I approached. I tried a shout, just to break the oppressive silence. The sound was instantly smothered and clipped short, as if by dense cotton, with nary an echo. I put my hands in my pockets and concentrated on the sidewalk. I had a green pillow tucked under my arm. At least, it was supposed to be green. I remember it being green, anyway... but here it was just grey.

After a while I heard something behind me. It was another set of muted footsteps. I turned and saw a girl following, just barely visible on the edge of the fog. She was wearing a green button down shirt and blue jeans, and her hair was pulled back. She had her hands in her pockets, the same as me, and was studying the sidewalk in front of her, the same as me. I continued walking, looking back every now and then, but she never looked up. I realized that her green shirt was the only color besides grey that was visible anywhere. I thought about that for a while, and then realized that her shirt was a Subway shirt. You know, the sandwich place. I seemed to remember them being red before, but they were green now, apparently. I wondered if she was walking to work. I tried to sync my steps with hers, but every time I managed to merge the sounds together, she would move them out of sync again. It sounded like my footsteps were echoing. After a while I stopped trying to sync the sounds, as I rather enjoyed the false echo. It made things seem less oppressive. Maybe she was doing that on purpose.

I finally came to an intersection and stopped. I expected to find my car parked there. It wasn't. This was quite a shock to me, that plus the realization that I had been walking here expecting to find it. I cut across somebody's yard stopped at the curb where my car was supposed to be parked. I looked around frantically, panic building. Apparently, someone had stolen my car. I tried to scream out loud, and I know that I meant to shout "Somebody stole my car!", but it only came out as a stammer, a series of smothered sounds that were supposed to be words but were only noises. I fell to my knees, dismayed and broken. I covered my hands with my face and I sobbed quietly. After a while, I wiped my hands on my pants and looked up. To my right I saw an old couple on the front lawn of the house which this particular curb served, the one I had cut across. They were raising an American flag. There was no color in the flag; it was all grey, and as they raised it, it disappeared into the dense fog. This surprised me, and it was then that I noticed for the first time that the tops of all of the houses and trees were obscured by a low ceiling of fog. I tried calling out to the old couple, to ask if they had seen my car. The words came out jumbled again and were immediately smothered by the cotton effect. The old couple regarded me for a few seconds, then went inside.

I suddenly felt extremely tired so I laid down on the sidewalk with the pillow under my head. I was just about to drift off when I heard the muted footsteps approaching. I opened my eyes and saw two sandal clad feet stop right in front of me. I looked up. It was the Subway girl with the green shirt. She sat down next to me. After a while, she snatched my pillow away.

"Hey, give that back." Funny, I was able to talk again.

"No. You don't need it. I want it."

I couldn't think of anything else to say immediately, so I just laid my head back down on the concrete.

"Do you see that bird over there?"

"Huh?" She was talking again. I propped myself up on an elbow and looked around. The girl was pointing to a black bird which was hopping around on the lawn of the old couple. I confirmed that I did in fact see the bird.

"Watch what it does."

I watched. The bird hopped towards us and then stopped. Then it hopped again. It was finally on the sidewalk beside me. I stared at it intently. It stared back. Then it pecked my arm.

"Ow!" I sat up and rubbed my arm. The girl was laughing. I tried to reach for the pillow but she pulled it out of my reach.

"Do you know who stole my car?"

"I think Clint took it. You knew that though, why ask me?"

I laid back down on the sidewalk, on my back this time, and covered my eyes with my forearm. Yeah, I guess I did know that after all. Clint had taken the car, and he would likely crash it or get it impounded or something. The girl stretched out and put her legs on my stomach. I looked at her legs and then looked at her, reclining easily on my pillow. I massaged her leg distractedly.

"Do you work at Subway?"

She didn't reply. Instead, she leaned over and kissed me gently on the lips.

OWWW

This morning at, oh... around 3:00 am, I woke up and decided to read a little. It was chilly in my room so I turned the heater up some and got back in bed. This didn't satisfy me immediately, so I reached down on the floor to grab the shirt I was wearing yesterday... and immediately snatched it back. Ow! MOTHERFUCKER! SOMETHING FUCKING STUNG MY FINGER! FUCKING FUCKING COCKSUCKER SHIT! I shook my hand like it was on fire, because it sure as hell felt like it. I fumbled around on my nightstand for my lighter so I could light the oil lamp. Waves of pain corruscated from my finger as I flicked the lighter, forcing me to stop and shake my hand again and then flick again and then shake again, flick shake, flick shake flick shake. Finally the pain settled down to something bearable after about a minute, and I was able to get the lamp lit. I turned it up and held my finger up to the light, examining it intently for the injury. I couldn't see anything at all. It wasn't red, it wasn't swollen, there wasn't a bite mark, nothing. After about another minute, the pain had faded completely. Well, by that time I was in no mood to stay up and read, what with excruciating pain being one of the first sensations of the day, so I blew out the lamp and went back to sleep.

At about 5:30 I woke up again and decided to give it another go. I lit the lamp first and put it on the floor. I got out of bed and examined the area around my shirt, searching for signs of whatever it was that had caused me grievous harm earlier. I didn't find anything, so I carefully picked up my shirt and gave it a thorough going over. Finally satisfied, I put on my shirt and proceeded to start a new novel by Orson Scott Card called Invasive Procedures. It's a medical thriller, not the usual fare by this author, but he's never let me down. I was just starting to get into it, when lo and behold, a god damn hornet lands on my lap. You little motherfucker, I thought, as I carefully closed my book and SLAMMED IT DOWN ON THAT FUCKER WITH ALL MY MIGHT. Now, hornets are tough little bastards, so I was sure that it was still alive and wriggling under the book, as it was pressed against my soft blanket. I looked around and found a piece of paper, which I folded up twice, and carefully lifted the covers and the book and reached underneath and SMASHED. After holding it there for about 30 seconds, I carefully lifted the book. Yup, it was still alive and wriggling, so I picked it up with the paper and folded it up inside about 3 times, then shoved the whole thing into an empty orange juice bottle that was on my night stand. Bye bye hornet, you shouldn't have stung me you fucker, now you get to die crushed and suffocating in a plastic bottle.

I am somewhat surprised however that there is no mark on my finger at all. I've been stung by wasps and bees before, and invariably there will be a red, swollen area with a small little prick mark where the sting occured. Not so with the hornet. Weird. I guess hornets just ain't got shit on me.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Graveyard Shift

Last night at about 9:00 pm a cold front blew in. It went from 70 degrees to 30 degrees in a matter of minutes. I had already washed what I was going to wear to work (in the bathroom sink with dishwashing detergent) and dried them (center oven rack at 225 degrees) so I had no choice but to wear them, as everything else was dirty. These articles consisted of a plain black polo shirt, undistinguishable from any other plain black polo shirt except for '7-Eleven' printed unobtrusively along the edge of the left sleeve, a pair of socks (they match), and some khaki colored shorts that have that built in underwear that's a kind of a synthetic knit fabric or something. Like a swimsuit but not a swimsuit, as it has pockets and stuff. I hadn't been outside since about 8:30 when I hooked up my inverter to the cigarette lighter in the car for the purpose of providing my laptop with power, so after getting dressed, I opened the door. My face, arms and legs (the bare parts of my body) are immediately ensconced in freezing cold air.

At first I didn't really process that information because I could have sworn that an hour ago it was 70 degrees outside. I even almost fooled myself into chalking it up as some kind of tactile hallucination, but halfway to the car I had to turn around and go back in the house for a jacket. Damn, and there I was in the only clean clothes I own currently, most significantly the pair of khaki shorts. I imagined that I would be suffering some freezing cold cigarette breaks later on, which turned out to be true.

So, I worked with David last night, the new Chinese American guy. Up until I started working with him, I hadn't been sure what to expect from the guy, as I had heard reports that he was kind of... well, slow. This turned out not to be the case. Not only was David probably just as smart as the next Joe Schmoe, he's also just about the friendliest peson I've ever met, aside from this guy named Eddie who I used to work with at The Alps Restaurant in Mt. Pleasant (my old stomping grounds in East Texas). Anyway, like I was saying, David is just uber friendly and a very likeable guy. I quite enjoyed working with him, as he always had something to say and seemed genuinely interested in whatever I had to say. He was extremely eager to learn new things, so I showed him how to do write-offs, how to enter data into the MOT, and oddly enough, how to sweep. He actually asked me if I would show him how to sweep! I thought this an odd enough request, but I obliged him and before he knew it, he was sweeping like a pro. His only real problem that I noticed last night was when he was selling beer. Occassionally a group (usually three or four) of young kids would all be at the counter with one of them purchasing a 12 pack or whatever. Now, Texas state law requires that we card not only the person who is purchasing the beer, but everyone who is obviously with that person. The reason for this is because some of them might be underaged, even if the purchaser is over 21. In the eyes of the law, the person purchasing the beer could realistically be buying it for one of the accompanying minors, and if we sell it to that person without carding everyone and one of them turns out to be a minor, we could be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and go straight to jail. So ANYWAY...

Several times David was presented with this situation, and each time he would only card the one person. Each time I would advise him that he should card everyone in the group. After a few times, I felt like I might have been coming off as a nag, so I told him that I was only trying to look out for him because I didn't want him to go to jail (which was true). Once I mentioned jail, he sat up and took notice. Well, as it turns out, we have both been to city lockup before and neither one of us had found it to be a pleasant experience. After that he carded pretty much everyone.

The rest of the night passed uneventfully with both of us growing progressively more weary as the minutes dragged on. I'd have to go outside for a smoke for the sole reason that the freezing cold would wake me up somewhat. When I went into the cooler to stock it after coming in from outside, it actually felt pleasant in there. So, David and I both stayed in the cooler for a good long while stocking beer and gatorade and water and all the other various shit that needs to get stocked in the cooler.

The end of the shift finally arrived, as shift endings are wont to do, even though it seemed like a small eternity before it happened, especially because Mike C. was running about 15 minutes late. This was going to REALLY piss me off if it got much later with him not showing up, as he had been at the store earlier, at around 3:00 am, riding out the tail end of a late night drunk. This didn't seem like a very wise thing to do, getting drunk the night before you're supposed to work, and actually being drunk three hours before you're scheduled to show up, but hell, I'd be lying if I said I hadn't ever done it. However, with Mike C. growing later with every passig moment, I could only visualize him passed out somewhere, oblivious to the fact that his presence was required immediately at the local 7-Eleven so that I could scoot my happy ass home.

Terry arrived at about 6:15 and proceeded to call Mike C., who conveniently wasn't answering his phone. By 6:20 I asked Terry if I could go ahead and count my drawer, and with a furrowed brow he agreed. After I counted my drawer, at about 6:28, Mike C. came staggering in. 'The prodigal son returns!' I exclaimed loudly and with marked enthusiasm. He just kind of grunted and continued walking towards the office, his head lowered, his shoulders hunched, his eyes half closed, walking with a shuffling motion in which his feet never actually lifted from the floor... they just kind of slid-scooted-stumbled the rest of his body forward. Poor guy. Oh well, I'm done, that's all that matters.

After that, Terry gave me my performance review. I got called on dress code adherance, due to my ubiquitous 5 o'clock shadow, plus he said that sometimes I wear too much jewelry and that I shouldn't wear rings that are 'spiky'. I'll keep that in mind in case I am ever tempted to wear a spiky ring. And that 7-Eleven employees are only allowed to wear two earrings. I'm wearing two earrings, so why did he point that out? I think that what he really wanted to say was that I personally am not allowed to wear any earrings. I'm pretty sure he has a problem with any earrings I might be wearing, plus my long hair, as he actually asked me if I would cut it when he was giving me my interview way back when. I thought this a rather odd thing to say, as I, Ryan, Patrick, and just about everybody else have been wearing shorts to work since before summer, and Terry has never said anything about it at all. Anyway, I wound up getting mostly A's and a couple of B's (I assume those are good grades).

The review finished, I packed up my laptop, put on my jacket, shouldered my backpack and began to make my way to the front door with the intention of vacating the premises real quick and in a hurry. I make my farewells to Mike C. and David and Terry and they all reply in kind. Terry is hold the MOT and studying it intently as I reach for the door, when he says 'Oh, you didn't get to order anything, huh?'

? thought I. Order? WTF? I ordered everything yesterday. Snacks... fountain drinks... coffee... cleaning items... 'Holy crap,' I said, 'I totally forgot to order the CDC.' I curse out loud. 'Dammit! Mother F'er! Crap on a cracker!' So I tell Terry that I'll stay and order the CDC, which I do, and I finally walk out of the store at about 7:30 am.

Acronyms

An interesting occurrence today... I discovered 70 dollars in my PayPal account. OMG LOL WTF BRB GTG ROFL LMFAO BBQ TTYL WTH IMO BTW PWN TEH NOOBZ!!!11!1!! I wasn't expecting that. I merely checked it to see if I at least had a dollar or two to buy some smokes so I wouldn't have to payroll them AGAIN.

So, now I have a new inverter for my car and I am sitting once more in my living room with a fully charged laptop. No more hoofing it to the campus. I don't even have to charge it at work anymore, but as long as I'm on 3rd shift, I'm taking it with me because it gets hella boring up there after about 3:00 am.

Now, as to that 70 dollars. I really have no idea why it's there. I remember transferring some funds from my bank account a couple of months ago so I could buy something online, but I could have sworn I had transferred only enough for the purchase. Hmmm... a miracle, perhaps? Nah, if it were a miracle, It would have been enough to pay the electric bill.

Thusly armed, I drove to Wally World and bought that inverter, plus some more lamp oil and about 8 of these little oil candle things - supposedly they last for about 20 hours. Anyway, the price on the shelf said $1.69 for each one, but when I took two of them to the register they rang up as 20 cents each. I even pointed out to the cashier that they were supposed to be a buck 69, but she said no, they're 20 cents. Ok, says I, so I went back and gathered up 6 more. I was tempted to buy every single one of them but that would be piggish.

So now I have two oil lamps, two oil lanterns, and eight oil candles all burning and my living room is bright and cozy.

One more thing before work

My dog, who is insane, is busy pacing back and forth like a lunatic from the bedroom to the living room. And a while ago he was making the nastiest lickingest sounds as he chowed down on his ass. Schlorp schluck schlorp schlop schluck schlorp schlop. It was disgusting.

With the electricity cut off, there is no background noise like my fan or the fridge, so I hear every little miniscule noise that dog makes as I'm lying in bed trying to sleep. Ironically, it's not so bad when I'm sleeping during the day, as I have been doing lately because I'm working nights... but this dog is, like I said, insane and afraid of just about everything except for the living room sofa. So, he doesn't eat or drink until the middle of the damn night because he's afraid to during the day, and I can hear every irritating crunch of the dog food, every lappity splash as his tongue dips into and out of his water dish, every scritch as he scratches himself in the same exact spot every single day (he likes to be pet there so he scratches it himself), and every pad of his skittish little doggy feet as he paces back and forth from one room to another like the fruitcake he is.

Sometimes when he's making these little noises while I'm trying to sleep, I seriously want to get up and kick the damn dog. But instead, I grab his food and water bowl and take them into my room and shut the door. Then, I prop the broom up in the living room doorway that leads to the kitchen because he is petrified shitless of the broom (as he is of every object or item that isn't the sofa). Thusly barricaded, he won't go near the doorway with the broom standing sentinel, so he stays either in the kitchen or my brothers room.

Now, it may sound like I hate my dog. This is not true. When I'm not trying to sleep, or when my fan is providing adequate background noise, his little noises don't irritate me at all because 1. when the fan is going I can't hear them, and 2. when I'm not trying to sleep they don't bother me. He can be a playful dog, say... in the middle of the night, outside in the front yard, when there are no cars going by, and when there are no people taking walks. In those circumstances, he'll run around and wag his tail and play 'tag' with you. And when he's on the couch, he's like that too, except there's no room for him to run around and play tag, so he just crawls on your lap with his front legs (he's about 50 pounds) and basks in ecstasy while I scratch him in that place he likes to get scratched (the place that makes his back leg thump) and behind his ears. Sometimes as a special treat to brighten up his little doggy existence which is filled with so much terror on a daily basis, I'll make some beef broth and pour it over his food. He likes that.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Choice tidbits

I've been working graveyards for the past few days. Drunken idiots abound during the small hours, especially on the weekends after the bars close. Here are a few choice tidbits:

Sloppy drunk chick: Hey, I wantsh a taquito. Can I gesh a taquito?
Me: (rings it up) Do you want anything else?
Sloppy drunk chick: Yeah, some cock.


Flamboyantly gay drunk guy: (picks up a magazine with Michael Phelps on the cover) Hey, can I buy just the cover of this magazine? He is SOOOO hot! (hugs the magazine to his chest)
Me: (no reply to a question like that)


Really really stoned guy: Hey, whats up! Can you run these lotto tickets through and see if they are winners? I need 20 million dollars so I can buy some WMD's to prove that Bush was right. What? No winners? That can't be right, run em again! Oh well, ok how much? $36.00?? For beer and cigarettes? Well, hell, there goes all of my hard earned drug money. Oh, and run this ticket through also, I think it's worth a couple of mil. What? Two dollars? Hell, ok just give me the cash. No, wait, give me a Weekly Grand. See those guys standing around out there? I'm taking my time just to piss them off, they're waiting for me. I'm buying the beer, so they have to wait! HAHAHA. They can't outrun me anyway. HAHAHA... (etc.)


(two drunk douche bags wearing sunglasses at night)
douche bag 1: (yelling across the store) Hey, what kind of donut you want?
Douche bag 2: (standing at the counter, yells back) Powdered! No, glazed! No, frosted! No, chocolate! No, glazed! No, powdered!
Douche bag 1: (approaches counter with donuts) I bet you have to deal with a lot of drunken idiots late at night, huh?
Me: Yup.
Douche bag 2: We're not drunk though.
Douche bag 1: No, we're not drunk. This job must suck, huh?
Me: It has it's moments.
Douche bag 1: What time do you get off? How long are you stuck in this hell hole?
Me: About 3 hours from now, at 6:00 am.
Douche bag 2: 6:00 am? DAYUM! That sucks! You must really hate this job!
Me: I deal with it ok.
Douche bag 1: Hey man, hey man, we need smokes! Don't forget the smokes, man!
Douche bag 2: Are you guys still selling beer?
Me: No.
Douche bag 2: Dammit! What time did they stop selling it?
Douche bag 1: What time did you stop selling it?
Me: 1:00 am.
Douche bag 1: Damn, that sucks! Why they hell do they do that? Stop selling beer?
Douche bag 2: I don't know man, but it sucks!
(they gather their shit and leave, I step outside for a smoke)
Douche bag 1: (approaches pushing a shopping cart filled with rocks, real estate signs, and broken pieces of wood) Hey man, do you want some rocks? I've got rocks in here.
Me: Nah, that's ok. You keep them.
Douche bag 2: Where the hell did we get this shopping cart, man? Oh shit, we need a ramp or something, I can't push this thing over the curb!
Douche bag 1: What am I gonna do with these rocks?
Douche bag 2: Let's put them in a circle and build a fire!
Douche bag 1: Yeah! (they walk away pushing the cart) Thanks 7-Eleven guy!


Some weird freaky looking guy: (he's in the bathroom for 30 minutes)
Random customers: Hey, whats up with the bathroom? It won't open.
Me: Somebody's in there.
Some weird freaky looking guy: (walks out of the bathroom carrying a large duffel bag) Hey, do you have a comb I can borrow?
Me: Uh... no, not personally, but you can buy one. They're over there.
Some weird freaky looking guy: Oh, ok, thanks man. (wanders over to the comb section, peruses them, then walks up to the counter and just stands there for a while)
Me: (I just stand there for a while too)
Some weird freaky looking guy: (opens his wallet and extracts a VISA card, then looks at the pinpad REALLY closely, his glasses are actually touching it, mumbles something)
Me: (I stand and watch)
Some weird freaky looking guy: (runs his card through the reader repeatedly, mumbling all the while)
Me: That won't work unless you're actually buying something.
Some weird freaky looking guy: Huh? Oh. (wanders over to the coffee bar and fills a cup with hot water) Hey man, how much for the cup?
Me: Nothing.
Some weird freaky looking guy: Ok, cool. (works his way slowly over to the nutritional bar rack)
Me: (keeping an eye on him)
Some weird freaky looking guy: (picks up two Nutri Grain bars and a bag of chips, then stands there for a while)
Me: (keeping an eye on him)
Some weird freaky looking guy: (looks at me briefly, walks to the back of the store, hangs out for a minute or two, then walks towards the door)
Me: Would you like to pay for those Nutri Grain bars and that bag of chips now?
Some weird freaky looking guy: Huh? (looks around nervously, pats at his zipped up jacket, acting confused)
Me: I saw you walk to the back of the store with them. Would you like to pay for them now?
Some weird freaky looking guy: (stands there looking nervous and confused some more, then walks down an aisle with his back to me and subtly puts the chips and Nutri Grain bars on a merchandise rack, then turns around and picks them up) Oh, you mean these? Nah, I don't want them. (he brings them to the counter)
Me: Thanks. (I put them back)
Some weird freaky looking guy: (walking out the door) Hey man, is it clear weather outside?
Me: Uh, I couldn't say. It's pretty dark out there and I can't really see the sky from here.
Some weird freaky looking guy: Oh, ok... (mumbles something and leaves, then pops back in) I'll be back for some more hot water later. (leaves the store)


Those are just a few. My laptop is getting low on power now so I'll post some more later.

CRITICAL UPDATE

Yes, the electricity is still off.
No, my inverter doesn't work anymore.
Yes, I have to hoof it to the college library to charge my laptop.
No, it doesn't last for four hours.
Yes, it lasts for about two.
No, I'm not enjoying third shift.
Yes, there are some amusing drunk people who show up late at night.
No, I'm not asleep right now.
Yes, I should be.
No, I don't want to go in tonight.
Yes, I am however looking forward to the new crop of drunks.
No, I haven't updated my blog enough lately.
Yes, it's because my laptop battery is usually drained.
No, I can't think of any more crap to type.
Yes, I'm going to hit the sack for a few hours.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Victory!

My previous blog entry, I'm certain, left everyone in a breathless state of panic, wondering how I would manage to extricate myself from these dire straits which threaten my very well being. Fear not goodpersons, for all is well. By employing my ingenuity and resourcefulness, I have managed to 'stick it to the man' in a most satisfying way.

As I type this, I am sitting on my couch and basking in the soft, comfortable glow of a shaded electric lamp, while my laptop computer is enjoying full power. How did I accomplish this? you might ask in wonderment. Here is the situation:

Currently, my car is parked in my driveway, idling. Follow an extension cord (to which the lamp and laptop are attached) and you will see that it travels through the drivers side window. The extension cord is plugged into a power inverter, which rests comfortably on the center console. The power inverter, in turn, is plugged into the cigarette lighter, which by way of the idling engine, provides the ample power that runs the laptop and lamp. All the comforts of electricity, and I am still able to enjoy the warmth of a well heated living room while my dinner cooks.

How is this possible? Why, I paid my gas bill, of course. Dinner and a comfortable environment shall not be denied.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Electricity

My electricity got shut off the other day. Why? Because I hate opening mail. I just flat out ignored my bill. It came as a total surprise when all the lights and fans and stuff went off. At first I thought that it was a neighborhood thing, that somebody had crashed into a telephone pole or a transformer had blown or something. I walked to my front door and looked outside, expecting to see others doing the same thing soon. I stood alone for a while. I went back inside and scratched my head and went to the fridge and opened it. The light didn't come on. Damn. I went back in my room and my fan wasn't blowing, so I turned it on. It was already on. Damn... oh yeah, the electricity. I sat down and read for a while, waiting for it to fix itself. About an hour went by and I went to the freezer to get a popsicle. I didn't hear any motors whirring or anything. WTF? I got a popsicle anyway. I went back in my room and was just about to turn on my fan... oh yeah. Electricity. I sat back down and read some more. Another hour went by and then I realized that all the electricity was off. WTF? I got up again and tried to turn on the bathroom light. It wouldn't come on. Shit. I turned on the water at the sink... hey, we still have water. About this time it occured to me that I might better start looking for the bill. I rummaged around for the better part of half an hour and finally found it shoved in a drawer in the living room lamp table. I opened it and sure enough, it had been shut off. Dammit.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Oh yeah...

I forgot about what happened the other day at work. Lets see, it was... Saturday, I think, and I was there alone because Ryan had gone to the bank. So this guy comes in and wants some cigarettes. I ask him for his ID, and by the look he gives me and the vocal inflection as he says 'yes', it seems as though he is put out by this, and doesn't immediately produce it. Instead, he pulls out his credit card and swipes it. Well, I can't run his card until I verify his ID by pressing a button on the screen, so I ask him again if i can see his ID. He looks daggers at me and says 'YES!' in a loud, obnoxious voice. So he opens his wallet and shows it to me. Well, I can get irritated just like everybody else, so I ask him to remove his ID from his wallet. Just because I can. So he throws his wallet on the counter and says 'You remove it. You can see that I'm injured here.' He raises his hand, and one of his fingers has a metal brace with a bandage wrapped around it. I hadn't noticed this before, so I say 'no, I didn't see that'. Anyway, he says 'forget it, I'll get my cigarettes somewhere else,' and he stalks off.

This fairly pisses me off, so as he's half way out the door, I do something I probably shouldn't have done. I say one word... 'attitude', fairly loudly, so that he can hear me. He's standing there with the door half open and he says something back to me, but I can't understand what it was. I wish I had heard what he said. Then he leaves.

In the entire year of working at 7-Eleven, I've never talked back to a customer or expressed anger in any way. I'm usually pretty good at holding it in, and I think I was pretty good there too. After all, I only said one word, and I didn't go off on him like I used to go off on people when I worked at Stop & Go back in '94.

I thought of some good things that I could have said to him after the fact that would have been completely in line and non-abrasive but which still would have put him in his place, but dammit, that's always the case. I can never think of the right thing to say at the moment when it's required.

Wake up

I fell asleep last night watching The Darjeeling Limited. I did that the other night watching Iron Man. I always wake up when the credits start to roll though, every time I fall asleep during a movie. It's like my brain is still listening to the movie, and now that the boring stuff is done, it's time to wake up so WAKE UP! Anyway, at the end of The Darjeeling Limited, a song is playing called Champs Elysees by NOFX. I dunno what else to say, it's just playing. Well, I take it back. I'll say this. It had a strange impact on my half-awake mind last night. The last time that happened was when I woke up to Porcelina by The Smashing Pumpkins, and before that, when I fell asleep to The Modern Things by Bjork. It really does make the song (usually it's a song, since I'm half-asleep and only hearing it) more... I dunno. Carved thusly into the brain or something. It's a singular experience, I suggest whoever reads this should try it. Although it isn't something you really plan, it just happens. Oh well.

Anyway it's morning now and my day off. It's cold. And last night was nice with the heater but dammit now it's too hot, so I turn it off and it gets too damn cold, wtf. So, what to do with my day off... hmmm... I think I'll read some more and maybe watch The Darjeeling Limited again. I think I'll watch all of Wes Andersons movies today, all in a row, starting from oldest to newest:

Bottle Rockets
Rushmore
The Royal Tenenbaums
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
The Darjeeling Limited

Yeah, that's a great way to piss off an entire day. I'm looking forward to it. But first:

je m'baladais sur l'avenue,
le coeur ouvert a l'inconnu.
j'a vais envie de dire bonjour a n'importe

qui n'importe qui et ce fut toi,
je t'ai dit n'importe quoi,
il suffisait de te parler,
pour t'apprivoiser.

aux champs-יlysיes,
aux champs-יlysיes
au soleil, sous la pluie, a midi ou a minuit,
il y a tout ce que vous voulez aux champs-יlysיes

tu m'as dit "j'ai rendez-vous
dans un sous-sol avec des fous,
qui vivent la guitare a la main,
du soir au matin".

alors je t'ai accompagnיe,
on a chantי, on a dansי et l'on n'a
mךme pas pensי a s'embrasser

aux champs-יlysיes,
aux champs-יlysיes
au soleil, sous la pluie, a midi ou a minuit,
il y a tout ce que vous voulez aux champs-יlysיes

Those are the lyrics to Champs Eylsees. If anyone knows what they mean, clue me in please. I can't find a translation.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Fun at Work

So Today is Thanksgiving and I have to work. Whaaaa poor me. Well somebody had to do it, I guess, and now I can be a martyr for the cause. What cause? I dunno. I just like answering customers when they ask me what I'm doing for Thanksgiving with a sigh and a "Oh, I have to work, no Thankgiving for me" and then a downcast look and another sigh. Oh, I'll have Thanksgiving after work, I think. I'm not sure.. anyway, at some point I'm supposed to go to my sisters, I don't know what day exactly. It's not very organized this year, what with me, the revolving point of everyone's lives, throwing everything into chaos by working. Anyway, a few customers promised to bring me pie and plates of food and stuff. We'll see which ones make my good karma list.

So yesterday, I was at the coffee bar and this lady is there, POURING her coffee into the trash can. I see this, and automatically a Mr. Miagi "HAT -T -T-T-T-TTT!!" escapes from my mouth as I reach over and pause before presuming to grab her wrist or her coffee cup. Well, this kind of freaks her out and she jerks the cup back, sending coffee flying in that ballistic way that gravity sends liquids when yanked or jerked or launched, and she says, "Oh, my bad, sorry, I'm so sorry, oh oh oh, sorry...". So I tell her it's ok, of course, everything is really ok, didn't mean to freak you out, it's no biggie, people do it all the time (lie, nobody has ever poured a cup of coffee down the trash that I've actually seen) I'll take care of that for you, and I take the cup and pour it down the sink. Whew. It feels like a close one, even though the coffee can is now full of wet coffee. But at least the customer didn't break out into tears.

Later this young cutie tries to buy some grape cigarillos. Maybe she thinks she'll get them on looks alone, but I ask for her ID. "Oh come on, you've got to be kidding, I come in here all the time" (I've never EVER seen her in the store and I've been working there for a year) "I always buy cigarettes." Sorry. "Really?" Yes, sorry. It's a state law. "You're awesome," she says with a roll of the eyes, and stalks out to where her boyfriend is airing up her tire. So, I make a note of that, she has a boyfriend, and whaddya know, about 10 minutes later, he comes in the store and wants to buy two packs of grape cigarillos and some zig zags. "Sorry, but I know you're with the girl who tried to buy those eariler, so according to state law, I can't sell them to you." Well, he just looks at me with wide eyes, like he just can't fucking believe what is happening. Yes, his ironclad scheme to buy tobacco for his girlfriend has failed. He says something like "I can't fucking believe this," and turns around and walks out of the store like a zombie. Rarely do I ever get the chance to enforce state law to that degree and as a result I am filled with a giddy shaky feeling, like I might pass out.

So these two chicks are at the store yesterday, I dunno... taking inventory or something, or reorganizing the shelves. One of them is very pushy. I'm outside smoking with the MOT in my hand, ordering stuff, and she says "Have you ordered bread yet?" Ok, at this point I have no idea who this lady is. I tell her yeah, I've ordered bread, "Well you need to go back and change it. I want ONLY ONE SHELF of the RED BREAD. And ONLY 3 of the THIN SLICED. And ONLY 3 of the LARGE and maybe 2 of the SMALL. Ok? Got that?" So I kind of just look at her and don't say anything. Seriously, I just stand there and look at her. About 30 seconds go by and I guess she finds her center and she tells me that she's with the bread or something like that. So I say, ok, and go back to ordering. Later I'm in the store and there's another lady with wearing a 7-11 shirt with her, so I can now safely surmise that she probably works for 7-11 and that I should probably re-order the bread, and that she wasn't just some crazy bread lady.

Later the Crazy Bread Lady motions me over to the bread aisle and proceeds to give me the same lecture but with references this time. "I want ONE SHELF of the RED BREAD" she motions towards the wheat bread "and ONLY 3..." etc. Finally she gets to the donuts. "And these are our TOP SELLERS so I want the HAWAIIAN BREAD RIGHT HERE NEXT TO THEM." Well, I have been subserviant up to this point, but the Hawaiian bread was moved to the top shelf for a reason, because it doesn't sell well on the bottom shelf next to the donuts. I tell her this. "Oh, you'll sell them RIGHT HERE NEXT TO THE DONUTS." I tell her that they've always been there, right next to the donuts, and they've never sold, that's why we moved them to the top shelf. "Oh, they'll sell, TRUST ME ON THIS." So, I say "if you say so," and she gives me this look plus daggers. So later on I try to make some conversation with her, just to kind of break the whole "I hate you " vibe that seems to be going on, and she never answers me when I talk to her. I even asked her once, twice even, if she needed help with that shelf that she was manhandling with chips falling over her shoulders, and she never replied. Maybe she just never really heard me.

So later I'm sitting in my car smoking a cig and reading, thinking to myself that this is all I want to do, just to sit back and read, and that I really really don't want to go back in the store, and I start to get really tired for no real reason... I guess the Crazy Bread Lady kind of took it out of me today. I still have two hours left though, so I go back inside and bravely endure them. Eventually the day finally ends, as days are wont to do, and I go home and I am overwhelmed with just being really tired and I go to bed at 3:30 and the next thing you fucking know, it's 4:30 am and here I am. Weird, that.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A question someone asked me

I've been hanging out at some online forums for the past 8 or so years, and I post a lot of these blog entries there. The people there all know me pretty well, and they of course all know that I work at 7-Eleven. For the most part everybody there gets a kick out of my frequent descriptions of 'life at work' and what-not, but one guy in particular apparently would like to see me doing more with my life because he sent because he sent me a private message asking this question:

"Just curious, you obviously seem like a very intelligent person; so why do you work at a place like 7/11?

I don't mean to pry into your life, just seems very out of place."

His screenname is Prosperous, by the way, and he makes about $250,000 a year. Here is my reply:

Hmmm... well, first off money isn't important to me. Oh, sure, I like it and we all have bills to pay, so I need it. However, I really don't care too much about it beyond what I need to survive. I guess that's why I've never been very motivated to take more of an active part in this 'life' thing. I could have gotten a degree in a more lucrative field like accounting or business or something that would have guaranteed me a more comfortable income, but no; what did I do? I got my degree in computer animation, the most competitive field other than politics. So I have a kick ass demo reel and no connections, and as a result I'm paying back 30,000 dollars in loans with no career to show for it. I could really be pissed off about that I guess, but fuck it. It's only money, and it was a good experience.

What is money anyway? Just something that most people are addicted to and will do lots of unsavory things in order to get more of. I have my own addictions, but thankfully money ain't one of em. I'm also thankful that I don't need money in order to be happy, as most people think they do, as I have been at my happiest during periods of my life when I was flat broke. Most people who do get money find out that it doesn't make them happy anyway. And what would I do with a shitload of money? I'd buy all of the things I wanted all at once, and I'd wind up with nothing to look forward to; nothing to work towards. Life would become boring. Personally, I would like enough money to buy a house and set myself up so that I would be in the black for life. I don't really want any more than that, and I'm probably not ever going to even get THAT much, anyway. So, I'll continue to work Joe Schmoe jobs until I retire... maybe. Who knows. I might go back to school when my loans are out of default, because then I'll be able to qualify for more loans. Maybe I'll get a library science degree. One of my co-workers has her masters in library science, and it's something I've often thought about pursuing. It would be nice to be able to have a career doing something that I enjoy (and I definitely enjoy books); that's why I took the risk with the computer animation degree.

Why do I work at 7-Eleven now? Because I needed a job and I have no pride. I'm not ashamed because I work at 7-Eleven. There are some good folks working there, and if I had never gotten that job, I never would have met certain people. I can't say that I really enjoy working there for every hour of every day, but it certainly is interesting. And strangely enough, I do make enough money to get by, and what with all the training they're putting me through, soon I'll get another raise and who knows? Maybe I'll decide to stick with it and manage my own store some day. I could make up to $60,000 a year doing that, and that's definitely enough for me. My only debts are my loans, and a few piddly little tidbits on my credit report. I certainly wouldn't need any more money than that.

So, intelligent though I may be, I choose to live life by a set of rules which puts money low on the list of my priorities. Instead, I use my intelligence to try to comprehend things that are important to me, like what is the universe? Why is there anything as opposed to nothing? How much of it is within my ability to understand before I croak? I do a lot of reading, a shitload; and it's probably the thing that gives me the most pleasure in life, other than friends and family. Luckily for me, knowledge, friendship, and books are all pretty cheap.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Today again - pissed off customer

I'm at work again, and here's something that happens a lot. I think it has something to do with the 50 missing IQ points, and I forgot to mention it in the other blog. So, I'm standing at register 1 and nobody is at register 2. I'm open at register one, ready to check whoever needs checking. So, this chick walks up to register 2 and sets her stuff down. There's nobody else in the store, just me standing there behind register 1, and her standing there in front of register 2, waiting to be checked. So, I continue to stand there for a few seconds, making sure that what is happening is indeed happening, again. Yup, it is. So, finally, I kind of just 'wave' over at her, holler 'yoo hoo!', and smile, and she looks at me, completely taken aback, as if she has just noticed me standing 3 feet away from her. She gathers her stuff up and moves over to register 1, where she proceeds to look daggers at me. I scan her stuff, she pays, and as her receipt prints, I ask her if she needs it. She just stares more daggers at me. So I ask her again, pulling the receipt out of the machine, 'do you need this?' She just continues to give me an evil, foul look. By this time, I'm wondering if she speaks English, because she hasn't said a word the whole time, and she's Asian. So, I hold the receipt up in front of me and say again, 'Do you need this? Your receipt? Do you want it?' And now she impatiently holds her hand out in front of her, still looking at me like she wishes I was dead, and I give her the receipt and she stalks out of there.

What the fuck? What did I do? Was it because I didn't move over to register 2? Well excuse the F out of me. Sorry you had to physically pick up your bag of chips or Arizona Tea or whatever it was and carry it 3 feet and put it down again so I could scan it. I realize that you must be very tired after that ordeal. Please forgive me for being so callous.

So anyway, I was more amused than anything about this situation. The only thing that ever really pisses me off about work is just being there... not necessarily the stuff that happens there. That's usually pretty amusing or at least interesting.

edit: I just told my brother about this, and his idea was that the lady was embarrassed at being 'lost in space' for a few seconds and me having to snap her out of it. Maybe she saw my 'yoo hoo' as condescending. Who knows. Anyway, some people you just can't please.

The other day - Mormons

Whoops, I almost forgot to post what happened the other day. About two weeks ago. Ok, I forgot completely but I remembered just now.

So, the other day, about two weeks ago, I was at work. No surprise there. So Terry, in a rare generous moment, asks me to walk down to the copy shop and make some copies of something or another. About 15 or so copies. He doesn't give me any money to do it, he just asks me to do it. Hell yeah, a walk down to the copy shop on a day like this, and away from the store? I'll get to smoke and enjoy the day and be free of 7-Eleven for a little while. So I don't even ask him for any money (how much can it cost to make 15 copies, a dollar?) and I head out the door with the shit he wants copied.

So, about halfway there, these two chicks stop me. One of them is pretty cute, the other is just, well, not as lucky as the first one. So, they're both very pleasant, and one of them notices my 7-Eleven cap and asks me about it. So, of course, I tell them that's where I work, and I'm headed towards the copy shop (I hold up the papers I'm taking to copy as proof) to make copies. The cute one asks if they can walk with me. ? thought I. But I agreed, as they were very friendly and it was a nice day and I was in a good mood.

Then they start talking to me about The Book of Mormon, and at first I'm like (slaps palm to forehead) oh no, not again (more on this later). But, ONCE AGAIN, they are very nice, and it's a pleasant day, and I'm in a good mood, so I listen politely. Now, despite myself, I start to become curious. I've read a little bit of The Book of Mormon, and I know a teensy bit about what they're... about, so to say. And one thing I can't figure out or justify is how all of those Mormons got from the middle east to America. So, we're at the copy shop, I'm holding the door open, half in and half out of the shop, talking to these two girls, and I ask them about that. One of them starts to prattle on about something that I know will take forever, so I just say 'did they cross the Bering land bridge or something, you know, what is now the Bering Straight?

The cute one chimes in. 'No, they actually sailed across the Pacific'. Now, hearing this, I immediately wanted to ask some detailed questions, but I know that they didn't have the answers, and it would just be baiting them and then the entire pleasant exchange would regress into a 'prove it then' match, and I didn't want that. So, it really is a NICE day, and I'm in a REALLY good mood, so I tell them that I'm not a Christian, but I'm not an athiest either, and that I think their whole Mormon thing is quite interesting, and that I know a guy online (that's you, Froggie) who went to South America for tw years as a... what was it? It is at this point that they confess to be... uh... not crusaders, but... oh yeah. Missionaries. Mormon missionaries, huh? So, it is at this time that they actually introduce themselves as Sister (this) and Sister (that). Now, I don't remember what their names were, I'm terrible with names, and I probably wouldn't even recognize these girls at first glance as I'm also terrible with faces. But the 'not so blessed with good looks' one offered me her Book of Mormon and pointed out a few passages that I should take a look at. Well, now this was just too much. They really were taking the cake. How could I refuse this girl, trying to save my soul? And what the hell, my soul probably needs saving, so I graciously accept her book and we depart amicably.

So, I make the copies and it comes to a dollar something and I get back to 7-Eleven with a story to tell everybody. Now it's two weeks later, and I received a phone call from one of the missionaries the other day (oh yeah, I forgot, I gave them my phone number and address, now wasn't that just really nice of me? :::palm to face:::) and left a message. I have to confess, when I realized who it was from, I immediately just saved it and hung up. I admit, I kind of panicked, because at the time, I was convinced that I had lost that Book of Mormon. But, as it turns out, my brother had just put it away somewhere and now it's found again. So I think I'll go back and listen to that message again... maybe it was from the cute one? Nahhhh, they probably just want their book back.

Oh yeah... and about the 'more on this later' bit. Back in '06 I was living in California and my jeep broke down on Highway 4 about 5 miles from my house. I was walking, and a someone is kind enough to stop and pick me up (me not being far from the jeep and it being obvious that I was having car trouble) so I get in this car, which contains about 5 people already. They immediately inform me that I am surrounded by a carload of Mormons, and would I like to see their church, have I ever heard of The Book of Mormon, and so on and so on. So, I tell them that I would like to see their church some time, just not right now, and that I have indeed heard of The Book of Mormon, and so on and so on. So, eventually I get home and I thank them profusely and that's the end of that. I would go into more detail, but enough with the Mormons for one morning.

Today

Ah, today. Where to start? The beginning seems logical. So, I get to work today at 6:00 am and immediately Will starts in. Will is in his mid fifties, and a crustier old guy you won't run across easily. He loves to curse everything that slights him, especially the safe when it spits out old crinkly bills when he tries to deposit them. He does this in front of customers unabashedly, to either their chagrin or amusement. Today, he was cursing Mike C. (one of two Mikes, the other being Mike B.) for leaving the new guy there alone at the end of second shift. 'You tell Terry that Mike C., that motherfucker, left at 9:30 and didn't come back until 10:15. Hell, David (the new guy) was here by himself for 45 minutes, and he doesn't even know how to make safe drops. Tell Terry that that bastard Mike C. didn't even clock out for those 45 minutes. I swear to God we almost got into it, and if he don't watch out, I'll clean his clock'. Well, I was loathe to involve myself in this little spat so I didn't mention anything to Terry. This is between Will and Mike C. Besides, what will Terry do about it? Nothing. He's a spineless turd. Anyway, Will curses some more and eventually the shift change gets wrapped up and he walks out, cursing Mike C. the whole way until his gruff voice is cut off abruptly by the door as it swings shut. Thus starts the day.

So, about an hour later, this guy walks into the store. Young guy, about 20 I'd say, good looking, dressed in a red and grey letter jacket, baseball cap, khaki shorts, and new Nike sneakers. Typical young college kid is my first impression, until he opens his mouth.

'Excuse me sir,' - he's talking to me - 'can you tell me where the Taj Mahal is?'

I stand there for a few seconds, wondering if I heard him correctly. Another customer who is perusing the breakfast sandwiches glances briefly at the guy, then regards me with a 'what the fuck did he just say?' look, obviously reacting to the odd question. I'm just about to reply 'I think it's in India...' when the guy quickly continues:

'I mean, Terrel Hall, Terrel Hall! On the UNT campus.'

Ok, Terrel Hall, Taj Mahal, simple mistake...? So the guy is standing there, blushing and making odd motions with his hands, as if he doesn't know what to do with them. So I tell him that I'm not sure where Terrel Hall is, but direct him towards the campus, which is only a block to the south. I advise him to either just head that way and walk around until he finds it, or just hang out at the store (bad idea) and wait until the college crowd starts to pass through, as surely one of them will know. So the guy takes my advice and hangs around the store.

'Say, did you see the Cowboys game yesterday?' he asks me, as if we're old chums. I tell him no, I don't have cable or any kind of regular TV, and I only watch Netflix movies. Then he asks me if I like to bowl. I tell him that I've only been bowling once or twice, and he proceeds to go on about the league he just joined, that his aunt set him up with, and how his average is 128 after his first couple of games, and do I know anybody who bowls in a league, and would I like to join his league? Well, luckily for me, it got kind of busy just then so I had to demur my reply for the time being. Also, Charles happened to walk in just then (a regular who spends his mornings at the coffee bar reading the paper) and the Letter Jacket Guy becomes his problem. Ryan shows up soon after that and the rush proceeds for about an hour.

Finally, it's about 8:30 and the rush is just about over. I glance over at the coffee bar and see Charles, intent on his paper, nodding every now and then to Letter Jacket Guy as he prattles away about bowling or whatever. Finally, something distracts LJG briefly and Charles saunters away stealthily and out the door, handing me his paper (he does this every morning) with his eyebrows raised and rolling his eyes towards the coffee bar where LJG still dawdles. Thus he makes his escape, leaving me there to deal with LJG by myself. He doesn't waste any time making his way towards me. I look around for Ryan, hoping to pawn LGJ off on him, but he's probably in the walk-in ordering beer or something.

'Say, is there a Radio Shack around here?' says LJG. I tell him that there's one on Carrol and University. 'What time does it open?' I don't know. 'Do you think it opens at 9:00?' I really don't know, that sounds like a reasonable time for them to open. 'Because I'm trying to find something to do until 10:00.' Ryan appears at this time and LGJ asks him the same thing. He replies as I did, and LJG asks him if he knows where Terrel Hall is. Ryan tells him, as he is familiar with the campus. I quickly rush over to the bakery section and start to order, leaving LJG for Ryan to deal with. After a while I look up from my ordering and see LJG walk outside. Ryan approaches me and has this to say:

'Man, that guy is missing something upstairs.' I agree with him. 'He's looking for Terrel Hall. Does that mean anything to you?' I confess that it doesn't. 'Well, Terrel Hall is the psychiatric building on campus. Suddenly it makes sense. Apparently this guy has an appointent with a psychiatrist at 10:00. I become a little apprehensive. I decide then and there to be somewhat nicer to LJG if he comes back in, as I don't want him deciding that he needs to take out his frustrations on 7-Eleven with a 12 guage after his appointment. So, LJG hangs around the store until about 9:30. Every now and then I glance outside, where I invariably see him talking animatedly to customers as they approach the store. Apparently he needs several matching sets of directions to Terrel Hall from a lot of different people because when I ask the customers what he wanted, they said he wanted directions to Terrel Hall. Eventually he gets on his bicycle and leaves and doesn't come back.

So later I'm outside, smoking and sweeping the parking lot. This guy approaches, a regular who comes in every couple of days. I don't really know the guy that well, as our conversations are usually limited to 'Hey, whats up, how's it going, will that be all, yada yada yada'. So, this guy approaches me, glances around furtively, motions me closer, and says:

'Say man, do you like pain pills?'

I stop sweeping. Did I hear him right? Do I like pain pills? Holy shit. It's been... what? At least a couple of years since I've even seen a pain pill. Fuck yeah, I like pain pills! I communicate this to him without delay.

'Do you think, maybe, I mean... is it possible at all, that for a couple of pain pills... do you think you could maybe snag me a package of Bugler (rolling tobacco) for two of these Norcos?'

Hmmm, thought I. Two Norcos for a package of Bugler, which costs about $2.50. The going street price for a 5 mg Norco is about 5 bucks. A decent exchange... so I tell him that yes, I could indeed do this for him - not that I'm going to steal tobacco - I tell him to just give me a minute or two and I'll go inside and payroll it (this means that I charge it so that it comes out of my check).

'Oh, so you'll be straight up with it? Cool man. So, uh... how do you want to do this?'

I tell him to just hang on. Now, technically there is nothing wrong with what I was about to do, according to store policy. It is practically the same thing as 'pay-rolling' cigarettes for The Flower Lady, albeit she usually... correction... NEVER... pays me back with Norco hydrocodones. So, I payroll a package of Bugler, head back outside, and as I'm passing it to him he puts two yellow Norcos in my hand. I'm very familiar with Norcos; these are the same kinds of hydrocodones that my grandmother used to give me by the dozen back in the day. He thanks me profusely and informs me that he has about a hundred more, and do I want any more, he'll give me a good price if I buy in bulk, and asks me what time I get off work. I tell him that I get off at 2:00, but I'll have to hold off on any more for the time being, but that it's not out of the question. So, he gives me his phone number, thanks me again, and leaves. I ponder on this throughout the day, wondering whether or not I should call him and have him meet me at 2:00 so I can buy some more of those Norcos. I finally decide that it would probably be a good idea to leave well enough alone, and that I definitely don't need to be buying any more Norcos from this guy. One time is a cool highlight to the day; more often and I'll definitely wind up with the same problem I had a few years ago.

Anyway, the rest of the day passes uneventfully until right at 2:00. We're rushing through shift change, as the store is full and we have a line back to the cooler.

Beep beep chinga chinga rattle rattle ka-CHING thank you sir SCREECH THUD oh my god, did you see that!!

Huh? I turn my head towards the screeching thud and see a guy who I had just sold cigarettes to sprawled out in the road, under a truck. His leg is under the front left tire. He is howling, the truck is backing up, and people in the store have all whipped out their phones and are dialing 911.

'Holy shit, did that guy just get hit - yeah, he did! I saw it, he was on his skateboard - into the middle of the road - slammed on his brakes and still hit him, he flew forward a couple of feet - leg got ran over, dayum - you calling the cops? Hang on - anybody go see if he's ok - just backed off of his leg, damn look at him lying there - it broken? Probably his leg and his hip -'

Thus went the myriad different conversations in the store, all suddenly and all at the same time. I proceeded with the shift change, glancing outside every now and then, seeing if the guy was ok, but he never got up. He just lay there, moaning, trying to sit up every now and then. After about 10 minutes, we were finished with the shift change, and the cops had just showed up. I debated going over there and presenting myself as a witness, but decided that I should probably keep out of it. The last thing I want is for my name to be put through the police database, what with an unpaid traffic ticket here in Denton and a likely warrant out for my arrest.

The New Girl

Well, not a whole helluvalot happened at work yesterday. I worked with the new girl, Leah, who is pretty shy. She reminds me a lot of myself when I was younger. I can totally relate to her discomfort in the job situation around people she doesn't know. Now, I'm pretty damn shy myself, but it doesn't bother me like it used to, so I try to make her feel at ease but I'm not too good at that. I'll sit there and shut the fuck up just as easily as her.

Leah is pretty cute. She has an odd... I hesitate to call it an affliction... feature, on her face. Near her right temple, she has fuzz growing there. No, I'd go so far as to call it actual hair. Not like man hair, like a beard, or anything. More like what you'd have on your arm. Or your eyebrow. There's a patch of it growing there, about an 1 1/2 by 1 1/2 inches. Just a patch of hair to the right of her right eye and right on her temple. It is strange looking, I'll say, but I've gotten used to it. And she really is cute, and I have to admire her for not shaving it. Besides, she probably has gone through all that before and decided the easiest thing was just to say fuck it.

So, the one half way interesting thing that happened yesterday was when I asked a lady if she wanted a sack. 'Yes, I sure do,' she replied, 'but I don't know anybody in Denton who has one.' Lol, rolleyes, I hear that at least once a week. Of course, she was referring to a bag of weed, for anyone who doesn't get it. I've dealt with this ever since I grew my hair out... people automatically think I can score them pot. It has happened over and over throughout the years. People think I'm a stoner. Well, I can't say that I blame them, I do have that look with the long hair and earrings. So I say to the girl, 'well I don't think I can help you in that department, try asking random strangers on campus'. She laughed, I guess she thought it was funny.

Anyway, after work I stopped by Walgreens to get some cough medicine. On the way out, I was accosted by two women who had set up a table with D.A.R.E items on it (dare being some kind of program to keep kids off drugs). Well, I never should have acknowledged them, but I'm a sucker, and one of them said I had a cute mustache so I was pretty much snared. They offered me all kinds of stuff... books, pens, shirts, bumper stickers, etc. All I had to do was offer a 'gift'. Money in other words. Now, I'm a horrible liar, so I told them that I had just cashed my check and might be able to donate a little something... but I didn't have the cash in my wallet, I realized suddenly, as I had deposited it. No problem, says one of the chicks, I can take a card. So I hand over my card and she runs it through for 10 bucks. Then she gives me a D.A.R.E t-shirt and says that I can be her walking slogan! Yay, thought I. Anyway, I don't mind giving money to charity or worthy organizations, and although I'm not necessarily for keeping kids off drugs through programs like D.A.R.E. (too much brainwashing and propaganda), I do believe in educating kids about the hazards of drugs so that they can make an informed decision if they decide to go that route. I speak from experience, drug addiction is no picnic, and if I could go back, I never would have touched a pain pill EVER.

Anyway, I thought it was pretty damn funny that they were hocking their D.A.R.E. wares to a druggie like me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

At the Dollar General

Today I didn't go to work. I got up at 6:00 am and was feeling 'iffy'... that is, nauseous. I toughed it out until 6:55 (had to be at work at 7:00) and couldn't hold it back anymore and puked for about 10 minutes. So, I called in to work.

Weird, that. Food poisoning, thought I, when I remembered the week old soup I had for supper last night.

However, I was feeling right again at about 3:00 so I went up to the Dollar General store to browse their books (oddly enough, Dollar General usually has a good sci-fi selection for a dollar). So, I get in the store and this black lady is really giving it to this guy who works there. It went something like this:

DG guy: I saw you get out of her car, I know you are with her.

Lady: I din get out no fuckin car wid dat bitch! Watchoo talkin bout!

DG guy: She is wearing a blue dress and she just left. I know you're with her.

Lady: What da fuck. You a lie motherfucker.

DG guy: That's ok, I'll just call the police. (he walks away)

Lady: You go ahead an call them mo fuckin' PO-lice. I sit out in my car and wait for dem mo-fo's. Fuck you, I'm up in dis mo-fo evy day, I ain't tryin' hide nuthin'. (she turns suddenly and addresses somebody) Hey, come here! You da one he talkin' 'bout, sayin' I'm wit you!

Other lady: Huh? (she is wearing a blue dress, I assume this is the lady the DG guy was referring to)

Lady: Yo, mo-fucker, this here the lady, and I ain't with her! Am I? I didn't come in wit you.

Other lady: Huh? Whats this all about? No, you didn't come in with me.

DG guy: You two aren't together?

Lady: Hell NO we ain't together, I came here in my OWN car bitch!

Other lady: We didn't come here together. I don't know this lady.

DG guy: (walking away again) Ok, I'll take care of it. I apologize.

What the hell was THAT all about?

Monday, November 10, 2008

One thing I've noticed

One thing I have noticed while working at 7-Eleven. People's IQ's tend to drop a good 50 points the minute they walk in the door. I have several examples:

Me: Would you like a bag for all that?

Customer: (slows visibly with what they were doing, be it counting money or arranging items or punching buttons on the pinpad, finally coming to a complete halt as they stand there motionless and staring off into space) Uh...

Me: (waiting)

Customer: Uh...

Me: (waiting)

Customer: No. (usually they resume, albeit very slowly, whatever they were doing) NO WAIT, YES. I want a bag.

Me: (bagging items) Do you want a receipt?

(repeat above steps, mix, and serve. It ain't frikin rocket science)


That's one. Here's another:

Customer: (hands me a hundred dollar bill to pay for a cigarillo, which costs 1.07)

Me: I'm sorry, but I can't break a hundred dollar bill.

Customer: Huh?

Me: You see, we keep very little cash in the register. It's for security reasons.

Customer: This is all I have.

Me: I'm sorry, but there is a sign on the door stating that we only keep 30 dollars in the register, so breaking a one hundred dollar bill is usually out of the question, unless you are making at least a 50 dollar purchase. If you want, you can wait for ten minutes while the safe cycles. (by this time I'm getting a little aggravated)

Customer: (usually stands there, at a complete loss as to what they should do) You guys took one the other day.

Me: I'm sorry, but most convenience stores keep very little cash in the register. The largest bill I can accept easily is a 20. Would you like to wait for the safe to cycle? It'll be about 10 minutes.

Customer: I can't wait 10 minutes.

Me: I'm sorry then, you'll either have to wait for the safe to cycle or let me wait on the next customer.

Customer: (walks out in a huff)

This happens at least once a day, usually more. Now, I would NEVER walk into a convenience store with a hundred dollar bill. It's fucking retarded. Especially to pay for an item that costs one dollar.


Here's another:

Customer: (hands me a 20 dollar bill) I need 20 in gas. (turns around and walks out)

Me: Which pump?

Customer: (stops with the door half way open) Uh... (long pause, usually at least 5-10 seconds) That car over there (motions towards the pumps) on the other side. Pump... I don't know the pump number. (sometimes there are four cars at the pumps, and merely gesturing and saying 'the other side' gives me a 50/50 chance of choosing the correct pump)

Me: Which car is it? There are two trucks, a black Mustang, and a blue Honda Civic.

Customer: Oh, oh. It's the white truck.

Me: Oh, I thought you said a car. Which white truck, the one on the left or the one on the right?

Customer: The one on the right.

Me: Thanks.

Now it may sound like I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. Shit like this happens on a daily basis.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Boredom

Today I found a grasshopper on the ground. Half dead for some reason. I found a couple of twigs. I held the grasshopper down with one twig and tore each of its legs off, one by one, with the other. Then I sprayed it down with Off insect repellent and watched it until it's abdomen stopped moving. I haven't done that since I was about 10.

After that I imagined that when I die I'll probably suffer this torture in the afterlife. A giant grasshopper will hold me down and rip my limbs off, one by one, and then spray me with a toxic chemical and watch me as I asphyxiate.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Drunk and close to death

This happened earlier this summer but I decided to post it here anyway, because... surprise, I'm bored.

This past July I was living in Alaska and selling fur coats to tourists. Ed (my business partner) and I had spent a good portion of the evening celebrating our new apartment with libations (we had just left a living situation which was less than ideal). The night progressed as nights like that are wont to do, and after Ed turned in for the night, I decided to go outside for a final cigarette. I wasn't planning on being out there for very long, so even though it was raining and kind of chilly, I was dressed in just a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. After I finished my cigarette, I naturally wanted to go back inside. This being the case, I tried to open the door, only to realize that it had locked automatically after shutting (this apartment had one main entrance to a hallway which opened upon several individual apartments). Since I was a brand new tenant, I of course didn't have my key with me... so there I was, barefoot, in the rain, wearing naught but the bare necessities, locked out and getting cold. I spent about 10 minutes yelling at the top of my lungs, hoping to wake up my partner, but probably succeeded only in waking up half of the block instead.

After looking around and exploring for a bit, trying to figure what to do, I noticed that on the side of a building which was situated right next to my apartment there was a scaffold which went all the way up to the roof. So, I did what any judgment impaired person would do... I decided to climb it to see if it was in any way possible to hop from one rooftop to the other. I could see my kitchen window glowing enticingly from the ground, and I judged that if I could get onto the roof of my apartment building then I would be able to walk right over to the window, open it, and climb inside (the kitchen window was almost perfectly level with the roof, occupying as it was another part of the building which stood a little higher than the surrounding rooftop).

I had been standing outside for about half an hour; I was damp, cold, somewhat inebriated, and everything I touched was wet and slippery. I spent a few more minutes thinking it over and, seeing no other recourse, proceeded to climb the scaffold. When I was about halfway up, several things became apparent to me which weren't obvious from the ground: first, I realized that I was going to have to scale quite a bit more rooftop than I had originally thought in order to get on an even level with my own apartment building. Secondly, the roof of my apartment was several feet lower than the roof of the building which I was climbing, so there would be no easy place to stand from which to jump from one roof to the other (yes, I was seriously planning on jumping from rooftop to rooftop). Finally, the roof I had to climb, which was made of widely corrugated sheet metal, was slanted at about a 45 degree angle... much steeper than I had originally thought. And to top it off, it was installed so that it was corrugated vertically, so there were no easy places to hold on to. There was nothing for it however, so once I reached the top of the scaffolding, I situated myself along a line of bolts which held the roof in place and proceeded to crawl up, very slowly, using those bolts as hand and footholds. About halfway up I was level with the roof of my apartment building, but I saw no easy or readily apparent way to cross. So, I continued on to the top, hoping that I might still be able to jump from there. Boy was I surprised when, upon reaching the apex, the roof didn't continue down the other side in a similar manner, but instead abruptly ended. I peered over the edge and was presented with a 15 foot drop down to another slanted area of rooftop. I couldn't do anything there, so I slowly crawled backwards until I was level with the roof of my apartment building again.

My situation was this: I was about 40 feet up, lying on my stomach at a 45 degree angle, and holding onto a few nuts and bolts. To my immediate left was the flat, wide roof of my apartment building, with about a 4 foot gap separating the two roofs. If I had been wearing shoes, and if it weren't raining, and if it had been daytime, and if I'd been sober, I probably could have balanced on that angle and made the jump. However, being somewhat impaired and standing on a slick, steeply angled piece of wet sheet metal about 40 feet in the air, cold, barefoot and shivering, I was pretty unsteady. I stood up anyway, very slowly, bracing one foot on some of the bolts sticking out of the roof and contemplated my chances. I looked down and imagined myself falling that long, dark drop, bouncing off of the dumpster in the alley below and coming to rest as a broken bag of bones. That's when I realized how shnockered I was, and I backed away from that drop in a small panic. A little to quickly... my foot slipped. I landed face down on the roof and slid backwards, grasping at the short stubs of the bolts. I managed to stop myself when my feet hit the edge of the scaffolding which, luckily, protruded up several inches past the edge of the roof.

My heart was beating pretty rapidly by then, and I just lay there and rested for a while. I could see my kitchen window from where I was perched; so close but still impossible to get to. I yelled again for about ten minutes, hoping once more that Ed would hear, wake up, and go to the window. I had no such luck; he was three sheets to the wind and ensconced in a deep slumber. So, after I recovered from my state of petrification, I climbed down. It took me about three times as long to get down that scaffold as it did to climb up, mainly because I couldn't see where I was putting my feet. I did finally manage to get down to the ground, and when I did, I was so glad to be off of that roof that it didn't suck quite as bad having to wait until morning for Ed to wake up and open the door...

...and although an embarrassing story, it serves in retrospect (safely and with a liberal dash of morbid humor) as a reminder as to how profoundly stupid I've been (and still could be) when drinking.

That wasn't really a 'near death' experience, but I came pretty close to trying that jump, which almost certainly would have resulted in my death.

Now, HERE is a bona-fide near death experience.

The closest I've ever come to actual, undeniable death is about one second away. Back in 1992, I was driving my old beat up car on the local back roads. There are railroad tracks out in those boon docks that cross the oil roads and there are no signals or lights or anything. It's up to the driver to be observant for coming trains. Well, one night I wasn't being observant and I was driving really slowly on the back roads, nursing a quart of beer (oh yeah, I was also depressed about this chick who I was in love with whom I had just found out was getting married) and I crossed one of these railroad tracks. I wasn't paying any attention - you know, basically consumed with misery and drinking my beer, driving really slow, with the radio up really loud, and the dense vegetation apparently blocked the approaching headlight. So, I cross this track and it was just about one entire second after I had cleared them that a train went roaring by behind me. Scared the ever-loving shit out of me, I can tell you that.

I can just read the headlines if I'd have gotten scrubbed by that train... "Local man commits suicide over unrequited love." LOL.