Monday, June 10, 2013

Was it something I said?

Ah, Summer. All the weirdos come out when the weather gets nice. People you never see the rest of the year suddenly appear as if by magic. Knew it would happen, it always does.
The Change Monger was in a couple days ago. This woman -- who always wanders through the parking lot looking for leftover change on the pavement, then checks the pay-phone & comes inside the store looking for more -- started coming in about 5 years ago. The first time I saw her, she guided her beat-up old car into the last parking spot at the far end of the lot, then stumbled in the front door long enough to ask if she could take a nap in her car, if that would be bothering anyone. I told her no problem.
She climbed back into her car ... and slept for THREE DAYS.
I was working when she finally stumbled out. "It's Friday, right?" she asked.
"No, ma'am," I said. "It's Sunday."
She didn't seem surprised. Then she asked if she could sit in the door and ask my customers for spare change. I told her No -- but she could sit on the back of her car and ask customers for spare change -- as long as I didn't see her.
I don't think she got much. Eventually she left.
She's been walking ever since, but she only comes out when the weather's nice. She'll wander through the parking lot looking for change, then come in and complain if there isn't any. Then she'll note down how much money she's found, then want to change all of her pennies for bigger coins, then trade nickels for dimes, dimes for quarters, quarters for dollars if she has that much. And she does this no matter how busy the store is, no matter how many people she holds up.
In five years, I've seen her buy ONE Lotto ticket with her change. This does not make her a Regular Customer, as far as I'm concerned. In fact, I think she's very IRREGULAR. I've had to get rude with her more than once to get her to move along.
She doesn't like me much. She thinks I'm grouchy. She might be right.
A couple days ago she came in after combing the parking lot, grabbing a pen and noting how much change she picked up.
"I'm not bothering you, sunshine," she said. "I'm not bothering you. How's your day going?"
OK, I said, waiting.
There was a pause.
"You cut your hair!" she said. "Why'd you do THAT?!"
"It's Summer," I said. "It's warm outside."
"Oh," she said. "That happens."
There was another pause.
"Is it a gay thing?" she asked.
"No, it's not a gay thing," I said. "And is there anything you WON'T ask?"
"Oh, I thought it might be a gay thing," she said. "My husband does that sometimes. But I'm not bothering you, I'm not bothering you, I'm not bothering you. Have a good day."
And then she was out the door, thank Ghod. Can't wait for her next visit.
Another guy, becoming a Regular, was in a couple times over the weekend, & I'm not thrilled to have him back. He bought a couple beers, threw his money across the counter as if he was throwing it to a leper, snorted snot up into his nose like a pig ... and then seemed offended when I didn't try to small-talk him. It didn't seem to me like he was the small-talk type.
"What's wrong?" he asked. "Long day?"
This is a question customers usually only ask if I'm grouchy. But I wasn't grouchy. I just didn't see any reason to try to charm this guy.
"I've only been here an hour," I said.
"Well, you've got a few hours to go."
"I'll manage," I said. "I always do." What's this guy after?
"Well, don't work too hard," he said.
"Trying not to," I said. "You either."
So it ended OK, but this guy has a history with me.
Late last Summer, the first time I encountered this guy, he came in to buy his couple beers at the end of his hard-working day -- & out of nowhere he started lecturing me about how sad he'd be if he ended up like me, about what a letdown it would be if "this" is where he ended up at my age.
"Yeah, I really like the sound of THIS," I said. "You don't know anything about me or how I ended up here. And you need to leave now."
And he did.
Was he just looking for a fight at the end of a frustrating day at work? Maybe. So I won't exactly be waiting for his next visit....
Ah, Summer. Really brings out the best in people....

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