Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Last Thanksgiving these two very drunk, barely English speaking guys came in the store some time in the middle of the night. Oh let's call it 2:00am just for the heck of it. I had seen them a few times before and knew they lived in the apartments just across the street. One guy wanted coffee. The other wanted hot dogs. In fact he wanted thirty hot dogs. Pointing to the roller grill he slurred, "Thirty hot dogs". "Thirty"? I asked. "Yes". "No, I can't make you thirty hot dogs". A little frustrated with me he repeated his request, "Thirty hot dogs". He is so drunk I ask him again if it's thirty hot dogs he wants. Yes it is. We go back and forth like this a few more times. Finally I ask in Spanish, "Treinta"? "Yes". I tell him one more time to forget about it. I couldn't have fit that many on the grill. So it would've been two batches of hot dogs at forty minutes to an hour each. Call me a cynic if you must; something told me no matter how adamant he was he didn't really want thirty hot dogs. He wanders around and finds a couple of cheese burgers to throw in the microwave. The other guy comes up with his coffee and a couple of cheese burgers also. He was going to pay for everything. The motion of digging his hand in his pocket almost made him fall over. They left once he paid and I could see them sitting on the curb eating with drunken fervor. I guess I was so flummoxed by the hot dogs I paid little or no attention to what was going on with the coffee. I was not prepared for what greeted me when I came from behind the counter to see what needed cleaning up. I would love to know how many cups of coffee this guy spilled. It was everywhere. It was as if he bad poured ten cups, set them in a row, knocked them over and splashed around in it a bit for good measure. When I went out later to sweep the parking lot there were cheese burger wrappers strewn about that I had to clean up. I've never seen them again.

I woke up with a start from my nap tonight surprised that I was up before the alarm. I stretch and begin to rouse myself. No, wait. What time is it? I quickly reach for my phone to check the time. 2:00am! Holy... Oh man! My shift starts at ten. I am four hours late in the blink of an eye. I can see there are some missed calls, voice mails and text messages. I don't bother with any of those and call the store straight away. "I'm SO sorry! I guess my alarm didn't go off". It ended up ok with a few people switching shifts. I stopped by the store later in the day to talk to the manager who had to cover the shift for the woman who covered mine. Ends up every one had been worried when I didn't call that I had quit. That's a big thing in this company I guess. People quit without a word. No call, no show. Nah, not me. I'll give my two week notice when the time comes. With relish. Finally going through the texts I discover the key to why I was late. I had set my alarm early so I could make a stop before work. There was a text asking me if I could stop by the next day not tonight. I answered yes. The original text came twenty minutes before my alarm. My response was sent two minutes after my alarm. Evidently I woke to the alarm, answered the text and fell back asleep. I think. I don't remember any of it.

So, having missed a night of work I was not able to finish this post in a timely manner. They say one of the keys to blogging is consistency. Oops.

I'll finish quickly. I promise.

I guess for a lot of people the holidays have become a crushing weight. Instead of a time to show your true love for family and friends it's a race to the end and heave a sigh when it's over. The whirlwind from Thanksgiving to Christmas is enough to make you dizzy. The thing is you don't have to feel that way. Go against the grain this year. Be nonconformist. Why not hand make some presents this year? People really will appreciate the thought and love behind something you've spent time on. It doesn't have to be about spending money you don't have. Give gifts that matter. Gifts you give because you want to. Be a misfit this year. Show people you really care. Stay away from the mall. Give of yourself and your time. People will remember that long after the socks have holes in them.

See ya next time.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Games People Play

I wish sometimes I was a better person. See I just found myself being knowingly petty. And passive aggressive. Oh I know. I can hear your gasps of horror.

As soon as I saw the blue Toyota pick up truck pull up to pump 5, I knew. As soon as I saw the grumpy old man I knew. I felt the plug pulled, draining away any semblance of good humor I was feeling just then.

This gas station still has the option to pump your gas first and then come in to pay. The only catch is is that there is a simple sequence that must take place before you can pump your gas. You take the nozzle from the pump and press which grade of gas you want. This tells me your intention. More importantly it allows me to activate the pump. You have to press the button. I can't turn the pump on otherwise.

So we have this ritual, he and I. It's a whole process. I see him pull up. He gets out of his truck and puts the nozzle in the filler tube. He looks over at me waiting for me to turn the pump on. I look at him blankly. He knows. He knows the deal. I have seen him almost every week for two years now. If I could turn the pump on before he pushed the button I would. I grow so weary of his game. I know I've mentioned him in passing in other posts. I've never told the whole story though. When he's done pumping and comes in to pay he throws his bills across the counter. He will always say, "I've got the change", and digs out a handful of coins from his pocket. He'll ask, referring to how much change he owes, "What is it"? I tell him. He counts it out one coin at a time. He slides, rolls, and bounces it toward me so I have to play goalie for him. Usually I just hand him the two or three dollars, say thanks and wish him a good night or some such.

Tonight I rebelled. He held out his hand for the change. I had the three dollars in mine. I paused. I tossed the money on the counter in front of him. He scooped the money up and turned to get something in the store. He handed me whatever it was and slid the three dollars toward me. I now had coins in my hand to give him. He held out his hand. I paused ever so slightly. I slid the coins toward him on the counter so they landed in a neat straight line that he had to pick up one by one. He didn't say a word. He didn't blink. He just picked up his change, turned and walked out. Did he even realize that I was so demonstratively disrespecting him? It doesn't seem so.

Yeah. Pretty evil huh? Why don't I just talk to him you might ask. Tell him, gently, how rude he seems and how it makes me feel? Maybe I will next time. It's not my "place" though you see. It would be rude and out of place, wouldn't it? I'm supposed to smile and nod and say thanks.

Every one has boundaries. Every one has some line in the sand some where. I guess the problem comes when desires bump into boundaries. Well needs versus desires really. Are you willing to relax your boundaries for what you desire? I have to believe Angie (the young woman from my last post) knew it was wrong when she started skimming from the register. She probably needed the money because she wanted something. It was just a game she was playing with herself. Justifying the means and all. Did I know I was wrong and being petty tonight? Umm, yes. My desire to show this customer how disrespect feels over rode my need to be better than all of that. You have to be mindful. No matter how strong your boundaries are there are always patches that have been rubbed thin making it easier for that line to be crossed either by you or to you.

very quickly I want to tell you of the futility of one of my chores here and then I'll let you go. Every Saturday night I have to stuff the Sunday papers. It starts with the inserts I stuff into the comics. Later when the body of the newspaper gets here I stuff the comics and inserts into that. There are thirty papers to stuff. As I do this I wonder how many papers we actually sell on Sundays. To be honest I hardly ever think about this place when I leave here Sunday mornings so I never think to ask when I come in and see some one who would know. Some one actually mentioned it to me the other day. The woman I was relieving a week or so ago was noticing the inserts sitting on the floor waiting to be stuffed. She said she would never understand why we get so many papers on Sunday; when she works Sunday nights she throws out 25 papers. Wow. I try to make sure that the papers are put together the same way every week. That when somebody comes and buys their paper it will be the same. What ever ritual that person carries out with their Sunday paper can be performed uninterrupted. Guess it doesn't really matter how I do it. I mean I'll do it the same way as before it becomes much more of a Zen exercise though.

Had enough for one week?

See ya next time. Peace.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bohemian Rhapsody

So it's Thursday night again. My night so far? As soon as I walk in the guy I'm relieving asks, "Did you hear about Angie"? Angie is pretty young. Nineteen. Maybe twenty. She's had her hand in the till.

We had our monthly audit this past week and ended up somewhere around twelve hundred dollars short. Evidently she has been ringing merchandise up but not finalizing the sale. She would tell the customer the total, take the money and give out change. She would void everything before actually ringing it through. The area behind the counter is 6' x 16'. There are seven cameras in the store. Four of them are behind the counter. FOUR. From what I understand you can see her on the tapes putting the cash on top of the register and later pocketing it.

This is the same girl who called me a few weeks ago asking if I could come in early because she felt so sick. I was wicked sick myself with only four hours of sleep over the last thirty six hours. I was kinda grumpy that she woke me from my nap. Since I was awake though I said I'd come in as soon as I could. When I got there she was standing out in front of the store with her boyfriend smoking a cigarette and just laughing and laughing over something. She was having such a good time. I went in the store and started to count my drawer. As Angie came in with her boyfriend I could see him texting. He asked "When should I tell her we'll be there"? "Fifteen minutes", she replied. This certainly caused a Spock like raised eyebrow from me but, I said nothing. And then she left. She hadn't said hello, thanked me for coming or apologized for waking me. She barely said good bye. I was feeling slightly put upon to say the least. As it turns out I was only the latest to help her out while she was under the weather. She's been avoiding coming in lately. Not a no show no call like she's quit. She's called out a few times since the audit. I guess she doesn't want the confrontation. That or she doesn't want to feel the sting of the ax. Either way, not a good way to start your adult life.

What's next on Your Hit Parade?

Why the machete wielding thieves of course.

As I was leaving last Sunday morning the last customer I saw told us to be careful today; a 7-Eleven in town had just been robbed by two men with machetes. I commiserated with the woman just coming on and left shortly after that. I forgot all about it. The second question tonight was, "Did you hear about the machete robberies"? I explained how I heard about it last Sunday. "Oh, no, there's been more".

Two men wearing all black with some kind of masks have been hopping around the state robbing different 7-Elevens. I imagine these guys are thinking they are extremely clever. Try to be random and all. They are so random in fact they've hit the same place twice. Course they aren't really random are they? Unless they're picking names from a hat somebody will find a pattern.

It's Saturday night. Right on the cusp of Sunday. I am happy to announce that the crime spree is over. Evidently there was surveillance at the next targeted store and the suspects were snagged as they were leaving the store. I haven't heard any other details. Don't know if many stores were watched or if that one was pinpointed. The majority of people that I talk to blame the rising tide of robberies on drugs. I might agree if unemployment wasn't hovering around %10 with no real relief in sight.

The last thing I had planned to share about the start of the night Thursday was about the guy who sneezed in his hand, wiped it on his shirt, and handed me his money.

'Nuff said about that I think.

Oh, I found out Angie was fired Friday. Don't know any of the details. 'Spose it doesn't really matter.

So where does all this lead my wandering mind? Unfortunately for you right back to the haves and have nots. This is where I go all conspiracy theory on you. Have you heard of Bohemian Grove? This all mens club is a yearly meeting of the rich and powerful. One of the accomplishments this group points to is a 1942 meeting to plan the Manhattan Project. How about the Bilderberg Group. Another group of very rich, very influential people from the worlds of politics, the military, banking and industry. These are the haves. Not you. Not me. Probably not even anyone you know. (Well, I don't know who you know but...) No one on the outside really know their aims. One world currency? New World Order? The end of democracy in America? Some believe it's all about ridding the world of most of its pesky population. Well good for them. A video that was making it's way around Facebook was George Carlin speaking his truth. He says there and in many other appearances before that that the ultra rich who are in power don't care about any of us. They just don't care. Period. How we all think we have choices in people we vote for, but don't. No choice in anything really.

So here goes. We do have choices. Right? I mean we all have choices. How do we greet the day? Do you smile and wave at the driver that just cut you off? Do you hang on to things and carry a heavy heart or can you let go and live lightly? Somethings we can control. Be mindful of how you want to represent your spirit on this physical plane.

I always feel like I go on and on. I really have to view this blog on a real computer to see how long some of these posts are. Oh well, time for chores.

See ya next time. Peace.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Stormy Weather

Yup, it's raining. There really isn't much more about rain that I can say at this point that I haven't in the past few posts. It's not violent, cute, or interesting tonight. It's cold and it's raining. Period. Although, this IS the time of year when almost everyone I know starts to say "At least it's not snow"! Later, when it the middle of winter I'll be hearing something like; "You know, every foot of snow equals an inch of rain". I take exception with that statement of course. I mean it depends on the snow doesn't it? Would small, dry, light flakes create the same amount of water as big, bloppy, (An official meteorological term by the way. Ha ha.) wet flakes? Maybe it's time to drag out the old graduated cup and let a few snow falls melt to find out.

Oops. Looks like I managed to talk about the rain anyway.

It's Saturday night now. I had no chance to write last night. At least it's not raining.

There are a few things that keep crossing my mind as things to write about. I don't know how they are connected. They must be though; everything is eventually.

I remember watching the national news when I was a kid and hearing how the gap between the rich and the poor was widening. The haves had more and the have nots, well, had not. It was reported as though it was a new story. A new fact that we should all be alarmed over. I remember thinking this story was of no real consequence. Hasn't this been going on since we were all hunter/gatherers? Once one person has more than another the power and advantage only seem to grow. I'm sure the adage about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer was around long before I first heard it. I think I see now why that story was important then. It's even more important now. With the world's population is approaching 7 billion people there are only so many resources to go around. What happens when gas prices reach, oh I don't know, $10, $15, $20 a gallon? Impossible you say? Keep devaluing the dollar and push us toward one world currency and see what happens. Food will be scarce. What food there is will be whackin' expensive. What happens when potable water becomes scarce? One thing I can tell you for sure is at that point it'll get worse before it gets better. Many people will tell you to start buying gold. It will only go up in value. I tend to side with the people who say start storing food. Learn to tend a garden. Start a community garden. That will save the average person's life more than a lump of gold will.

I hate to be all doom and gloom. Really. It just seems things are going to get worse for the average person before they get better. My only hope is that people remember that together we can weather any storm better than standing alone. That taking care of each other becomes more important than greed.

Enough said I guess.

See you next week. Peace.