Goatview Farm - The Saint Report www.goatview.com

November 7
Convenience Store: Spiders
Part 1

One day, during a financially challenging period in my life, I walked into a local convenience store and asked the clerk, with whom I had a passing friendship, if there were any employment openings. "You won't believe this," she said, "but I just gave notice." And on the strength of her recommendation, my good teeth and no police record, I got the job. I readily admitted to no experience, for I was college educated and how hard could a minimum-wage job be?

Luckily, my friend took part in training me. I was not, in spite of my self-professed brilliance, a quick study and without her repeatedly assuring my employer that I was bound to catch on soon, I doubt I would have been allowed to remain after the first week. Customers took advantage of my inexperience to drive away without paying for their gas, shoplift, and insult me. I needed index cards to remember how to work the cash register and the gas machine. The minute there were three people in line, I began to panic.

Not only had I fallen so low that I was working in a minimum-wage job, I wasn't even good at it.

It reminded me of the time I got a job picking daffodils. I worked alongside about 30 other women, most of whom were from Southeast Asia and had come over here married to US servicemen. Their English language skills were nil and most didn't even have drivers' licenses. Taking a look at my co-workers, I was sure I would be the best daffodil picker of the bunch. As it turned out, all I was was the tallest and whitest daffodil picker of the bunch. And the slowest. And the whiniest.

Just because a job has no status and low pay does not mean that it is easy. Just because someone has a job with no status and low pay does not mean he or she is stupid. That said, eventually I did become an adequate convenience store clerk and was trusted to run the place alone.

The area where my convenience store was located was primarily commercial and on a busy highway. Since no one had ever been robbed or murdered there, I guess one could call it a fairly safe area, but it was not upscale by any means. The clientelle were largely blue collar workers, truckers, and people who had recently ingested too many mind altering substances to deal with the broad selections and long aisles in a supermarket. I cannot honestly say that these people gave me no moments of pleasure.

One beautiful summer day, a bunch of bikers roared into the store. Well, they stopped short of the door, but it sure sounded like they were inside. One of the guys wore an open leather jacket over his bare torso, exposing an especially gruesome tattoo extending from his upper chest to navel. It was a too-skillful rendering of an incision with the skin peeled back and a hideous Alienesque creature crawling out.

"Eeeeek," I screached dramatically, pointing at his chest and taking a little jump backward for emphasis.

"WHAT? WHAT?" he cried in response, jumping back the other direction, eyes searching where my finger pointed.

"Your tattoo," I replied, laughing.

"OH, thank God," he sighed in relief. "I thought it was a spider. I hate spiders."

Saints o' the day include Herculanus, Florentius (invoked against gallstones and ruptures), Willibrord (invoked against epilepsy and convulsions), Engelbert, and Ernest.

***

Since I haven't behaved myself at all, I know where I am going when I die: Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin--a town bereft of all I find interesting and overflowing with things I do not. And of all the myriad* things I would not enjoy, this weekend's 3-day Polka Fest quite possibly tops the list. A surprising 1,500 polka enthusiasts will fill this resort town (located midway between Chicago and Minneapolis), dancing the nights away at the Holiday Inn and stuffing themselves with "ethnic specialties."

Mmmmmmm! Polka food!

***

*The word "myriad" is too good to use in the same paragraph as the word "polka." "Myriad" is all tied in with the Myrmidons and Troy and Zeus. "Polka," on the other hand, conjures up images of accordions, goat cheese, and female facial hair.

***

Birthdays today include Mary Travers (1937)(Peter, Paul, & Mary).

***

On this day in 1940, after having been open to traffic only 4 months, Washington State's first Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed during a 45 mph windstorm, sending Leonard Coatsworth's dog, Tubby, to a watery grave. The event was caught on film, though you can't see Tubby waving frantically from the automobile in which he was trapped. Poor Tubby.

A very different reaction to a sudden view of the Pacific was had by Lewis and Clark on November 7, 1805. They were elated to see the salt water looming in the distance.

Onward to the Rest of the Story November 8
Back to November 6

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Marilyn Jones 2000-2006