Friday, June 3, 2011

First Anniversary

Hello, if there's anyone out there. It was just a little over a year ago that I started this blog, & so far I haven't done a helluva lot with it except mostly tell a bunch of bad jokes. True, real-life jokes, but bad jokes anyway. & this blog was supposed to be therapy for me. Ah well....
Here's the thing: As soon as I started writing here I discovered that, most of the time, when I'm not working the LAST thing I wanna do is WRITE about work. Which didn't keep me from posting some of my favorite stories about work. And I've got more that I'd like to get to. I hope I will.
But I haven't written much here over the last 6 months, & here's why: I "helped" get one of my co-workers fired at the end of April. My boss said I shouldn't blame myself, that my co-worker screwed himself, that he'd been confronted & still didn't clean up his act. But I'm fairly sure that if I'd never told anyone about it, nothing ever would have been done.
My co-worker, the Afternoon Guy, used to be The Rock. He was younger than me & faster, & he got a shitload of stuff done. He bailed-out my old worn-out ass a million times.
But since last Christmas he'd been acting funny. He was constantly irritable (goes with the job), always on-edge. He'd go off in corners & mumble to himself. He'd start saying something & then walk away, talking all the way across the store until I couldn't hear him. He'd lose something behind the counter & then clean up a whole section looking for what he dropped -- & he'd get nothing else done all day.
Suddenly the phone began ringing off the hook for him. He'd leave work early, had to meet someone. All of his conversations were about money -- he had to get some more money, someone owed him money, he owed someone money. He sold the stereo & speakers out of his car for more money -- then bought another stereo a few days later. He'd talk about someone he owed money to & then break off and say: "I don't THINK he'll come here looking for me...." And then he'd laugh, not quite hysterically.
Then he pretty much stopped working completely. I'd come in to work some weekend evenings & he'd say (more than once): "Well, I WAS gonna do some things today, but I just decided FUCK IT!" And then he'd laugh. And the store would be trashed. One Saturday he spent all day whittling a little coyote figure out of wood. Another evening when I came in to work he was standing there sharpening his knife.
He'd also dropped a LOT of weight. His cheeks were all sunken in & he looked like crap. He was also starting not to smell very good at times. He said he wasn't sleeping much, that sometimes he'd just drive around all night. (What I didn't know was that he'd sometimes come into the store first thing in the morning & surprise the Morning Girl. He also started showing up for work late....)
He said one night he even accidentally locked-up the store while there was still a customer IN IT.
Customers noticed all this weirdness fairly early. A couple of guys suggested I watch the Afternoon Guy -- they said he was always in a hurry & always jumpy & always on edge. I started paying closer attention when I came in to work. He DID seem awfully irritated & in a hurry. And he was always leaving work early, even while complaining that he could use the extra overtime on his next paycheck....
My bosses confronted him about all this weirdness in March, and he swore he wasn't on drugs & that he'd Get Back At It. And he had a couple of good days after that, just like he was his old self. But then he pretty much stopped working. He kept wondering aloud about who tipped-off Management that something was wrong with him. He said more than once: "I'll bet they're looking for reasons to fire me."
They were.
He got sacked on the 1st of May. I'd been warned it was coming 2 weeks earlier. But it took 2 weeks to train a new person to replace him.
My boss said the Afternoon Guy took it well, he didn't scream or threaten to "get" anyone. She said she told him that if he got "healthy" again & there was an opening at the store, he'd be welcomed back.
I was surprised he took it that well. He'd already asked everybody he worked with who "turned him in." He reportedly tracked down at least one of our Regulars at her job & asked if she turned him in.
I thought his next stop after getting fired might be my front door. I thought he might come over and knife me. Hey, if the guy really was on drugs, I didn't know what to expect.
He's been back in the store once since & barely said two words. And that's great. I don't mind not getting knifed. But I think I might be pushing it again just by posting this. My boss said her boyfriend noticed something was wrong with the Afternoon Guy the first time he saw him. And maybe there were other customers who complained to Management about him. I know customers have complained about ME, though not as often as I've deserved....
My boss & The Owner also briefly discussed if I was going to be fired as well. My boss stuck up for me -- she said that at least I TRY.... (Hope so, I've been running my ass off cleaning-up after the Afternoon Guy since the end of last December....)
My boss also told me I need to take charge of my Anger Issues -- I don't think I get angry so much as Stress Out. So I've been reading a couple books about stress. They're pretty funny: One says that when you start to feel stressed you should try to describe to yourself what the stress is like -- what color is the stress, how big is the stress, what shape is it, where do you feel it, what does that feel like....
So. Things were a little tense for the past few months, & especially at the end of April and into May. The Afternoon Guy's replacement is a 50-year-old married woman who's even more obsessive-compulsive than I am, which is hard to believe. My boss thought the New Girl & I might clash just because we're both so OCD. So far, that hasn't happened, mostly because maybe I'm FINALLY learning when to keep my mouth shut.
I HAVE pissed her off a few times already though, without even trying. So the soap opera continues....
So that's what The Nazi's been doing for the past few months. Sorry you asked...?

A new ongoing feature here will be me posting our station's current price for a gallon of Regular gas: As of 5 pm Thursday, June 2, our price was $3.89 -- almost reasonable for here. We never got above $4.05 per gallon for Regular, or anywhere close to the all-time record of $4.59/gallon. Our price has been slowly dropping ever since the Navy Seals took out Osama Bin Laden a few weeks ago....

The weather has been improving -- it almost looks like Spring out most days, though we haven't gotten near 70 degrees yet. It's too bad the nice weather brings out more idiots & assholes, but ... those are my people.
And tonight was A Good Night at work, for some reason. Don't know why, it just was. One of the best lately.
It had to be, or else you wouldn't be reading this.
More soon, probably....

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