Thursday, September 07, 2006

Nothing You Do Is Ordinary, Even If You're Just Pumping Gas

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To most of us the real life is the life we do not lead. ---Oscar Wilde

    There's a U.S. Air Force recruitment commercial running on TV here that shows an Air Force mid-air plane-to-plane refueling going on while the narrator says, "There is a place where nothing you do is ordinary, even if you're just pumping gas."

    That's the way I try to look at my employment at the Arco gas station. It's just stocking the beer shelves for a gas station for Pete's sake, but still there are stories here; stories of gas-crazed customers, toilets gone awry, romance, bums and winos trying to take over the neighborhood . . . all kinds of stories about the human condition if one just looks.

    Today I ambled over to the Arco at elevenish and as soon as I got in the door, the Arco manager Kimmie handed me the keys to the back storage container and told me to go hide back there until the Arco inspectors from corporate headquarters left the property. Kimmie was trying to pass the bi-annual inspection and the last thing she needed was for them to get a load of me: tattered bluejeans, paint-spotted tee shirt, feral hair. Not exactly the employee of the month type. So I don't dress up or comb my hair for stock boy work. Sue me.

    Kimmie passed the inspection for the first time today. The owner had told her that if she flunked another inspection he'd fire her. I'd like to think all my pole painting, island painting, graffiti removal and cooler cleanup efforts had something to do with her passing the corporate inspection. Still, I'm somewhat of an embarrassment for her. The customers think that I'm either the owner (an eccentric owner) or a panhandler.

    I don't much care what they think. I just don't want to piss on my life by treating my job as something ordinary.

    But then again, I do.
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