Thursday, May 21, 2009

Words and stuff

I'm off for two days in a row. Yesterday and today, which is payday. I walked a lot today which is rare for me now, but I used to walk a lot last year. Matt has the car and he's in East Texas. And rightly so, it's his car, although I hog it a lot. It used to be mine, you see, and I think that the psychological vibe still leans in my direction as far as the car goes. I'm going to stop using it so much though, because it's not my car anymore, and I feel like Matt needs to have dibs on it. I think I'll walk to church and work from now on, except on weekends, when I usually need it to drive the deposit to the bank and pick up the change fund for the store. So, anyway, yeah. I walked a lot today, and listened to music while I walked. Mostly Pinback, but also some of that 'new' Silverchair album... Young Modern. That's a great album; for anybody who is reading this, buy it and listen to it and then e-mail them and compliment them on their greatly underappreciated music.

Anyway, here's some catching up on recent Ash activity. I used to blog a lot about this, but lately I don't because I spend so much time with Leah. I'd rather spend time with her anyway, but I'm at home now on my day off and before I step onto the front porch with my guitar and play for the neighborhood, I think I'll yak some and catch myself up on stuff that's happened during the last couple of months. Let's see... well, to begin with, Mike C. got fired, which made me kind of sad. I really like Mike. When Terry was on vacation during spring break, Mike, Ryan and I had a pretty good time at work. It was slow with all of the college kids off getting in trouble at places like South Padre Island and Matamoros, so we had plenty of time to goof off. We invented a couple of new sports... the most notable being hot dog bun ball throwing. The object is to nail your opponent with a hot dog bun ball. Try to guess what a hot dog bun ball is, okay? Anyway, I had the idea to place something hard inside the hot dog bun ball, but that's kind of an evil idea, so instead I just threw a couple in the oven and they came out nice and toasty and hard. You have to be careful aiming the toasted hot dog bun balls though, because it can get kind of serious throwing those around as they tend to leave bruises. However, there's usually no limits placed on the throwing of soft hot dog bun balls, and any part of the body is fair game for targeting. Allow me to demonstrate a case in point by reconstructing a certain situation. Ryan was over by the coffee bar, making coffee, and Mike C. was standing by the lotto machine, holding the paper and trying to figure out the scrabble puzzle. I was leaning on the counter, doing something or another, probably trying to solve the scrabble puzzle too. Next thing I knew, PAIN! Instant, severe, debilitating, undeserved pain. It lanced through my left ear, shot through my head, down my neck, and dissipated somewhere in my left shoulder. My body reflexively straightened and I staggered around a bit with my hand on my ear, probably cussing up a storm. I don't remember exactly. Now, this particular hot dog bun ball attack probably wouldn't have been so excruciating if it hadn't hit my recent cartilage piercing, which was still red and fresh and painful. I heard Ryan mutter 'Oh shit. Sorry man!' I sumbled into the back room and sat down and waited for the pain to diminish, which it did, fairly rapidly, which surprised me. As it turns out, Ryan had been aiming for Mike C.'s nether region, and his line of sight from the coffee bar passed just above my head. Of course, his aim was faulty, and the hog dog bun ball hit my ear instead of Mike's crotch. It was great fun.

After that, the logical progression of invention was to somehow develop a way of launching these hot dog bun balls with more efficiency and force. I came up with the idea of using a plastic 7-Eleven bag as a sling. By cutting away most of the bag, leaving only the two handles connected by a thin strip of plastic, it was possible to launch a hot dog bun ball with great impetus by placing one at the bottom of the bag and flinging it around and around and around by the handles, until sufficient momentum was achieved, and then snapping the wrist just when the upswing was starting, thus launching the hot dog bun ball across the store. We practiced with this for a while in the store, and after some impressive impacts with the sides of the freezer, we moved it outside. It was at this point that I decided that it would be much more fun to launch an actual hot dog instead of a hot dog bun ball, so we broke some old hot dogs in half, took them outside, and proceeded to launch them with our plastic bag slings. It was immensely entertaining... Mike actually hit the top of the gas station awning with one, resulting in a mini-meat storm, complete with thunder and chunky pink rain. Right after that, he misjudged his release and, to his chagrin and the amusement of myself and a few customers, hit himself in the eye with a high speed hot dog. Hilarity ensued.

It was soon after these fun times that Mike C. got fired for payrolling 40 dollars in gas, pumping 4 cents, and then paying himself $39.94 in change. It's a loophole that allows one to pay themselves an advance, since anything payrolled comes out of your check. However, we are only allowed to payroll $40.00 a week, and such a large amount is kind of obvious. Although there aren't any rules against it per se, Mike was fired. However, I don't think that it had as much to do with his payrolling shenanigans as it did with his threatening to kick Terry's ass. Terry actually had me witness it when he fired Mike, because he said that Mike was a hot head and could fly off the handle. I guess I was there to defend Terry if this happened. All I know is that it sucked, having to stand there and watch while Mike got fired. I don't think Mike was really going to kick Terry's ass... he was joking obviously, and he only said it after he saw that Terry had scheduled him with only about 8 hours between two shifts. I believe his exact words were, 'Terry, if you schedule me like this again, I'm going to kick your ass'. Anyway. Mike still comes by now and then and brings his hackey sack, and we have a few minutes of fun kicking it around behind the roller grill.

Since then, Tony has quit, Brittney was hired, Phyllis quit, Preston was hired back and fired within a two week period, Christina was hired back and seems to be doing well after a bumpy start, Willard was hired, William quit, David put in his notice to quit, and some girl was transfered to our store from Lewisville. All off this within about a two month period. There's a lot of turnover at that store. I believe that Ryan and Adela are the only ones still working who were there when I started in December of '07, except for Terry. Next would be J.P., then Leah. Everybody else is still too new to be worthy of mentioning. J.P. has been there for almost a year, and Leah since October... about 8 months. Speaking of Leah...

I remember when she started work. I recognized her, of course, as she had been a fairly regular customer. Anybody who knows her is familiar with her 'feature' on her temple, so it's kind of hard to forget her face once you've seen it. Once. And I'm not good with remembering faces. Anyway, she came in last August, I think, and got an application. I always think it's neat when a regular customer fills out an application, by the way. So anyway, she filled it out and turned it in, and a few weeks went by. Then she came in the store and I asked her if she was going to be hired. I didn't know her at this time, by the way. Anyway, she said that Terry said something about the store being fully staffed or whatnot, his usual response to people who turn in applications. Then somebody must have quit, because Leah started work in October. I was excited that she was working with us, because I had always though that she was cute and maybe interesting, because she appeared to by kind of shy, and I wanted to get to know her. I'm super shy myself, so I always went out of my way to try to make her feel comfortable during the brief periods that I saw her, which was usually during the shift change, since she was on 2nd shift and I was on 1st shift. So, every time I saw her, I would say 'Hi, Leah!' and that would just about be it. But I said 'hi' to her as often as the opportunity presented itself.

Then she was moved to 1st shift. Now, usually when you put two shy people together in a situation with no other people around to offer any kind of social buffer, the result is two people who tend to shut the hell up a lot, and that's the way it was for a while when we worked together in the mornings, which tended to be slow. But eventually we started to yak and yammer at eachother a little, and after a while, the ice started to break somewhat. When I learned that she had read Enders Game, that clenched it for me. Leah was officially cool. We started to hang out together a little bit outside of the workplace, and I learned that she is an Orthodox Christian. She invited me to church once, and I liked it. I've slowly been working myself into a state of faith, attending mostly night services because I work on Sunday. I'm trying to get more Sundays off, however, and I think I'll just have to start requesting them off, since Terry isn't very receptive to requests for time of for religious reasons. Anyway, I'm thankful to Leah for taking on the burden of helping me to find something I've been desperately looking for and wanting since about 1990. Eventually I want to be baptized, but I realize that I still have a ways to go. It's a serious thing, converting to Eastern Orthodoxy, not like just up and joining a protestant church. By the way, Leah is the first real friend I've made since... oh, lets' see... around 1996, I guess, when I met Louie in Austin. I've met a lot of people since then, of course, but none that I would actually call REAL friends. I could consider Ryan a friend, and I do, but we've never hung out outside the workplace. I also think that Adela could be a potential friend, as she is really nice and cool. Also, Sean Davis, who used to also work at 7-Eleven, is someone I could consider a friend. But he quit, and since then we just haven't been in touch. I could call him, I guess, but there's that whole shy thing again. However, his girlfriend, Alice, recently applied there. Maybe she'll get a job, and through her, I could hook up with Sean again. That would be cool, I think.

So, I've been an Ass. Manager there since around October now, but I've only been acting in that capacity officially since... oh, around January. My duties consist of pretending to run the store, pretending to listen to Terry, pretending to like the customers, making sure the coffee trough is always fresh for the grazing, and most importantly, managing the ass, and occassionally kicking some ass. I have times when I cannot STAND working there. I get irritated with something tiny... like wanting to go out and take a smoke break and not being able to because customers keep coming in. That irritation will grow into genuine anger, like a snowball rolling downhill and picking up snow, getting bigger and bigger. It's a real attitude problem I have. I also tend to talk a lot of shit about people when I'm at work, which is something I never used to do. I'm trying to cut down on all of that, and when things get really bad, I say the Jesus prayer to myself over and over and over until I'm calm. It seems to work more often than not. There really isn't anything wrong with working at 7-Eleven. It's honorable work, and I get paid. I'm just not a people person, and customer service just isn't the field I am suited for. I'd rather be doing research on particle physics, locked in a laboratory, or in an observatory counting asteroids, or stationed at the south pole searching for extremophiles which might survive on Mars with a little genetic alteration. But, it's all about attitude, and there have been a few days when I didn't mind being at work at all, and the people didn't piss me off at all, and I was in a good mood all day, and I just didn't mind. I wish I could set my mind to be like that all of the time.

So, anyway. I think I'm through blogging for a while. It's time to go play some guitar.

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