Monday, January 30, 2006

Chapter 12 - A Wendy's Spoon Catapult

A new idea occurred to me while we were eating our nightly Wendy's dollar chili and fries. A miniature catapult made from plastic spoons. With a small frame made from lacquered french fries, and an intricate pulley system of rubber bands, buck apiece... The Swap Shop was dead today with impending cloudbursts but I set up anyway, stacking the bricks and boards extra high for the jewelry display since I used one of our three tables to set traditional flea market items on. A rusty pliers, part of a curtain rod, more soap scents, a too small I heart Ft. Lauderdale t-shirt with a brown stain that somehow got mixed up with our stuff at the laundromat, a small half can of butane, a Canadian dollar coin, alongside I set a big table and very comfy lazy-boy that somebody had left from the day before, in fine condition except for worn upholstery. I half-heartedly set up the jewelry and decorated flatware and desert sets. Right off the rusty pliers sold for a dollar, then the t-shirt for two, then the part of the curtain rod -- "Just the part I needed!" -- and soon I had ten dollars in my pocket. Of course none of the jewelry we worked so hard on sold and then the rain hit with gusts of wind. Luckily I got the tarp over it all before the jewelry was soaked but unluckily the wind hit the tarp and took the whole display over with a crash. I was thankful that it did not waken J sleeping in the back of the van and only one necklace was crushed. We got out of there by 12:30.

We drove to a McDonalds and ordered four hamburgers for the dogs, both on dry food hunger strike. Of course they can't resist the burgers. We will need to get a roof over our heads soon. They need a routine and we need a roof. If we were making any money at all it would be okay since we could get a motel room a few days a week and that is enough but this washing up in Starbucks and Walmart is frustrating. Especially with Starbucks where the employees at this one in particular looked at me in horror when I came walking out with my wet hair (combed, in a pony tail and everything). I like the other karaoke Starbucks better. We don't stand out like freaks. There's a regular there who looks and dresses just like Willy Nelson. And nobody fucks with Willy. Well, you say, maybe not nobody...We are thinking of Gainseville where rents are very cheap. It is a good central location for doing craft shows and I would like to take a look at the sink hole the University there is studying, as a farmer's market manager told me in Phoenix, apparently they are growing things down in there that haven't grown for thousands of years. I imagine wierd things like radatos (radatoes?), tomarrots, Asperamelon...

This is undoubtedly one of the more judgemental Starbucks I have been in. When I came in with my bent cup, recycled from our van floor the manager looked at me with grin of disbelief that said, "Are you kidding?" Even after I dumped fifty cents into the tip box, with a padlock on it. But they gave it to me and now I hesitate to go up and get another lest she employ some shaming behavior that will sicken me.

On a good note I got an email from my old friend T today. What good drunken discussions we used to have. We were in a band together. LSB. He was a psycho drummer and I was the fucked up lead singer and crappy guitar player. Whoever else wanted to jam with us could but it was always just me and T. As I remember it in my selective imagination. Wants to bring his little girl to Disney World soon. Ought to be cool and hopefully I will have a place to put him up, like he has put me up a thousand times in Ann Arbor...

I finally go up for a refill. I get a very hostile stare from a young robot girl wiping tables. I smile at her and her stare flares with hate and she looks down. The woman behind the register asks what I need.
"A decaf."
"A decaf refill. Hmm. Let me get you a new cup. This one looks beat up."
"Yeah. I went a few rounds with it," I say cordially.
She looks at me, not amused, holding back a desire to say something. These are truly nasty people this Starbucks hires. I drop and extra buck of change in her tip box. It seems to make her even more hostile. I move over to the condiment section. There is an interview going on in the corner. The manager is interviewing a young man. The question: "What is something stressful you've had to deal with at work."
He is stumped. Flustered. Repeats the question. Mumbles something about tips, they are taking his tips. She asks him to clarify. He tries. He is not used to thinking on his feet. He wishes she were a video game. He would steer her into a wall and the interview would be over. Finally he says he hates it when other people who work with him take his tips. "Yes, I know what you mean," says manager lady, obviously taking great delight in this interrogation. "When I was in the military, stationed in Japan, if you left a tip on the table they would chase you down to give it back."
My mind cannot connect the reply to what he has said but another employee pipes up in a shrill baby girl voice "What?" and manager lady tells them all a story about being in the military in Japan. Wow, I would rather live at the flea market, harvesting my living from a dumpster than to have to work with or for these clowns.

But I never was one for the interview process. J teases me about it sometimes. How I will be going along well, presenting myself in the best possible light as an together, hard working individual and then it will happen. One of my many crosses to bear that keeps me from being able to fit into society. I'll get a facial tick. My eyes will bug and my nose will twitch. I have often seen the face of a boss or Human Resources person turn pale and know the diaphanous job opportunity pops. It is an art in our time. The interview. Coming across as calm and normal when nothing could be more unnatural and abnormal than sitting there looking into the eyes of some corporate suit who has yessed his way up the ladder and trying desperately not to see what is behind them...

At any rate it is all too apparent that with Starbucks listed as one of the most desirous corporations to work for (Are we stuuupiddd!!!!)Americans are being brain trained for the service industry...the most desirous job of the future...Mmmmm, a caramel latte body scrub massage...


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