Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I know it’s Tuesday, but this was the first chance I had to continue a week of daily blogging. I just felt that I wanted to document a week for myself. You know, one of those self-examination things.

It was a long day. The first time in a long time I’ve had to work non-stop, 11 am to 10 pm. It was a test of stamina and endurance. I don’t think I’ve ever spent that long popping in and out of freezers before. I had this image of my looking like “Lucy Ricardo” when she looked herself in that freezer on “I Love Lucy”.

Basically, I think, I’ll just be working on days the store gets a truck, Monday Wednesday and Friday. Monday is a two-truck day, regular frozen foods and ice cream. I hate ice cream now. Those cases are heavy and sometimes sticky. It’s not pretty when an anal retentive gets a fifty pound cardboard box of Moose Tracks stuck to his shirt.

Like working newsstand at Barnes & Noble, stocking frozen foods fits into my sense of order and organization. I found the most frustration with bags of broccoli florets. I can’t get them to lay pretty. I’ll figure it out.

And I am slowly getting the three aisles of freezers to look nice. I don’t have the time to just pull it all out and arrange it neatly, but since as I get stock I have to rotate it I am slowly getting it all “anal retentified”.

Now if I can just get my body used to the physical labor. The mountain air, and the recent rains are playing havoc with my joints and rotator cuff. I was pleased that when I got home last night at thawed out I hadn’t added any new cuts or scraps. That’s a good sign.

Of course, there are some bruises on my fingers, wrists, forearms and neck, but they weren’t my fault. Some ten year old kid thought it was funny to race away from his mother and kick the freezer doors closed on me. He’d slam the door on whatever body part I had stuck in there and race back to his Mom laughing like a maniac. Unfortunately, she thought it was funny, too.

She didn’t think it was funny though when the little a-hole pulled the full shopping cart over on himself. The kid wasn’t hurt, darn it. All I could think while the kid squalled and his mother blamed her undisciplined child's behavior on the store was “Karma, kid, karma.”

While the job is physical, it’s not mentally taxing. I’m still trying to figure out where specifics go, but that will come in time. It’s not like the newsstand where things were laid out in a logical order. I’ve learned the categories, but why aren’t all the different types of peas in on place, and all the Banquet Chicken dinners in one place instead of sprinkled through out? It drives me crazy, but I’ll live.

Everyday I always run into people I know or from my past. It’s kind of like having your life pass before your eyes but getting paid for it and confoundedly dull. It’s one of two grocery stores in the county, so I’m not surprising that eventually I’ll run across just about everyone.

Most of the people I don’t recognize until they tell me their names. Most don’t bother identifying themselves, assuming I remember them. Frankly, if I don’t recognize you either time is your enemy or I forgot who you were for a reason.

So far, I haven’t run across anyone who made my skin crawl. I’m kind of looking forward to running across them. I am anxious to see how I handle it. I’m ready for that band aid to get ripped off. Perhaps that means I’m getting better.

What does surprise me are the number of people I recognize and snub me. I really doesn’t bother me, but I do wonder about the snub. I have heard pretty much all about my life, behind me back, none of it correct.

Are people foolish enough to think I can’t hear them when they are less then five feet away? Sure I have my head stuck in a freezer, but there ain’t nothing wrong with my hearing. Most of these people who feel the need to tell their companions about me, I swear I’ve never met.

They always seem to substantiate their “facts” with “so and so told me". I usually am glad my heads in the freezer so they can’t see me laughing about the fact that I have no idea who “So and So” is either. Today alone I have been abandoned by my wife to raise my three kids, just gotten out of prison, once made a porno film now available on line and retired from the government.

I guess I should be flattered, but it makes me feel like Paris Hilton. I’m the Paris Hilton of Redneckia. It would be more flattering if I were thought of more like Ricky Martin. At least I’d been doing something brave and not just stupid.

People say not to worry about it. They’re just jealous. I could take it to mean jealousy if they were getting their gossip even remotely correct. Let’s just face it, there ain’t a lot about my life to be jealous of. I just find it ridiculously petty, and I get angry with myself for letting it bother me.

Face it; it’s the part of Southern charm that I find evil. Everyone is so sweet and kind to your face. I have learned, the hard way, the kinder and more friendly they are the better you are to stay as far off their path as possible.

I have come to terms with the fact that they think it’s unkind to be honest to your face if they don’t have something nice to say. What I see when they do a complete 180 when you turn around is shameful cruelty.

I try to convince myself that I don’t pay for their sins. However, I have learned that in small towns in the South, you may not pay for someone else’s sins, but you do pay a price for what others assume. Unfortunately that price is usually pretty high.

If nothing else, I'll end up with a nice collection of stories and characters for "Odd Rocks Across the River". I'm hoping Ryan Murphy will read it and decide to use it for the premise of the TV show he's developing for Kristin Chenoweth. Wouldn't it be great for my future wife to play all three of the female characters? A restraining order is kind of like an engagement, isn't it?

However, I don't want any one to think that all of the people in this area or patrons of the store are mean an nasty. The overwhelming majority are sweet, endearing and adorable. There are just of few pustules that stand out, loud mouths who think that every one agrees with them.

I had a wonderful conversation with a couple about my age concerning the fact that we never dreamed we'd live to be in our fifties. I don't think I knew them, but I look forward to seeing them again. And there have been a small handful of people who remembered me from a play I had been in years ago. That is always a jump start to the heart.

Regardless it was Monday all day long. I was deliciously worm out by the time I got home. The dog was wet. Dad was in bed. Mom was still hoping Bristol Palin would get voted off "Dancing With the Stars"

...and the chicken dances on...