Saturday, March 28, 2009

Random Thoughts from a Migraining Brain

I have specific rituals that help me deal with a migraine. I take drugs with coke, I perhaps eat corn chips with salsa, and I lay in bed in the dark, listening to CBC radio while I zone in and out of consciousness until I feel better and can function again. I have been in bed for something like 16 hours now, and I feel a little better but not enough to get up and do anything. I'm a little surprised I'm writing on a computer actually. It goes against all of my migraine patterns and it isn't helping me at all.

It's so hot in the apartment. I can't handle it. I turned down the heat to 15 and it's still hot in here. Damn heat malfunction. I want to stand out on the balcony in my pajamas but I'm not sure what the bylaws are on that sort of thing. I'll settle for opening my bedroom window and letting the cold air soothe my overheated brain.

Apparently St. John New Brunswick is the happiest place in Canada. The people have various reasons. One guy said it was because people were friendly. One 17 year old said there was nothing to do. He wanted to go to Calgary, but couldn't leave his girlfriend. "She's having my kid," he said. Is he scared? No. He's so happy about it, about giving that kid the life he never had. Weird, but he sounded happy anyway, even if he was bored with St. John.

One old guy said the key to a long, happy life was sex and lots of it. Maybe that's why the 17 year old was so happy sounding.

Yesterday they talked about a study on cheating, and how when they asked people to recount the 10 commandments and then gave them chances to cheat or steal, they didn't. Even if they couldn't remember any of the commandments. And that when you are one step away from actual money, you are more likely to steal. What would you take from work? A pencil, or 10 cents from the till? The pencil! And when they made people aware of the monetary value of objects in the office, theft went down. And that giving people huge bonuses makes them less efficient at their work because they spend time being stressed out at the thought of losing the bonus instead of spending time thinking about how to do their job. It was fascinating but I can't remember the name of the study author now.

My computer is literally falling apart - the tiny screws in the bottom are falling out. I wonder why. And why is it hot to the touch? Does that have anything to do with the fact that the battery is unrecognizable to the system? Should I take the battery out? I have no idea. What I don't know about computers could fill a warehouse. Although they are making a quantum computer that can hold way more information than the computers we have now. I do know that, thanks to Quirks and Quarks.

I feel high. Drugs kicking in but I'm still unable to function at a normal level.

I have no more random thoughts. I think I'm going to go back to sleep until my brain is normal again - well, that could take eternity. Until it's back to my normal, at least.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Another Pet Peeve

I hate it when people interrupt me while I'm helping one customer in order to ask for help themselves.

What am I supposed to do? I'm already busy. Legitimately helping someone, doing my job - I wish I could point out how rude they're being but I can't. Although today I came really close. Some guy, who had already interrupted me once - when I was mid sentence, I kid you not - then proceded to yell at me from across the store, asking "Is there anyone who will help me with this?" He was very impatient. And rude. And I was the only one he could see, and we were all busy with other people.

So I said, as he turned away, "Can you not see I'm busy with someone?" and felt bad instantly only because my customer was so nice and I hated to expose my frustration in front of her. Oh well. Guess what, I'm human too, customer. And idiots annoy me.

At least there were no Children of the Exorcism today.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Love the Smell of Commerce in the Morning

Today a small child screamed like she was possessed by the devil. Like "Exorcism" screaming, all gravelly. It was impressive. Over and over - "My book! My book!" were the only discernable words. Her mother was trying to buy the book for her but she wouldn't let go long enough for it to be scanned at the till. So her mother took her out of the store, and then when it became apparent she wasn't going to stop, her mother took her away. Her screams eventually stopped - but only because she was out of earshot. After they left, we clerks were the only ones in the store, so we chatted about Devil Girl and her mother, and our childhoods and our parents.

Later a man barged into the 'staff only' area, made a beeline for our bathroom and started using it without shutting the door first. How did he even know there was a bathroom back there? It's not advertised and we don't tell customers about it, much less let them use it. We quickly realized he wasn't quite all there, so at least he wasn't a creep who wanted to expose himself to the Coles girls. But still. It was...surreal. And then he left the store without saying a word.

Just to round things out, the fire alarm in the mall went off twice. It's loud. We have an alarm in our ceiling and it flashes a blue light as it beeps. Beeps is too kind a word. As it shrieks on par with Devil Girl it blinks a calm blue light. If that's for deaf people they get the better end of the deal. Except if I were deaf, I wouldn't realize that meant fire. It's too calm and blue.

That's been my day. The things I would tell S. about if he were here. Sigh.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Thoughts I Repressed Today

"Telling me the title over and over will not help me find the book, so SHUT UP ALREADY."

"If this computer says we don't have it, the other computer won't give us a different answer!"

"Why are you here?"

"Why didn't you follow me - do you think the book will just hover over to you?"

"How am I supposed to find a book based on, 'it's got a silver cover'?"

"Are you buying this book or not? And if so, will you please come back to the till, you moron?"

"Did you not hear what I just asked you?"

(That last one I think almost every day with more and more irritation. Why? Because I am developing a new pet peeve. I'll ask a customer, "Can I help you?" and they'll say, "Yes, I'm fine," and walk away as fast as they can. Did they not hear what I asked? Do they think I'll pressure them into buying Twilight? God Almighty, it makes me want to punch them in the face. It's not like they don't speak English. The ones that don't speak English usually just smile and nod, or say, "Browsing!" like it's a magic word that will protect them from pushy sales clerks. But I don't get a commission from selling books. All it does is give me something to do.)

On a side note, today I actually chased a woman away from the store. All it took was a "Are you finding everything okay?" and she nodded and barely had time to say, "I'm fine thank you" before she was out the door and gone.

I don't understand.

Maybe on my last day I'll say what I'm thinking - but I say that about every job and I never do it. Too polite and professional I guess. Too used to repressing my real thoughts and showing a happy smiling face to a world that doesn't bother to look beneath the surface.

I'm not sure why my thoughts are so dark. I started out the day happily enough. I had way more happy customers than unhappy ones. I had a fairly uneventful benign day at work. And yet I'm just frustrated and fed up with not living the life I want. Not paying my bills with my writing. Not getting paid to tell stories in one form or another.

I enjoy working with books all day.

But I really don't want to do this forever, and every job I get that isn't what I want for my life wears on me quicker and quicker.

Maybe that was the one thought I should have repressed today - just for the sake of my short term happiness.

And maybe it's the one thought I should be most aware of.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Things I've Seen

I saw a small Asian boy smiling like Buddah would smile if he were a baby with no cares in the world, as he was pushed through the mall in his stroller. He only stopped smiling when he saw me watching him, even though I was smiling at him. I wonder why. Then he went back to his own little world and the look of pure contentment came back.

I want to look that content while I go my way through the world.

Today I was met by my boss without a smile, not even in her voice. I think now that she must have had a stressed morning but this morning I took it personally and the first hour or two of my day were terrible. I wanted to quit. I wanted to throw books at stupid people. I wanted to gouge the eyes out of wailing children. And then I realized that my boss has always greeted me with a smile and a friendly word and that there was nothing I could have done in the first thirty seconds of my day to make her upset, so it must be from a cause outside myself. I am very egocentric. I must be two years old. That must be why I look so young. ;) Although if I keep taking everything personally it will age me before my time.

I was told by an older man that I was wise beyond my years. He doesn't know me, so he doesn't know all my faults - that I have the ego of a toddler. We talked about the school system and the lack of balance therein. He teaches shop, and the troubled kids 'get better' in his class because instead of trying to build with letters and numbers and failing, they build with their hands and succeed. The school wants him to take his counselling degree but he doesn't want to because he cannot counsel out of the context of his class. Or he doesn't think so. He was so easy to talk to. He said not many people believed in the need for balance. That's why he thinks I'm so wise. Because I know that balance is a need, even if I can't acheive it myself. He asked how I got so wise and I said I'd just always been a thinker. He said him too. He'd always stood on the edge and watched others, and half-wanted to get involved but holding back because most of the stuff others were doing looked so damn stupid. I added the damn. It's the first time I've met someone who put in words what I've lived my whole life. It was exhilerating and sad. I don't know why it was sad. Perhaps because I know that there is a cost to being the watcher and I'm not sure I want to pay it, even if I don't know any other way to be.

He seemed happy. He said if I ever had time and saw him around the mall, we should go for coffee.

It made me wonder why the only guys who ask me out for coffee are either older than me by decades, or younger than me and socially awkward. Even though he didn't ask me out on a date. It didn't feel like that, anyway. More like he enjoyed our conversation as much as I did and would like to chat with me again sometime. That I wouldn't mind.

Now I'm down because I'm an observer. Like Britney says, there are two types of people in this world. The ones that entertain, and the ones who observe.

Who would have thought wisdom could come from pop stars. But if it can come from the mouths of babes, perhaps it can come from anywhere.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Good Fences

"Good fences make good neighbours."

Our upstairs neighbour is not a quiet man. He's either blowing his nose or he has a baby elephant up there. (Maybe that's what happened to the baby elephant at the zoo.) He gets up and stomps around at 5 in the morning on a regular basis. (I've even been woken up by a string of swear words, cause unknown. Not the best way to face the world in the early morn.) He spends his weekends listening to truly terrible music late into the night, as though unaware that there are other people who have to work on weekends (every weekend, thanks boss...) and need to get to sleep at a reasonable hour - not one in the morning. And he cheers for the Flames. Which is bad enough on its own. And he cheers loudly. With a lot of swear words.

The guy downstairs is either dying of lung cancer...or he's just got a really terrible cough.

I wonder if they secretly want to stomp on the floor to shut us up, but I really doubt it. We're pretty quiet people, S. and I.

Good fences?

I think good walls make good neighbours.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Advice on the Radio

I wake up in the morning to CBC Radio. A good way to get a clue about the outside world, a bad way to remember dreams - they fade in the blur of murders and the many varied tragedies that are deemed important for me to know about.

This morning, although I don't remember what happened on the news (except for a school shooting in Germany), I did lay in bed and listen to half an hour of Q. They were going to interview some Monty Python people but couldn't get ahold of them, so instead they aired an interview they had already done with David Sedaris.

Working in a book store (which I may not be for much longer but that's another story) I see books and authors all around me every day that I was previously unaware of. David Sedaris is one of those authors. He's in the humour section. Guys are the ones who pick up his books so I had relegated him to a pile in my mind labled, not interesting.

What a mistake that was. The interview was fascinating. He's a morbid guy. Morbid and funny and all he does is observe the world around him. And when he writes about his friends and family, which he does a lot, he always clears it by them first. Gets them to read it and tell him if there's anything they want him to change. Why? Because he values his relationships over his writing. What he's going to share with the world, he clears with the ones he loves first.

That level of respect impressed me greatly.

I don't think I've done a very good job of doing that. So now I'm going to start.

It doesn't cramp my creativity. I write what I want and no-one stops me. But if I'm going to share that writing with the world? There is a fall out from that, and it had better be one that I, and those who are important to me, can live with.

Thank you, David Sedaris. You will probably never read this (unless you have that Google thing that lets you know anytime someone writes your name online) but thank you anyway.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

No Shame

I have no shame. When I’m at work and I know a man is interested in me and not the books, I walk the very thin, precarious line of flirtation to see if I can make him buy something.

I have a pretty good record so far. Hurrah for the retail world. Just doing my part to stimulate…the economy.

And yesterday I got a phone number out of the deal.

Too bad I’m a) not single and b) 15 years younger than him.

At least he was good looking. He was from Montreal and has a steady job as a flight attendant for West Jet. When I said I’d thought about trying to get hired on there he said he could get me a job.

That was why he gave me his number…or at least the pretence.

I’m not sure whether I can follow up because I don’t know for sure that he had no ulterior motives. He was flirting pretty heavy by the time he gave me his number. At least, most guys don’t say they’re good marriage material in regular conversation.

Oh well. It’s not like I can work for West Jet right now anyways. I’m going to BC for the summer to work as a street performer. Maybe when I come back. If I have no acting work.

We’ll see.