Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Orthodox Store

What can I say about today? I made a promise to God and broke it, went to work, didn't visit the Episcopal church, and closed the store early. It's the 4th of July, after all. There was a parade but I missed it because I was holed up in the top floor store where nothing happens. That's ok though, because I prefer it up there. I'm a good enough salesman that if a serious customer comes in, I can help them and sell them something and make them happy. Have I ever mentioned how happy it makes me when a customer is happy? I love seeing a happy customer when they buy something they really love. That may sound odd, because I hate this job, I'm not a salesman, and I don't really like talking to people. But it's the excited, friendly person who finally gets that coat or scarf or whatever that is going to put the icing on their vacation, who is just so happy with it, that makes me happy.

I got a customer like that today. He was tall and thin, and was just taken with the Russian trooper shearling hat. It cost $79.00, and he was worried about making an impulse buy. He tried it on, folded the ear flaps down, put them up, folded them down, talked about how much he loved it, put it back, picked it back up, repeat a few times. He walked off just as his wife was coming up the stairs. He told her how much he loved the hat, and she said, "Well, just buy it honey, you love it, right?" So, he came back and bought it. He wore it out of the store with the ear flaps down.

I felt better after that. At about 1:00, Curtis closed his store because it was a holiday, so I went ahead and closed mine. I went down to the store where Ed and Scott were working and they were grilling hot dogs and drinking beer. I had a hot dog, drank a beer, and took a walk down to the Russian store. The Russian girl who works there is really cute and friendly, and she recognized me when I walked in.

"So, you're back for more Orthodox stuff?"

"Yeah. Actually, I want you to translate something for me."

She speaks Russian and translates the backs of the icons for me when I'm in there browsing. I removed my baptismal cross and handed it to her.

"Could you translate the back of that for me?"

She took the cross and examined the back, her brows furrowed.

I said, "I think it might be Greek... or is it Cyrillic?" What the hell do I know anyway?

"No, it's Cyrillic, but very old and ancient writing. I can only understand one part... it says 'Gotha'."

At this point another employee walked up to see what was going on.

"Gothat? Did you say Gotha?"

"Yeah, Gotha. I don't know what the rest of it says."

"Gotha, like... gothic?"

"Yeah, I guess."

"That's creepy! Man, that's creepy!" She looked at me, back at my cross, and then back at me. "That's creepy, man!" Then she walked off.

I was a little miffed. She called my baptismal cross creepy!

"It's not creepy, it's my baptismal cross," I said to the girl who was translating. I don't know her name.

"I know. Maybe your priest can translate it." She knows my priest speaks Russian, I told her when I was in the store before.

I browsed around some more and bought a really pretty Theotokos icon. Then I walked home and prayed for about an hour. I had a lot of praying to make up for, but it still wasn't enough.

So here I am, at 4:52, about to eat supper and watching 'Taken' on TV. Ed and Scott are barbecuing at the lake. I didn't go because I wanted prayer time alone.

Oh and by the way... 5:42. I had just crumpled up the receipt for my new icon and it was halfway into the trash when I stopped. Why would I stop in the middle of throwing away a receipt? I don't know, but something compelled me to. So, I uncrumpled it and looked at it. Blah blah blah... Maria. The name of the person who was logged in on the register. That's the girls name, Maria. The Russian girl who works at the Russian store. Her name is Maria. Huh.

And exactly one hour later too. Is God talking to me here? He usually talks to me with coincidences.

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