Saturday, January 22, 2011

Now with HALF the caffeine!

Hey there. I know, I know, it's been awhile. So much to explain. But I'm still here, still doing the job, passed 7 years at the gas station in November. You'd think I'd be used to it by now. And maybe I'm getting there.
But things have gotten a lot better recently. Over the past 6 weeks or so I've cut WAY back on my coffee-drinking -- I've cut back both the amount I drink & the amount of sugar I use by HALF. & suddenly things are going better. I FEEL better. I sleep better at night, I wake up not so achey and tired, & I think I'm being nicer to people. I think I'm acting a whole lot more like myself. I hope so. My boss says she's noticed a big difference. & I haven't been yelled at -- & I haven't yelled AT anyone -- in weeks.
Here's the thing: I was so hung up on being awake & on top of stuff & completely focused at work that I screwed myself. Back in September and October I was drinking A POT AND A HALF OF COFFEE before going to work. Along with 3+ heaping tablespoons of sugar in each cup. It's probably a surprise that I didn't have a heart attack. Or a stroke.
I thought being more awake, being more charged-up on caffeine would make me sharper, & then nothing would get by me. I'd be on top of it. People'd have no reason to be upset with me. Everything would work smoothly.
Wrong. All the coffee did was make me jumpy and edgy & willing to go off on people for the thinnest of reasons. & when customers yelled at me, half the time I yelled right back. Sometimes I yelled first.
Now I'm better. That doesn't mean I don't get stressed, that I don't feel anxious or edgy or overwhelmed at times. Sometimes I do. But by cutting myself off after 2 cups of coffee (sometimes even less) I'm just awake ENOUGH to handle what comes at me ... & not jump across the counter to strangle a frustrated customer.
Sometimes I even laugh with people, on the good nights. Tonight was a pretty good night.
If this trend continues, I might start sounding as obnoxious as those former smokers & former druggies who warn you at great length about how much You Don't Want To Go There. I look around and see all those people who are hooked on energy drinks -- especially those who obviously really DON'T need them, except so they can keep going FASTER -- & I can feel myself starting to drift into Lecture Mode. But I'll hold off on that for tonight.
Rastro, if you're out there: YOU WERE RIGHT ABOUT THE COFFEE. I just didn't want to see it. I thought I needed coffee to GET to work, & to deal with it after I got there.
Hopefully, this is a little more human & more healthy approach to my job. But obviously if this kinder, gentler me is the wave of the future, we're going to have to change the name of this blog. To something like The Nice Gas-Station Guy's Blog. And we're going to have to do it RIGHT NOW.

...OK, only kidding. We're not actually going to do that. The new name of this blog's actually going to be EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH!

...Well, maybe not. ...This post is mainly just to tell anybody out there -- if there's anybody reading this -- that I'm still here, I'm still doing this, & I still have more fairly hilarious high-stress stories from my 7 years in this hellhole that I want to pass on to you.
In a kinder, gentler sort of way.
For awhile I couldn't laugh about my job AT ALL. So there was no blogging about it here. Even that week-long vacation in Idaho that I took last July didn't help all that much. (And what place could possibly be less stressful than Idaho?)
Back in September and October I thought it was completely possible I might lose my job and wind up living under a bridge.
Then my boss pointed out something that was obvious to everyone but me. She said I seem to have a lot of anxiety with people. & I do. Perfect job for me, right? But then I started thinking of ways to bring that anxiety down. & still remain the kind, gentle, funny, silly person I really am when I'm not totally freakin' stressed-out.
So: I'm still here. & I've still got some more funny stories for you, if anyone's out there.
Stay tuned....