Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Blue Christmas!

Having A Bad Day on Christmas Stinks, For Three Reasons.
  1. Anytime you have a bad day, regardless of what day it is, that stinks.
  2. Anytime you have a bad day on a day that should be particularly jolly, that stinks even more.
  3. When you have a Bad day on Christmas, everybody asks you "How was your Christmas?" the next time they see you, reminding you of how crappy your Christmas was. If you do not provide the expected brief-but-positive answer, then you get the chance to explain why your day stunk, further reinforcing the stinkiness of it.
So, NO, I am sorry to report, I did not have an especially good Christmas. It started well, with a chance to sleep in very late after working two very difficult four-hour shifts on Christmas Eve.

My wife got me a wallet, which I (a) wasn't expecting (b)needed, and (c) like a whole lot. I signed her up on the website, which was, I thought, a great and appropriate gift for my Junk-mail hating, environmentally-conscious wife, BUT, has the problem of being entirely intangible. So, I "gave" her present to her on Christmas morning by telling her about it. I should have gotten a card, but then again... they make those out of dead trees, you know? (unlike my present, which was made out of dead cows.)

Then we hurried out the door (grabbing a pair of Pop-Tarts) to make the 90-plus mile drive to My Uncle David and Aunt Linda's house on the far side of Nashville for "Lunch". "Lunch" was suppose to happen at 2:00, with people arriving "Between 1 and 2".

The Plates, cups, forks and such didn't show up until after 3:00. We started eating at 3:30. The Potatoes and Rolls showed up about 3:45, along with my parents. I had to leave by around 4:30, in order to get my wife to her parents' place, and myself back home in time to get to work for my four-hour shift. I also had to feed our animals before going to work.

So, of the 3 and a half hours of "Family Gathering" time I had in my day, 2:45 of it was spent waiting for most of my family (and their contributions to the meal) to show up. I should say, in the interest of fairness, that the remaining 45 minutes were quite nice, with our family's first ever round of "Dirty Santa" going off without a hitch. I scored a nice Back Massager that I haven't tried yet, but it looks impressive.

I hated to jet out of there just as things were (finally) getting fun, but I knew that if I were late to work I would be leaving somebody in the lurch, at a time when holiday traffic was at its worst. I just barely made it home in time to get to work at 7, and didn't have time to feed animals. I figured they might not like it much, but they could stand to wait until 11, when I got off.

At 10:55, I got a call from the employee who was supposed to be coming in to relieve me.

"I ain't got a ride to work."

Well, how long will it take you to find one, do you think?

"No, I Ain't Got one; I don't have anybody to call."

Well, Call the Boss, He'll give you a ride! (He won't be happy about getting out of bed at 11pm on Christmas night to do it, But he'll be even less happy about having to come in and work your shift, because I'm not staying!)

His number is 555-8888, give him a call; I gotta go, I have customers in line!
*I hang up*

I work through those customers, and after 11:30 I get to the back, and find this employee's phone number. I call, my thoughts aflame with my poor hungry animals at home, who have already been made to wait 6 hours past their usual dinnertime, now having to wait another 8!


Hi, Steverina? (Made up name to protect the insolent)

No, this is her Momma...

Is she there?

No, she just walked down the hill to her house.

Well, can I get her phone number there?

She ain't got a phone.

Well, She is supposed to be at work right now, and I am trying to find her a ride, but I need to know where to tell them to go pick her up. Do you..

Hold on.. This girl's bein' a ....mumble about her car... mumble she could use her Bronco if she would keep Gas and shit in it, and then her boyfriend come up here today and took off with it, and .. STEVERINA!! Hang on... STEVERINA!!

*Long Pause*

I'm gonna have to send my daughter down there to get her, I'll have her call you back.

When she did call back (and she sounded like I had roused her from a sound sleep), I asked if she had found a ride, and she mumbled something to the effect of that even if she found a ride TO work, she didn't have a way to get back FROM work in the morning, and she "didn't want to get stuck there" all morning.

That made me Raise My Voice a little.

"YOU don't want to get stuck here? What about me, you think I want to get stuck here? I have to get out of here! I have other responsibilities! I will give you a ride home in the morning, and if you tell me how to get to your house, I will get you a ride here!"

"Who is it?"

Well, The Boss will probably give you a ride, or if he won't, then I can get one of the Monteagle Cops to come out there and pick y...

"I ain't GETTIN' in no COP CAR."

Well then you are gonna be explaining to the Boss why the store was closed all night!

Fine, then I will!

*I slam phone down*

The Store, of course was not closed all night. The Store doesn't close, ever, and so has no real burglar deterrents. The Lock on the front door doesn't really work very well, and besides, people need us to be open. For a few hours every morning, we are the only public bathroom for 14 miles.

I eventually told myself the thing I occasionally have to tell the violence-prone kids I occasionally work with: The only thing you have control over in this world is what YOU do. You can't stop bad things from happening to you, but YOU get to control, and are responsible for, how YOU react to those things.

So the store wasn't closed, and I worked a tough 11 hours, after a day of 5+ hours of driving, 2+ hours of waiting for lunch, and about an hour of Christmas joy.

It turns out that maybe the best present I got all day was that chance to sleep in late. It turned out to come in really handy.

Silver Lining: My whole shift tonight is now "time-and-a-half" overtime pay! Just in time for my expensive trip to San Diego to see my brother!

1 comment:

Jeremy Gibson said...

OT is always a happier occasion when the paychecks come.

But wow... what good people you work with.