Saturday, December 7, 2019

Looking Out For Me

Despite my meditation on the train ride in, despite my attempts to elevate my thoughts, surround myself with white light, despite my attempts to deny it, I just don’t feel positive today. A small nucleus of unease at the base of my breast bone, right under my solar plexus, tells me that something is wrong, and my brain, faithful servant that it is, salutes and knuckles down to the task of presenting everything that is or might be wrong in my life to justify this feeling.

When I get to work, though, before I even check in with my manager, a customer approaches me, and it turns out I’ve helped her before, and a little spark of joy kindles in my chest.

“Scott,” she says seriously, “I came in to check on you during the holiday season, to see if you’re still alive."

Friday, December 6, 2019

I Know Them Feels

They let dogs in my store. One of them walks by, and, as it passes, a woman sitting on a couch waiting for someone to bring her shoes sees the dog right after it passes, and stretches out her hand longingly, like someone reaching out dramatically for a passing ship upon which her lover sails for distant shores, never to return.

She catches me watching her and sits up straighter, only barely attempting to conceal her unrequited love for a passing dog.

“You must know my wife,” I say seriously with a nod.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

She’s Your Problem

One of the other vendors we’re friendly with leaves her booth across the aisle at the market and comes to talk to me.

“I know that crazy bitch is going to come back and talk to me,” she says, referring to a customer who has been coming around to all our booths and being a little obnoxious this evening (“Oh this stuff is so expensive,” she said loudly about Katie’s work, stuff like that).

“The thing is, I know her, I went to high school with her,” she continues.

Sure enough, just that moment she appears in front of our friend’s booth, and I tell our friend, “If she spots you and comes over here, you’re taking her back to your booth, okay?"

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

A Little Extra

“Take as much time as you need,” I hear the manager say to my friend at work when I come into the stockroom.

“It’s just been so crazy lately,” she says, exhaustion in her voice.

Later, when I see her walking through the halls, both of us carrying stacks of shoe boxes, I give her a smile and we bump shoulders (since both of our hands are full) in our customary greeting.

She still looks a little sad, though, so I stop and give her another gentle shoulder bump, saying, “That one’s for free."

Sunday, December 1, 2019

How Did She Know?

We’re prepping the registers before the store opens when the phone at the cash wrap rings.

My co-worker and I look at each other, then he says, “Could you get it?”

As he retreats I shrug and pick up the phone, saying, “Good morning, thanks for calling _______, how can I help?”

There’s a pause, and then a voice on the other end asks, “Is this Scott?"

Saturday, November 30, 2019

My Occasional Superpower

On the train platform, sitting on a bench, are three people I work with, chatting together. I’m wearing my headphones, completely talked out from working all day, and they’re pretty involved in their conversation, so I briefly consider just walking on by.

But then they notice me as I’m passing, and there are handshakes, and greetings, and amidst all the pleasant social things that people do, one guy says, “You look so different, I almost didn’t notice you.”

“Yeah, I was going a little incognito,” I say, touching my flat cap and peacoat self-consciously. 


“Come in here,” Katie calls from the living room, so I put the last dish in the dishwasher and go in the living room.

“We have to stop being mad at each other, or we’ll have trouble sleeping,” she says, sensibly.

“You’re right - I’m sorry I lost patience with you,” I say. “You know, when I was taking out the garbage earlier, I was already feeling kind of aggro, too, so maybe that had something to do with it."