“What Lies Behind…”
Taken October 9, 2007 with Canon PowerShot A550
My boss called me today.
Asked me to come in to work to “have a little talk.”
Scared the shit out of me.
I LOVE my job. I want to keep my job. The only thing I don’t like about my job is my seeming inability to negotiate gracefully between day shifts and night shifts, which I’m beginning to despair of ever getting a handle on.
All I can manage to do is sleep. House is a wreck. The Idiot Child must feed herself or go hungry – not to mention, wash her own laundry (as well as mine), and Sheikh the Cat has begun spending his awake hours sitting next to my head, intermittently placing a paw on my face and sliming kissing me, wondering why my eyes are always closed.
This despair of accommodating the fluctuating schedule got me wishing for a work routine that I’ve only experienced once, Way Back When, remember that? I wasn’t particularly fond of the “job” part of that job, but the schedule was perfect: it was the same. damned. schedule. every. day. With weekends off, to boot.
My house was clean. The cats were happy. The Idiot Child was still a teenager, but I think she preferred the sameness, as well.
I have been wishing I could approach my boss and appeal for a Same-Damned-Shift. Even if it was the night shift. I dreamed of the conversation being short, sweet and successful.
Me: “Hey, how ’bout I work nights? All the time. Just nights. Cuz nobody else seems to like nights.”
Him: “Yeah, great idea! Thanks! I’ll just go ahead and change the schedule right now! How ’bout I give you more shifts with that? You want more shifts? There’s more money in more shifts. How ’bout I give you more shifts, too?”
There are a bzillion reasons why I couldn’t do that. I mean, I could do that, but he would either laugh, thinking I was joking, or take me seriously and still say no. Several reasons for the “no”:
1) I’m still The New Kid on the Dance Floor. Yes, others have come behind me, but I’m still new enough that I can get away with “I’m New Here” to cover a mistake I’ve made. Much longer, I’d have to use “I’m Old” for an excuse. That’s probably more apt. 😉
2) Nobody has a Same-Damned-Shift schedule. Nobody. Why should *I* get that lucky?
3) It’s obvious to all and sundry that I’m having trouble adapting to the shift changes and if they coddled me (cuz I’m old, maybe?), it could possibly cause a revolt.
So, I’ve been schlepping along, loving the job part of the job and hating the schedule part of the job, wishing for the impossible, and for shit’s sake, my boss calls me today for “a little talk”.
I knew I was fired. I wanted to ask if I was fired, but Boss is not the kind of guy that does that over the phone, I’m pretty sure. I settled for asking, oh so casually (yeah, right) “Sure, what’s up? Something wrong?” the whole while repeating the mantra, “don’t-let-it-be-bad…don’t-let-it-be-bad…don’t-let-it-be-bad…don’t-let-it-be-bad”, which, for the record, has never once worked before. In my experience, if it feels like it might be “bad”, it’s generally much, much worse than “bad”.
So, yeah. I knew I was fired, even when he said, “Oh, no. Nothing to worry about. Just wanna go over something with you.”
Uh oh. What horrible thing have I done? Shit, he read about me finding cocaine on the dance floor! No, wait, I told him that story myself and he laughed really hard. Can’t be that.
Or maybe, I didn’t do something that I should have done? It’s not like I forgot to lock up, or anything (once did that while working for Louie, and nobody even noticed, can you believe that?) – I mean, we’re open 24/7. I’m not even sure there is a set of keys for the place.
Not that it would matter what the “little talk” was about, I still had to have it. So, I pulled on my boots and crossed the street.
And my boss said to me – no word of a lie, here, either, I swear – I’m not even exaggerating in the slightest little bit:
“I’m hoping I can change your schedule. Would you be willing to work straight nights, with weekends off? You’d be guaranteed five shifts that way, (employees who have been there longer, of course normally get more hours, unless they book a shift and hand it to me) and if I need you on the weekends, I’ll call – you’ve never turned down a shift, so you’re the first one I call. Would that work for you?
Well, gee, lemme think on that….
I’m dumbfounded. I agreed immediately, though, and he was all thanking me as if I were doing him a favour. Maybe I am and just don’t realize it, but it’s like he read my mind.
Or my blog….
So, he hands me my newly-minted hours, starting Sunday end, or S/M if you read the little date box on the schedule, and I trotted back home to write this post, and marvel over never having to wonder when I’m working “next week”… and there followed shortly a call requesting me to work an extra shift tomorrow. Already, I’m booked for overtime. I love my job.
Now, I have to clean a cat-box. Maybe then, Sheikh will quit sliming kissing me in the middle of my version of night.
~ Just about to hit the publish button when I get another call from work – this time from the assistant manager: apparently some deer-hunter I was joking around with a week or so ago (told him he should bring me some deer parts, since my dad was gone, and nobody ever brings me deer meat anymore), just dropped off a venison roast for me. Can I please come pick it up, as it’s grossing her out? ~
Well, gee, lemme think on that….
Excuse me while I go pick up Free Dead Wild Animal.
(Did I tell you how much I love my job…?)
Random Song-for-the-Day: “Surf Wax America” – Weezer
Taken July 7, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550
Yeah, yeah, I know I said I *hate* these things not two posts ago, but…The Best Memes in Life Are Stolen. Elle said that, so it must be true.
Stole this from Elle, who stole it from Angelika, who stole it from Why Are You Stalking Me?, who stole it from someone else. 😀
1. Do you like blue cheese salad dressing?
2. Favorite late night snack?
— Mashed potatoes. And beer.
3. Do you own a gun?
4. What’s your favorite drink at Starbucks or other specialty coffee shop?
— Here in Canuckia, it’s Tim’s, and it’s either a black coffee, or an English Toffee something-or-other.
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
— Not anymore.
6. What do you think of hot dogs?
— I try not to think of them, or it puts me off them. Have eaten them. Will most likely eat them again.
7. Favorite Christmas song?
— Gramma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
— I wish I had the nerve to say beer. It’s coffee, though.
9. Can you do push-ups?
— I can… but will I? HA!
10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?
— It’s a toss-up between my Grandmother’s little silver “broach-watch” thingy, or my father’s wristwatch. I wear neither of them, though. Or any other jewelry of any other kind, for that matter.
11. Favorite hobby?
— Digital Photography.
12. Do you have A.D.D.?
13. What’s one trait that you hate about yourself?
— I procrastinate. A lot. I probably stole this meme weeks ago.
14. The last disease you contracted?
15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment.
— I can’t possibly be expected to untangle THREE of them considering I might have A.D.D.
16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink?
— Coffee, coffee and beer. Although ‘regular’ on beer has become more ‘few and far between’. And that’s a shame, if ever there was one.
17. Current worry right now?
— None. I refuse.
18. Current hate right now?
— See above.
19. Favorite place to be?
— I haven’t been ANYPLACE, yet. I’ll have to do something about that.
20. How did you ring in the New Year?
— I seriously cannot remember.
21. Like to travel?
— I hope so.
22. Name three people who will complete Sunday Stealing this week:
23. Do you own slippers?
— Yes, I do.
24. What color shirt are you wearing?
25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
— Haven’t the foggiest. Probably not.
26. Can you whistle?
— Can so.
27. Favorite singer/band?
— Impossible to attempt to decide.
28. Could you ever make it 39 days on the show Survivor?
— I’ll betcha I could. But what the hell for?!
29. What songs do you sing in the shower?
— I don’t. The Idiot Child does though. And in the sauna. And in the “bathroom”. And in her sleep sometimes.
30. Favorite girl’s names?
31. Favorite boy’s names?
— Hmmmmm…. Matthew for my father, maybe?
32. What’s in your pocket right now?
— Nothing right now, but a few seconds ago there was a hand in there!
33. Last thing that made you laugh?
— How fast “Hand in My Pocket” started playing in my head after I typed the above answer.
34. Like your job?
— I do.
36. Do you love where you live?
— If you mean my apartment – yes. If you mean this town – not like I once did.
37. How many TVs do you have in your house?
38. Who is your loudest friend?
— “Real Life” friends – The Fly-Girl. “Imaginary Friends”, as my mom calls anybody I know online, I haven’t a clue yet. But it’s probably Suzi, now that Sheikh is gone… 😀 / 🙁
39. Do you drive the speed limit or speed?
— I always drive the speed limit. Unless I think I might have cocaine in my pockets.
40. Does someone have a crush on you?
— If so, I hope it’s a movie producer in need of new scripts…
41. What is your favorite book?
— Can’t say… too many. I like anything by Madeline L’engle. Or Douglas Adams. Or Robert Heinlein.
42. What is your favorite candy?
— Just gimme the candy.
43. Favorite Sports Team?
— At one time, it was the Edmonton Oilers, but then Wayne defected.
44. What were you doing 12 AM last night?
— Dancing in the parking lot.
45. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up today?
— I haven’t yet woken up today.
So, steal it if you want it. 😀
Random Song-for-the-Day: “Gyasi Went Home” – Bedouin Soundclash
Taken March 16, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550
I’m not kidding, either. My days are like this: get up, eat, shower, dress, eat again, pack a lunch, cross the street to work, where I suck back 8 to 10 cups of coffee, eat one lunch, buy another, eat everybody else’s leftovers, dance in the parking lot, cross the street to home, check the mail, sit in the sauna, eat, try not to fall asleep whilst checking up on Blog-Family, eat, collapse. Start over.
I’m switching back and forth between three to four nights “on”, a day – sometimes two – off (the first of which I generally sleep through entirely, along with the following night), followed by three to four day shifts. Rinse and repeat. If they start throwing afternoons at me, I’m not going to get a chance to eat the million meals it seems to take to keep me conscious. I’m not gaining any weight, but at least I’m not losing any, either.
Fluffy took me out to dinner a few weeks ago, and swears I fell asleep at the table. I did not (there were two whole beers to drink; I’m not one to sleep through beer), but I did fall asleep during the car-ride home. We’re going out to eat on Saturday night coming (how many sleeps away is that?) and I hope to stay awake for three beers, this time.
I am not exaggerating when I ask what day it is – most of the time, I really don’t know. As long as I remember how many of such-and-such shift I have in a row, I’m good.
I have to smarten up. I want to write. I want to record. I want to blog my Dad’s stories. I want to drive the Prissy-Van to Teeny-Tiny Town to visit my mom.
It’s like permanent jet-lag. How do I fix this?! One of these Saturday mornings I’m going to drop the Idiot Child off at a locked and empty school, if I don’t get a handle on my time.
Random Song-for-the-Day: “Hey There, Delilah” – Plain White T’s
Is It, or Isn’t It…?
Taken November 7, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550
In a Parking Lot, Wellington St West, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
Right, so I worked a night shift today (or last night), and have not yet slept, although I’m working through the night again tomorrow (or today [or tonight]).
You’ll have to excuse me; my brains have had a stir. See above.
It’s a lonely vigil, the night shift. There’s nobody else to dance with, for one thing. Not that I mind dancing alone (and I do dance in the parking lot all by myself, through the long night. I do.), but there are fewer 5-minute conversations, because there are fewer people – which is why I’m alone to begin with; fewer people to deal with means no side-kick for Les to dance with – and those few people tend to be tired and grumpy. Especially when it rains.
Myself, I like the rain in the middle of the night. I don’t have to sweep the “dance floor” in the rain, although I kind of like that part of the job. It’s rhythmic and soothing, and sometimes I find cool things. Like money – in 5 cent, 10 cent, 2-bits, and sometimes (gasp!) even whole dollar increments.
And then there’s that thing at the top of the page, stuck up there before the words start. Yes, it does look like that, doesn’t it? Or what I’ve always imagined that that would look like, if ever I encountered it, and up until I came across that ziploc bag while sweeping prior to the rain in the middle of last night, I had never encountered it.
If that’s what it really is, anyway.
And you know I’m not going to tell you that, at least, until the end of the story, right?
I’m going to interrupt here, one day later, to add some audio. With thanks to Suzi and Dale, I’ve worked up the guts to record the remaining portion of this post, as practice for The Waitress AudioBook project – you know, test the equipment and software, find my public speaking voice again, blah, blah, blah.
I’m pleased to say, that I dropped back into it with very few mishaps, and no tears whatsoever. In fact, I actually enjoyed myself, which I wouldn’t have believed possible, previously. I may just do this again.
Click the link – have a listen – read along. Sorry about the lack of a bouncing ball to follow, but maybe I’ll work that in when I switch the blog over to flash, which should happen sometime next decade with the flash conversion success rate that I boast…
Guess What I Found in the Parking Lot? – © Les Becker, 2008
Click it! Click it!
(You know you want to…)
I stand there in the parking lot, broom in hand, staring down at this ziploc bag, and nudge it with the very manly steel-toed toe of my very manly steel-toed boot…. and I look around as nonchalantly as is possible when one comes across what might be seriously illegal ziploc baggie-filler in the middle of the night at one’s place of employment, with Han Solo’s voice running through my head: “I don’t know! Fly casual!” Or, in this case, sweep casual….
Eventually, I get up the guts to pick it up. It’s heavier than I would have imagined cocaine would be; packed into a hard little, perfect little, ultra-thin zippo-lighter-sized rectanglular-shaped brick.
A nasty thought strikes me: Is this some kind of test?!
Not a “set up from the Boss” kind of test… I’m thinking more along the lines of God, or the Universe, or Whomever/Whatever really runs things… a kind of like, “Here! Have some of this. Free, even!” kind of test. I mean, if I had found a baggie of pot in the parking lot in the middle of the night, I wouldn’t be blogging this.
And I’m pretty sure I’d be sound asleep right now, too… 😀
But it very obviously isn’t pot… and I’ve no idea if it’s what I think it might be, which is coke, and on top of that, no idea if, assuming I had the opportunity/nerve to open it up, I would be able to tell cocaine from anything else that might resemble cocaine.
All I really know, is that whatever it is or isn’t, it’s illegal, and I’d better “do the right thing”, or risk arrest, and the loss of my groovy-cool new J.O.B.
So, what’s the “right thing to do”?
Do I sneak off to the bathroom and unwrap the thing…? No. I’m not worried about temptation (although wouldn’t that be a bugger – to crawl out from under, find a job I like for a change, and then get hooked on coke in the employee bathroom the first time out because I found somebody’s lost stash and thought, “Ah, what the hell…?”), but opening it up wouldn’t exactly look good on me later, would it?
Do I take it in to the “inside” side of the parking lot, to Pretty Girl who’s working tonight and Show and Tell it to her? I decide against… Pretty Girl is nice (she dances when I tell her to), but I don’t really know her that well. What if she’s a coke-head? It could happen – maybe she dropped it.
I decide to go inside and call the Boss – yes, wake him up out of a sound sleep, and ask him what to do. That’s the ticket.
At which point, a 5-Minute Conversationalist rolls up to park, grumpy as all hell, and I stuff the baggie in my pocket and go conversate.
And then I forget all about it.
I KNOW!!! Can you imagine?!
But that’s what I do… until the sun rises, and I’m suddenly surrounded by 5-Minute Conversationalists and it isn’t until the Boss pulls up and parks that I remember it.
And then shift-change is upon us, and things go nuts, because we have to shut everything down for a whole minute-and-a-half and all the grumpy 5-Minute Conversationalists are freaking because they have to wait for their conversations, and by the time it calms down and I’m free to talk to the Boss about the baggie full of drugs I found in his parking lot, my Idiot Child (now don’t come down on me for renaming my formerly wonderful albeit sometimes stupid kid – she’s a full-blown teenager now, clinically insane and has recently earned the new name, believe me) comes flying into the fray to tell me she missed her bus, and can I please, please drive her all the way to the far edge of town to school?
To which I find myself driving in a downpour, with a minor child, and me with no purse (hence, no driver’s license), with my pockets stuffed full of cocaine.
I’m certain I’m going to be stopped for driving erratically. I am, in point of fact, driving very erratically, being in a panic about my pending arrest and all. The knowledge that I am about to become the much-honoured Family Cup Holder does not please me nearly as much as I’ve always believed it would.
I’m sure that, even if I don’t get stopped by the police, I’m certain to run a red light, plow through twenty-seven other vehicles, roll the Prissy-van, mow down a whole bloody mess of school-children, and eventually wake up from my coma in handcuffs because somebody is going to find cocaine in my pockets, dammit, and, somehow, I don’t think, “I found it in the parking lot,” is gonna fly… Nuh-uhhh.
I decide to drop my Idiot Child off at school, and then drive to the police station with my contraband and turn myself in. I’m pretty sure they’ll believe the parking lot story if I surrender the goods of my own volition, so I concentrate on not killing anyone, and driving safely, and I must be doing alright, because I turn into my driveway having had only two fists shaken in my direction, and three or four fingers, ummm, fingered at me.
Yes. I turn into my driveway… having driven by rote and gone home rather than the police station.
At this point, I decide, to hell with it all, I’m going to flush it and forget it. I get inside, lock the door, lock the bathroom door, you know, to be on the safe side, and unwrap the hard little, perfect little, ultra-thin zippo-lighter-sized rectanglular-shaped brick.
Which turns out to be a dead camera battery wrapped in a tissue and folded into a ziploc bag for recycling.
Lucky for me… because a few minutes later, I discover that my toilet won’t flush.
Some drug dealer I’d make. I’m disgusted with myself. I don’t deserve The Family Cup after all.
And Google is going to send me some wicked-weird visitors because of this post, I know it.
Not-So-Random Song-for-the-Day: “Cocaine” – Eric Clapton
“A Fish of a Different Flavour”
A couple of months back, I was invited to dinner by a friend: a 6’4 cook I worked with at The House of Fracas, my temporary placement, the first J.O.B. (and so far, only) in my brand new field, after I was out of school.
This invitation was a long time coming. He kept inviting me… but I would either decline, or he wouldn’t be able to come up with a date for the “date”.
In my case, I needed some guts; not to mention, a kid-free evening so as not to freak my daughter out.
For a long time, whenever “man” or “men” came into a conversation, she tended to go a little squirrelly with the idea of her mother um… meeting one/talking to one/associating with one/going out with one/being seen in public with one/dating one/falling in love with one/marrying one… in a nutshell, she didn’t want any man, be it friend/co-worker/date/pick a label, anywhere near either one of us. Grampa and her Uncle Trespasser were the only two male human beings she trusted. I suppose I could say the same for me.
In The Cook’s case, he needed an evening that he wasn’t working, when his room-mate was working, that included finances allowing for a nice meal for an extra stomach, that fell the day before a scheduled day off – presumably to allow for cleaning the kitchen long into the night and/or not waking up hung over and having to go cook three meals one-after-the-other for a bunch of other stomachs.
Finally, the last time the invitation was extended, we hammered down a hole in both schedules and labeled it Tilapia. As the date got closer, we both had an idea that something would screw it up, but miracle of miracles, that day, the earth stood still for once, and everything worked out in favour of fish and a good story.
Ky had a sleepover that she didn’t kak out on at the last minute… The Cook managed to get out of The House of Fracas in time to shop for Tilapia… the store didn’t run out of Tilapia before he got there… I didn’t get lost on the way to an unfamiliar place… so far so good.
Dinner was nice. I ate a type of fish I was not familiar with, that I very much enjoyed, declined the wine in favour of a Cuba Libre (always the better choice – fish or no), and sat back to conversate with a Someone that turned out to have more in common with me than I would have imagined.
He likes Archie Bunker, which amazed me, because he never struck me as the type that would. He’s a city-boy – an implant from Trinidad and Tobago, raised in Toronto – who loves music, but seems to listen to black artists exclusively, dances while cooking, and can’t seem to understand why people from Sault Ste. Marie do not act like people from Toronto. We argue often about why “we” do not change our behaviour to accommodate him.
He didn’t seem to me to be the average Archie Bunker fan. In truth, he seemed more like a black Archie Bunker.
We had some odd revelations come up during our long conversation, the TV muted until All in the Family was set to start… and eventually, the conversation got around to me writing, and why I wasn’t, much, and “What the hell is a freaking blog?!”
So, I told him about my life online, and my Blog-Family, and the stories about Ruby, and my dad, and blah, blah, blah, and the look on his face was priceless.
“What?!” sez I, thinking he was just astounded that people can have a second sort of life, completely digital, which in my case, is more important than my dirt-side life. I’ve seen that same expression on the faces of other people, after all…
Most of the people I meet face-to-face use the internet, but live in the “real” world (not including “gamers”, who have a whole ‘nother existence, but try telling “real” people that bloggers and gamers are two different species – I dare you – cuz they just don’t get the difference), and just can’t imagine how bloggers connect with one another.
He surprised me again, though.
“I have a story! If I tell it to you, are you gonna put it on the Internet?”
“Well, DUH! Yeah! I’ll change your name, though.”
“I shall call you ‘The Cook’,” sez I.
To which, The Cook took offense.
“I…”, he stated flatly, “Am a ‘Kitchen Manager’.”
“I’m not calling you ‘The Kitchen Manager’,” I told him.
He countered with, “Well, you’re not calling me ‘The Cook’.”
In the end, we finally decided that he could come up with his own nom-de-blog once he’d told me his story…
Which he did do, but this post is already way too freaking long, and I’m out of time, and I’m trying to get back at a couple of Blog-Family members for their “To Be Continued…” habits (CardioGirl and Shrinky, specifically, the shet-bags), and this should piss them off nicely.
So I will post the story told to me, by The Newly-Named Cook… Kitchen Manager… ummm… soon. Ish.
And soon after that, I’ll have another Blanche-story up… followed by a Dad-story… followed by a Ruby-story… and I imagine a bunch of gibberish of my own interspersed between them all. That oughtta bring us all nicely into October.
Random Song-for-the-Day: “Seven Wonders” – Fleetwood Mac