Monday, June 30, 2008

Stupidity should be painful

I've been legally employed off and on since I was 14 years old and in close to a decade of working I have never held a position behind a cash register. Judging by the wide-eyed, mouth-agape expressions that follow this revelation, I will assume it safe to say that most people with any notable work experience have. Surprisingly so, too, since it seems that most cashiers I've had the unfortunate luck of encountering have the IQ of a gallon of washer fluid. Being that up to 90 percent of all illnesses are stress related, I'm willing to bet that my avoidance from here forward of all things cashier related may be the key to my immortality.

I'm not sure if it's indifference or a fatal riff in our nation's education system that keeps our cashiers about at an intellectual parallel with licorice! While, I'm willing to bet the farm on the latter, I'd say about 20% of cashiers just don't give a crap about their jobs and about 99% percent of those are still dumber than mattress fluff.

Just the other day I was buying coffee at a local vender and noticed, when I walked in the door, that the usual, sweet-natured, twenty-something college girl had been replaced by some, unusual, ill-natured, twenty-something college girl who was leaning against the back wall examining her French manicure when I came in. I greeted her with a smile that she did not even have the decency to return. Instead she started in with, "You know what you want?" still looking at her nails!

If I didn't hate Starbucks' typically repressive capitalist regime with a passion strong enough to break every bone in her frail little body I would have turned around and taken my money to their "new, more convenient than ever, drive-thru" for a less-human interaction with a faceless voice and speaker box, but instead I returned her attitude, by pretending not to hear her and scanned over a menu I had memorized months ago. I was in a hurry, but she was going to wait!

"Ring the bell when you're ready", and the little brat, swished her little size two booty to the back room where I SAW her sit down on some milk crates!

I rang the bell a thousand times.

She pretended not to register the urgency and glided back into the front much slower than she had left. I ordered without even looking at her, "Let me get a venti, soy mocha, half-caf, with sugar free syrup, light on the foam, on the fly."

"Wait, wait whaaat?" she said with a furrowed brow that made me want to slap her. "What's on the fly?"

"To go!", I snapped back.

She made my drink, still without a flicker of a smile and then mumbled, "whipped cream?" and picked up the aerosol can expecting me to say yes.

What I started to say was, "Oh yes, please, I just spent a whopping, 50 extra cents for soy milk but by all means I could not live without a big 'ol dollop of that milky, butterfat laden chemical concentrate to seal the deal! And while you're at it, why not add a couple pads of butter to the mix, you know, fer' like, texture and stuff."

What I actually said was "no thanks" and snatched my coffee from her before her stupidity leeched in through the cup and some how contaminated my mental faculties once I consumed it.

As if she couldn't grind my gears any harder, she acted out one of my biggest pet peeves. She gave me my change in dollars, layered with a receipt, with the coins strategically balanced on top! I wanted to throw hot coffee in her face and beat her to death with the percolator. I hate when people do that, and I don't think I'm alone. Every evening I come home and empty out a purses or pockets chock full of pennies wrapped in receipts, wrapped in dollar bills! It just don't think it would take that much effort to hand me my paper money, give me 1.8 seconds to put that away (yes I timed it!) an then hand me my change separately into my bare hand! Pennies slid off onto the counter, as they usually do when placed on a smooth, uneven surface and she fumbled around to get them and place them exactly where they had fallen from; back in my hand, stacked on top of the paper money!

I just balled up my penny wrap and left.

As for that coffee shop, I'll go back, if for nothing more than to support local business, but I'll have my revenge on Little Ms. Sunshine sooner or later, and much like the mediocre mocha she made for me, it will, indeed, be served cold.

At grocery stores cashiers annoy me with their plastered on smiles (even though these are better than no smile at all) and their one-hundred-times rehearsed, "Did you find everything you were looking for?" No, I drove across town using gas money I had to dig into my children's college fund for, ignored every single isle sign you dimwits hung in here just to give up and get in line with some random cart full of groceries!!! Insensitive? Indeed. Unwarranted? Perhaps.

What I don't get is how cashiers manage to taint half the customers who come in contact with their lines, and especially at grocery stores. One man I had the unfortunate luck of being behind in a Winn Dixie line spent 20 minutes debating on whether two pounds of grouper at $4.99/lb would be a better deal than one pound of halibut at $4.99/lb. They're both $4.99 per pound you freaking space engineer! Pick which fish you like the best and lets keep it moving!!! The cashier, who I blamed for the whole debacle then proceeded to place ten pounds of canned goods into one flimsy plastic bag and stood there mouth agape and drooling apologies when the bag exploded cans all over the floor!

I abandoned a cart packed with about seventy-five dollars worth of groceries that day.

Few of us are fortunate enough to pursue our dream jobs, but what sense does it make to pursue one that occurs only in our nightmares? When you have a position in which you are forced to deal with the public (i.e., bus driver, nursing, receptionist, prostitute), you're never fully dressed without and smile and at least a modicum of common sense. If you hate your job and are simply using it as a stepping stone to get to what you really want in life, like I am, you can't expect everyday to go down as smooth as imported gin, but you can at least, make an effort not to soil everyone else's with a bitter disposition on life. I've learned that sometimes all you can do, is grin and bear it because frankly, not many of the people you come in contact with will care how your day is going. What's the worst that can happen when you try to be pleasant to others in your day-to-day routine? Heck, in the end you may come out with a couple of new friends, a business connection that will save you from your miserable existence, or, most importantly, all of your teeth.

For the birds

It's 11 minutes past 11 am on Tuesday morning and already my day has gone horribly wrong enough to warrant documenting. Call me a complainer, but perhaps this will serve as a memory refresher on those days I can't get out of bed because an excruciating, mind-numbing hangnail or potentially life-threatening sty is inflicting its wrath along the rim of my eyelid threatening blindness or death or both. Dramatic? Hardly.

Already, today has been really shitty. Literally. Just out the door and on my way to work following a less than satisfactory night of slumber, I discovered a gift, delivered by beautiful Mother Nature herself. Much to my dismay, a friendly little neighborhood sparrow decided to land a turd the size of tangerine on my front driver side window this morning. Aside from the horrendous smell (I didn't even know bird crap had a smell) it was a rather embarrassing predicament to be in. I mean this was quite the sizable piece of pooh! Seriously, it looked like some one came and juiced a constipated infant right on the side of my vehicle! It made me think of the old saying, "when pigs fly", because surely that is what must have been occurring last night while the world slept. Either that, or my alcoholic neighbor decided to welcome me into the neighborhood with a peace offering two months past due. I would have settled for the more traditional J-ello mold or fruitcake for that matter.

Me being the genius that I am decided that a discarded post card would assist in minimizing at least the visual corruption this larger-than-life mass of excrement might impose on it's potential viewers. Sure, I was late for court but couldn't possibly be expected to be seen in traffic with my face obscured by this obscene mass. However, what I expected to work more like a make-shift squeegee, only served to smear the offending blob into a peanut butter shaded tint down the middle of my window. And in my great intellectual haste I concocted the bright idea of lowering the window in order to scrape the rest of the mess off my window much like one might do in a blizzard to remove ice or snow. Needless to say that was a bad idea and now there is foul fowl dung lodged in the inner cavity of my door forever! It might have behooved me to make a disclaimer at the beginning of this entry in an as fruitless-as-it-may-be attempt to excuse my early morning inanity, but at this point I don't think that the stupidity could have been avoided because it's true what they say; "haste makes waste". Little did I know, my own haste would be in regards to actually removing the aforementioned "waste".

Had the offender been aware of this well known adage, perhaps s/he would have taken time out to find a more fitting venue in which to release the contents of his or her bowels. But alas, how could I fault the lowly beast. We have become so rushed these days we are hardly thinking clearly anymore, let alone finding time to defecate in socially acceptable regions. Now, thanks to Mr. Birdbrain, not only I was ridiculously late for a disposition this morning set to be held in front of a notoriously, quick-tempered judge, but I now had shit on my finger, shit on my window and shit lodged in the crevasse of my car door for eternity!

Later on that same morning, again in reckless hurriedness, I'd barely miss mowing over a senior citizen in a crosswalk, spill a scalding soy mocha in the crotch of my newly dry cleaned trousers, be chastised by the bailiff in court for forgetting to silence my cell phone, forget to close the fuel door after filling my tank with my life's savings, bite my tongue while choking down a questionable, convenience store-bought granola bar while sitting in traffic and render myself temporarily blind by poking myself in the eye with a brittle mascara wand. And all this; brought on by my inability to stop and smell the roses; instead I opt for bird shit. Its hardly noon now and already I could use a gin and tonic. But alas, there is work to be done. I just hope that when the time comes for me to finally stop and smell those roses, I won't be pushing up daisies instead.
If you ask me, this shit is for the birds.