There is one thing that seems to happen to me every time every time I visit a store. The first time it happened I was in a big department store, and I was maybe fourteen. And no, I did not look mature for my age.
I am the eternal victim of something that should never happen. This is not quite up to the embarrassment level of asking an overweight woman "When is the baby due?" but it does involve a question that should never be asked.
"Do you work here?"
First of all, if you are in a store and the person you are addressing has a name tag prominently displaying the name of the store along with their own name and you ask them that question they will automatically think you are annoyingly stupid. When I worked in a big box the question would drive my friends up the wall. It never really bothered me, because I would always answer with something like "No mostly I stand around with my hands in my pockets".
But that is not what I came here to whine about. The thing is, whenever I am in a store, any store at all, I am constantly asked that question. A few notable incidents stand out in my mind.
At one time I made my living as a gardener. The gig was not far from my house and usually I would go home and clean up a bit after work before going into town. I guess you could say I really got into my work. I didn't just get dirty. I would get ground in, stinky, dirt in your hair, muddy, perhaps bloody Pigpen kind of dirty, the kind of dirty people notice. Anyway for some reason on this particular day I found myself in a grocery store pushing a shopping cart when someone asked me The Question. Really?
Another time I went into Walmart. I had taken off my nametag but I was still wearing my Kmart shirt. She asked me The Question and when I said no she argued that I was wrong. I think I would know...
And then there are the plant nurseries. I can't begin to visit a greenhouse without at least 5 people asking my opinion on a certain plant. This does not bother me at all because the reason I ever got into the plant trade at all was because I found at an early age I knew more about the plant in question than whoever is running the register.
Now here comes the funny part.
I was at a plant store.
I hang out at this particular store a lot and I am accustomed to being asked The Question there, I always reply "What do you need?" This time I had a question of my own. I asked the lady standing there and she went over to help. In the course of our conversation it was revealed that she did in fact not work there. I apologized. A woman nearby overheard our conversation.
She said: "Wait, I am sorry, do you two actually not know each other? I thought you were twins."
I looked at the other lady and saw a beautiful girl maybe 10 years my junior. She did not say anything. All I could think to say was: "I am flattered".
So, my career as manager of the Watauga County Farmers' Market ended on December 31, 2011. I was maybe a little bit sad at first. That lasted about 3 days. Nowadays I just go around getting a kick out of being Citizen Me.
I gots me a nice little part time job digging ditches. All I have to do is show up on time, wear the right colors, and say the words they want me to say. I have a lot of fun with it. When I leave my time is mine, nothing to prepare for, nothing to print, nothing to report.
I spend my free time raising Lionhead bunnies. I even sell a few from time to time. I am building my own rabbit website but don't expect too much too soon as I spend more time cuddling bunnies than anything else.
I am so excited about owning my life again. I can't wait to see what happens next!
So I was working in the restaurant one day, running the cash register. That kinda puts me in charge by default, without any official power. They trusted me enough to handle huge stacks of cash, but not enough to make the decisions to keep the place running long enough to close up and get home. I am cool with that, but on this particular occasion my loyalties do get tested.
During this particular shift Ellen comes out of the kitchen and tells me that Juan has caught a couple waitresses smoking something reeeally funny.
Now I don't really care what the waitresses do as long as they tables happy. I do however know that Ellen is very straight and will probably tell the owner what happened. I figure I better get to the bottom of this right away.
I go and find Juan. Juan is fresh outa Mexico. We are pretty good friends because most nights I take the Mexicans wherever they want to go and then home. We have a pretty good rapport and therefore I am surprised when I asked him what happened to have him tell me, in Spanish:
"Lady, your dress is black"
I know when I am getting the runaround. I proceed to tell him in extremely broken Spanish that the owner will ask me and therefore I am asking him.
Juan understands and walks me to the men's room. He demonstrates what happened. Seems our rocket scientist waitresses not only think the men's room is the proper place to smoke their hooch but that is unnecessary to check the stalls.
Don't you people know about the dumpsters? I mean really...
So I call the owner on the phone.
Owner: Did that really happen?
Me: Yes Juan really took a crap.
Not sure whatever happened to the waitresses.
I know a better blogger would know a way to chronicle my life. My life is sometimes very interesting, some have even said bizarre. Maybe I should call on the blogosphere to give me advice. Lord knows I need advice. One of my problems made front page news 3 weeks in a row so far with no resolution on the way.
I know my posts are sometimes cryptic. That does not gain readership, it is only an inside joke for the three or four folks who know what is going on. My apologies to the rest of you.
This year is unusual because I have been more doing than learning. This is not normal for me and I know it is not sustainable. But it does bring in the bucks.
If I can post something interesting soon that will not betray a confidence, I will do it. If not, I will continue to pay the bills and come back when I do have something to say. Otherwise, just give me a call.
This story is not nearly as interesting as I had hoped it would be. I had envisioned a big old car carrier pulling up in front of my house and dropping off something nice, allowing for lots of photo opportunities. Turns out that my road is not at all suitable for an 80-foot truck, and the delivery took place in the middle of the night, in the rain, several miles from here. I did not even go to see it all happen. I am such a humbug sometimes. I will still tell ya what happened under the condition that you DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!
It all started a couple of months back when my kid found a cute little sports car he wanted to buy. It was listed on E-Bay. I did my best to convince him that buying the car was little wiser than stuffing his life savings into a box and mailing it to a random address on the other side of the country. He was not discouraged and very soon had wired his fortune off to somewhere in California.
Next came the process of arranging the shipping. While it may have been easier and less time consuming to simply drive out there and get the thing, the kid instead interviewed numerous shipping companies. Our phone rang off the hook for about two weeks. The person on the other end always had a very interesting accent and talked way too fast. Finally a decision was made and the calls tapered off gradually.
Some days after that the car title came in the mail. This was rather encouraging.
A couple of weeks passed, and finally we get call from the truck driver. He told us not only was there really a car, but that he had picked it up and that it looked and handled great. The next day a lady called and said the truck, with the car on it, had been put into the shop. The repair would be delayed because of the Thanksgiving holiday, but they expected to have it on the road on Monday. After that it took about a week and a half to cross the country.
The happy day finally came and the car arrived. It seemed to be in pretty good shape. It was actually a salvage vehicle and had to be inspected by the state inspector. He came by after about another week and a few wax jobs. The car passed the test. After that the kid was able to get a license plate and insurance and actually drive the thing.
Here are some photos of the happy ending.