April 13, 2009 at 5:55 AM 6 comments

Sure, the economy sucks right now. Things are slow all over, but nothing ever lasts forever, right? I could be working a full-time job, making way more than i do. But, no matter what, I refuse to let it kick my ass.

A couple years ago, I took a job (part-time) as a clerk in a convenience store in a small stripmall on a major street here in Omaha. Its surrounded by a bunch of apartment complexes with tenants ranging from college kids to retirees, from drunks to healthnuts. Approximately 80% of the clientele come from these buildings, the rest mostly from the surrounding neighborhoods. I’ve kept this “fill-in-guy” position for several reasons:

  • The cheap entertainment factor.
  • It’s given me a chance to be my usual smartass self and get paid in the process.
  • It gives me a chance to interact with people who would never give me the time of day anywhere else.
  • As it stands, this extra-cash job has become my only job, for now.
  • But mostly, I fit in well there.

The cheap entertainment factor By this, of course, I’m referring to some of the “unique” characters who crawl through our doors (personally, I pronounce characters here as “ka-rack-terz”). Anyway, during any given 6 hour shift, you might see the same four or five people twice, often three times. One guy comes in every couple hours to refill his huge mug, while another parks once and compulsively returns to the counter 2 to 3 times before leaving the parking lot. Each time, he will get just a little farther out to his car and turn around. He’s not senile or anything like that, just can’t seem to make up his mind, all the while trying to convince himself he got everything he needed or was sent to get. He does this about once every two weeks. Of course, being the kind A-hole I am, I feel compelled to ask him “Can I get ya anything else?” just to spur him on. Two days after I started, I met our token drag queen. Nobody warned me about him. He’s like 6 foot 4, lanky, wrinkly, probably in his late 50’s, early 60’s. I was filling some ice bags, in he walks, decked in his finest summer dress with 3-inch heels, no make-up and a cheap wig, to ask me if he “looked good?” in his deep bass voice.  I almost bit my forehead off (starting at my lip) trying not to laugh dead in his face and replied, “sure…” He used to come in every Saturday night to get 3 packs of smokes, but hasn’t been around for a few months. Of course, there are some beautiful “real” women that come in too. Even a few drop-dead gorgeous ones. And yes, I do catch myself lightly flirting with them, even when I know I don’t have a shot in hell. For the most part, though, the ladies run the gamut from goofy looking (almost cartoon-esque) to Hondas (as in the old biker joke… Might be fun to ride, until someone sees ya on it, or with it). Some of the rougher-around-the-edge females that grace us with their delightful presences are often the best cheap entertainment. Yes, I know that sounds pretty harsh, but believe me when I say its actually about the nicest way I could phrase it. A couple even walk around like they know they could kick your ass at any given moment. I like to catch one completely off-guard with a good joke once in awhile. She always has one in return, and never one you could tell your mother. There’s even two gay guys that like to flirt with me even though they know I’m just not into that type of thing. One even told me the other day that he’s going to run away to Iowa to get married if he ever finds the right guy, as he winked. Whatever works for him.

It’s given me a chance to be my usual smartass self and get paid a little in the process. I enjoy making people laugh. Of course, I know the limits of what I can get away with saying to customers. I’ve got just about the coolest boss I’ve ever met. She’s only had to correct me once or twice in these last two years. Once I told a very dirty joke to this older gentleman. Turns out, he was actually a preacher and was slightly offended. After a moderate ass-chewing, and of course my deepest apology, he’s actually come in with a few jokes of his own. Nothing bawdy or racy of course. As you can probably tell by my rambling discourse here, I never run out of things to say. I have, however, been learning when not to just spew forth also.

One of the best things about this job is that it gives me a chance to interact with people who would never give me the time of day anywhere else. We get a few of the local politicos regularly. Some of the neighborhoods to the west of the store are very well-to-do. Some lawyers, doctors, and the like come through our doors all the time. There’s even a small cluster of foreign exchange students with UNO. I know I’m just a lowly little clerk in a strip mall “quikie-mart”, but I like to make people laugh when I can and often brighten their day. Sometimes it amazes me how much you can learn about someone just seeing them a few moments a day, but that’s another story entirely.

As it stands, this extra-cash job has become my only job, for now. Unless someone goes on vacation or gets sick, I only get 1 to 3 days a week there. In fact, my biggest week lately has been about 20 hours. As the Grateful Dead once sang almost 20 years ago, “I will get by…” The way the economy has been recently, there’s just too many people applying for the same couple jobs to easily get a good one around here. I do construction, pretty much all types, for a living. I love the feeling of finishing a job and standing back to say I helped build that, I helped fix that… Know what I mean? Maybe pride is (or might as well be) a dead concept in corporate America, but I still feel it. That’s another reason I like to go to work. It doesn’t really matter to me that I’m “just a clerk” right now. I help people, earn an honest wage, and have fun in the process, usually.

What it all comes down to I guess is that I fit in well there. A wise man once told me that “you have to be able to laugh at yourself first, others second, or you just might die miserable. Either way, find the funny in life to live it right… having fun.” With such a wide variety of characters crawling through the door, and our own little cluster of goofiness (employees) too, it feels like (dare I say it?) Home. No matter how stupid my next “I D 10 T” move might be (what can I say? I’m a true blonde, sometimes more than others), I like this little neck o’ the woods and most of the critters in it. Most of them like me too. Some are even like me. A few I can now call friends even.

Yes, I’m just a clerk right now. Did you ever see that movie “Clerks”? We have more fun at this store I work at. With less insanity and drama… Sometimes.

Entry filed under: Thoughts, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , .

The Land of the Purple Sky Scarlet Dreams Flow Easy

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Pett  |  April 20, 2009 at 9:00 AM

    Hi there,
    I have already seen it somethere…

    • 2. Kevin  |  April 21, 2009 at 6:40 AM

      If you’ve already seen this “somethere” they must have copied this off my blog. I finished writing it moments before I posted it. Please show me where “somethere” is… The only thing you may have ever seen “somethere” is the emailed list of “Terrible Punnery” elsewhere on my blog. Either way, yer welcome.

  • 3. vade55  |  April 13, 2009 at 3:33 PM

    I enjoyed reading this post. In fact I’ve enjoyed the whole blog.


    • 4. Kevin  |  April 13, 2009 at 7:46 PM

      Thank you, Carol. Do you have one I could check out?

  • 5. Davis  |  April 13, 2009 at 8:02 AM

    I’m now more convinced than ever that the smartest people are sometimes in the least likely jobs. Enjoyed your post very much — just watch out for robbers

    • 6. Kevin  |  April 13, 2009 at 10:04 AM

      Dare I say… That little store has never… Don’t want to tempt fate.
      Thanx for the comment… Great minds think alike.


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