Sunday, October 31, 2010

... and in the end...

We've been spoiled here the last few days. After a run of cold nights and crisp New England Fall days we have had an Indian summer. Officially, there needs to be a frost at some point during the cooling weather before the warm stretch. I think we had a frost. If we didn't exactly where I live I know there are plenty of places that did. The exact origin of the term is somewhat clouded. It is either tied to the time Colonists first saw the Natives harvesting their squash and corn crops; the period when Native raids on European settlements ended for the year, or of course closely related to "Indian giver" as in false summer. There are many names for this warm respite from the inevitability of the winter months. In much of Europe there is St. Martin's Summer. In Russia there is Old Ladies' Summer. I imagine the list goes on and on. Those are the only others I know. Feel free to share any others you may know.

It's funny how some things stick with us. Becomes part of us. Part of our mythology. When I was young I always thought of myth as ancient stuff. You know, Zeus and all that lot. It took me a good long time to realize that George Washington throwing a silver dollar across the Patomic say, or some of the deeds of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table were just as much myth. Stitches in the fabric of what makes us us.

No wonder the world is in such shambles though huh? Everybody off in their own corner. Every region silently swayed by such deeply ingrained mythos. Add religion into the mix and I'm surprised people get along at all. Everybody's racing around with their heads down trying to get ahead of the next person. Trying to be more important. Trying to get more money. Drive a better car. Buy the biggest house. Pray to the best God. Every one is out to get for themselves. Screw the next person. We should just hand out guns to every last person. Make it a level playing field.

Whoa, whoa, whoa! What just a second. (Everyone lurch forward as I slam on the brakes.)

I know, I know. Crazy talk from the Night Guy. After all don't we all just want the same thing? Don't we all just want to be safe and secure? To have some stuff to make us feel comfortable? Of course. The thing is can't we do it all together? Can't we give a hand up to the person behind us? Does it all have to be Machiavellian?

If the love you take is truly equal to the love you make; if you really get back what you give, isn't that how we should be striving to get ahead?

Well, running out of time here. Still lots of chores to do.

Until next time. Peace.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Once In A Lifetime

I feel like poetry tonight. I can't make this editor space the words the way I need them though so no rhyming couplets or stylish stanzas tonight. (I can hear your sighs of relief from here.) If I just start pecking at the "keyboard" something will form and I'll be on my way. If I just spout out whatever is on my mind in one long stream of consciousness maybe just maybe some spark will ignite the tinder that will fuel what I need to say.

Or not.

I wrote that last paragraph on Thursday. It it 12:25am Saturday morning now and I have been way too busy to even think about writing.

Ok, ok. There are a few things that I think to share with you now and again.

You would be very surprised at some of the things I find in the garbage here. Not poking and digging. Just casual observation as I am changing bags. Say you had just bought a 20" double headed sex toy. Where would you think to throw out the packaging? Oh wait! I know! Honey pull over into that gas station so I can throw this out. Wouldn't want want my husband/wife/mother/brother/sister/father/kids having the opportunity to find it. I guess I was naive before I started working here. I always thought one would take the time to dispose of something like that in a less trashy way (Oops, no pun intended). Then of course there is all of the empty alcohol containers. From nips to six packs to wine bottles to liters of Jim Beam and the like. Again, pretty naive. I always thought most people were fairly sober while driving. From the evidence I see more people are drunk or stoned. Watch out on the roads is all I can say. It's not just the person leaving the bar that you need to watch out for. People clean out their cars while they're here too. Almost as though seeing a garbage can they don't have to empty is enough to spur some one on to tidy their car. That's ok. That's what the cans are there for. It's a service we provide. What gets me is the person who will spend fifteen minutes cleaning his car and then dump his ashtray on the ground. Or comes in and buys a candy bar and throws the wrapper on the ground. Like it's not litter that some one else now needs to clean up. At least their car is clean. At least once a weekend I will find old car parts. Wiper blades, wires and spark plugs, body moulding. Where were these people when they changed their spark plugs? I mean it was all neat. The old plugs were in the new plug boxes. The wires were rolled up and bundled together. If only I could sell that stuff for scrap.

So it's Sunday morning now and as I was emptying the garbages outside and thinking about what I've been writing and noticing all the thoughtless litter all over the parking lot; I got to thinking about passive aggression. I mean why do most people change once they step in a store? Resentment over having to spend their hard earned money? I will be outside sweeping the parking lot. Some one will pull in get out of their car look at me and throw their cigarette butt on the ground. Then they greet me like I'm a long lost friend. And all the people who put their money on the counter just out of reach so I have to lean way over to get it. It's not just me either. Other people have mentioned this in conversation. Oh well I'm really just spouting about nothing, it's the same as it ever was. It's the same as it ever was. It's the same as it ever was.

A woman came in last night with a quart of half and half. It was no good she said and scolded me for the company selling bad half and half. She had called earlier in the day apparently and was told she could return it. Of course, no problem, so sorry for the inconvenience. She handed me the quart container. If there was a half of a cup left I'd be surprised. The container was dated for November 17th and it was spoiled. Huh. She didn't even want a replacement half and half. Instead she took a gallon of milk. Me thinks she just needed milk.

So I guess all of this rambling leads me to remind you to get what you deserve for your money; you just don't have to treat others with disrespect to get it.

Keep those sticks on the ice.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

I Love a Rainy Night

Rain. Again. Rain tomorrow too I guess. Slow night. Get to do some extra special cleaning tonight. When this store was bought last January they remodeled top to bottom. There are a few problems with that though. Though it's a tiny store the air conditioning unit could barely handle the load when temps would get up to 80. Through the remodel they managed to squeeze more stuff in the store. More heat producing stuff. By the time the temperature reached 80 this summer it was probably 95 in the store. No matter how long the air conditioner ran and ran there was no cooling this place down. It took probably two weeks before we were given permission to buy a fan. It was just plain hot. As far as I know there are no plans to fix the problem. The other problem happens to be with the new drains installed for the coffee and soda stations. They leak. Empty the coffee pots and the stuff stored in the cabinets below wind up wet or sticky. We were urged at the very beginning to clean under the cabinets every day. Yeah, right! How about fixing the drains? The drains were supposedly fixed today. It only took nine months. I have cleaned all the coffee stains and drippings tonight. We'll find out tomorrow whether I bother to clean the sticky soda. If they still leak, why bother? Not lazy. Just not that stupid.

There was a commotion in the parking lot last Saturday morning. It was around 5:30 or so. I saw a woman walking quickly past the front window. I thought I heard her yell, "Mom, wait!" My relief had just come in and we were catching up on the two weeks since we had seen each other so I didn't really think any more about the yelling woman.

I needed to take out the last of the trash. I gathered it up and headed for the dumpster. As I round the corner there is a woman shepherding a guy across the street. She is yelling at him. "C'mon Rob, get it the car like the man I know you are and let's go". He is drunk (Blackout drunk, acting a complete fool drunk. Bender drunk. I haven't the words for how drunk.) and apparently wanted to visit someone he knows who lives in the apartments across the street. He spots me and says in falsetto, "Ooo, help, help, she's gonna rape me". I ignore him and ask the woman if she is ok. She says yeah it's all ok. I throw out the garbage and head back in.

I am willing to give them a few minutes to straighten everything out and take off. When I tell my co worker the situation she immediately says, "They gotta go! Call the police"!

Great! Now I have two situations. Well, three now that I think about it. The drunk, the woman's safety, and not getting them arrested.

Their car is parked in one of the spots near the dumpster and I head out that way to smoke a cigarette. Okay, to check in on the situation. Now I'm not looking in the car directly, but I can tell that the passenger seat is reclined all the way and there is a tangle of bodies.

It turns out the woman is in the back seat restraining Rob. She's trying to get him to stay in the car so she can get a pack of cigarettes and they can leave. She digs out some money and asks if I could please run in and get her cigarettes. When I come back I ask if she is sure she's ok. She nods. She kisses Rob on the shoulder and, referring to her own actions says, "This is love". I can't help myself. I grunt and tell her no, it's trouble waiting to explode. She says something like been there, done that. I shrug. I tell her I don't care that they are there, that I am leaving soon though and the woman inside is ready to call the police. She makes sure Rob understands this, gets in the front and drives off. I go inside and punch out. I head off for some overtime at my regular job.

Life flows on.

In other news, the drains still leak. Just not as badly. Some one came in tonight and actually gave me the five dollars I fronted them for some gas. (A regular customer) It's been three weeks or more. I had kind of written it off.

See ya next time.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In our world of rush rush rush rush, have it all, have it now, we forget our one of most valuable asset. Our health. So many times the people we count on as partners and caretakers don't give themselves the time to be taken care of.

I don't know the exact demographic for the readers of this blog. Five out of the seven people who have signed on as followers are women so logic would say that the bulk of the people who see this will be women also. I find though that I must pass on a message to any of the men out there.

Do you want to show the women in your life how much they mean to you? Take care of them. Be concerned with their well being. That'll probably get you more points than taking the garbage out on time.

Did you know it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

Though I can only go through some statistics and warnings it's an important enough issue for the tired and grumpy Night Guy to repeat them.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women. According to the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month website,, there are several risk factors. I have lifted some information directly from their site. A lot of us may already know most of this stuff but please pass it on. The more people who are aware, the better chances of a life being saved.

The highest risk factor for breast cancer is being female; the disease is about 100 times more common among women.

The risk of breast cancer increases as a woman grows older. The risk is especially high for women age 60 and older. Breast cancer is uncommon in women younger than age 35, although it does occur. There is some evidence to suggest young African American women are at greater risk for breast cancer than young Caucasian women.

Women who have had breast cancer and women with a history of breast disease (not cancer, but a condition that may predispose them to cancer) may develop it again.

The risk of developing breast cancer increases for a woman whose mother, sister, daughter, or two or more close relatives have had the disease. It is important to know how old they were at the time they were diagnosed.

The next 5 risk factors all involve estrogen, a hormone that naturally occurs in men and women. However, at the time menstruation begins, women start to produce larger amounts of estrogen and will continue to do so until they reach menopause. Estrogen appears to play a key role in breast cancer. Although estrogen doesn't actually cause breast cancer, it may stimulate the growth of cancer cells. Estrogen-related risk factors are:

Having an early menarche (first period or menstrual bleeding). Women who begin menstruating before age 12 are at increased risk of developing breast cancer. The more menstrual cycles a woman has over her lifetime, the more likely she is to get the disease.

Having a first pregnancy after age 25 or 35. Although early pregnancies may help lower the chances of getting breast cancer, particularly before the age of 25, these same hormonal changes after age 35 may contribute to the incidence of breast cancer.

Having no children. Women who experience continuous menstrual cycles until menopause are at a higher than average risk.

Use of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Based on the Women's Health Initiative Study (2002), women do appear to have an increased risk of breast cancer while they are on HRT and a short time thereafter, compared to those who have never used postmenopausal HRT. This is based on a study of 16,000 healthy postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 who were taking either estrogen plus progestin as HRT or a placebo (an inactive pill).

Use of Oral Contraceptives (OCs) and Breast Cancer. Current or former use of OCs among women ages 35 to 64 did not significantly increase the risk of breast cancer. The findings were similar for Caucasian and African-American women. Data also show that former OC use does not increase the risk of breast cancer later in life.

Early detection is the most important step to fighting cancer. Men please help take care of the women in your lives. Be aware of the risk factors and help them take care of themselves. Ladies, think of yourselves first some times. Take care of yourselves some times. Please, please, please do a self exam or get a mammogram.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fool In The Rain

More heavy rain forecast for tonight. Biblical stuff from what I gather. Though only for a few hours and not the traditional forty days. The wind is quite raucous in heralding the news of the storm. The garbage cans are having a right jolly time playing in the wind; skittering across the parking lot in some crazy game I don't know the rules for yet. I have to go outside, collect the gabage cans and line them up along the store out of the wind as if they are being punished for playing outside after dark. I suppose they are in a way since I will have extra sweeping to do in the parking lot because of their midnight romp.

"Did you hear about the robbery?" were just about the first words to greet me when I came in tonight. This happened a few days ago. Only a few days before that a drug store just up the road had been robbed. The person I was relieving knew no details except that a woman fairly new to third shift here was working.

As long as I have worked at this gas station men have worked the Night Shift. This always just kinda made sense to me. For safety more than anything else. Meaning absolutely no offense to any women readers out there, but I always figured a man was somehow more of a deterrent. Not that a man would handle the situation any better or more bravely either. It seems the odds are just better against it. I'll have to look that one up I guess.

So... I now have all night to ponder. Were there weapons? Is my co-worker ok? How much was taken? In short I guess, what happened?

And what happens now?

How comfortable am I now? The thought of being robbed has never bothered me. One shouldn't work this shift in a place like this if does. These are desperate times for a lot of people though. Crime seems to be on the rise around here. Are my chances better or worse now of being robbed on my watch? When will I stop looking at people differently? It's not even me who it happened to yet I can't help but wonder how long before things feel back to normal.

The manager came in early in the morning and explained what happened. The clerk evidently went to use the restroom. She did not lock the door when she went. A couple of guys had been watching the store. Waiting for her to disappear into the back for a while. While she was gone they came in and stole some cartons of cigarettes. They left before she came back out. She had no contact with them. She only new from cartons scattered on the floor. The two men did the same thing in a neighboring town and were caught by the police.

Well that wasn't so bad.


I mean what do you think of when some one says a convenience store was robbed? In my head it was all gun waving and violence and threats. I'm not trying to belittle this woman's probable feelings of violation and unease; I'm sure I'd feel the same. All in all though it was the best of outcomes for her.

We do rush to judge sometimes huh? We are a judgmental lot, we humans. We are so willing to take that first bit of information, that first impression, and run with it. How easy it is to think the sky is falling if you never look up. If we never walk that mile in our neighbor's shoes. If we never even try and see the world through another set of eyes. And if we're not willing to do that how can we ever expect to be understood or respected?

How about this; next time either one of us feels like we are rushing in with the fools; let's not. Let's just take it easy on ourselves and each other.

Ok, 'nough of me for one sitting.