Saturday, December 14, 2019

Putting the Christmas in PTSD

We watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” while eating Chinese food and then, after that’s done, while prepping more of Katie’s work to go into the booth tomorrow. Outside, it’s bucketing down rain. 

Apparently, during some of the more emotional scenes, Jimmy Stewart was abreacting from his own traumatic experiences during WWII. When looked at in this way, the movies seems less heartwarming and more terrifying.

Friday, December 13, 2019

How Would You Know?

I’m late to work, across the street from my job, waiting for the light to change, watching the traffic fill up the intersection.

With a wave of his hand, the traffic cop conjures the cars to a standstill to let the lanes empty, and I take the opportunity to cross against the light.

But just as I’m almost across the intersection, he urges them back into motion, and I have to run the last few steps to make the curb, with an eager car passing inches from heels.

I wonder for a brief moment if I made it, and if I didn’t - would I know?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Looking Out For Me, redux

Katie’s suggestion that I use the Uber Eats coupon she left in the booth to get some food ends in failure after their geolocation algorithm is only able to place me somewhere in Union Square Park, but I’m still hungry.

I’ve resigned myself to just being a little hungry when the next customer comes in and, after a pleasant conversation, decides to buy a lovely Sunset Moth in a glass cube.

I’m almost finished ringing her up when a strange expression crosses her face. “I’ve got a vegan muffin I’m not going to eat,” she says, "do you want it?"

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?"