Clerk: Good morning, sir. How are you doing today?
Punkie: Fine, thanks. How about you?
Clerk: TERR-ible! My cashier has been out sick, and I have to cover her shift, and so my girlfriend is going to go out with her friend Mandy instead, and then they are going to talk about me, and when I get back to the apartment, she'll be all, "I am so mad at you." And I'll be all, "Why?" and she'll be all, "You know... you're a GUY!" Us men gotta stick together, right? Ha! Women... So anyways... last week, I was cutting my toenails and notice the weirdest thing...
That was an actual conversation I had with a store clerk at the mall, except it was much longer.
I have gotten maybe 2 hours sleep. I think my ulcer has finally done me in. I can't eat anymore without becoming ill. I won't go into details, but I should see a doctor, because now I can't even sleep without getting ill. I think that Gasto-enteritus I got in December really screwed some basic thing up with my digestive system. On top of that, I had really awful coffee (7/11) that spilled on me three times, and the third time was when the cup committed suicide. The Styrofoam seam on the cup split, and spilled hot coffee all over my front, pants, leatherman, office door, and rug in front of my office door. Luckily, my trash can was there, and got most of the coffee. My hand hurts, but I don't thinks it's a serious burn. It's just a little red and stings. It also got on my donuts, which were now sticky and damp. When I bit into my jelly donut, the jelly shot from the donut onto my keyboard (luckily, not IN the keyboard). I had to seriously clean my desk and keyboard, then wash my hands. When I went to wash my hands, I forgot I had the burn, and when I put my hand under hot water... yeowch! I was in a pissy mood.
Then someone I didn't even know walked into the office kitchen, and said, "Hello. How are you?" It was a cheerful, optimistic greeting by a perky morning person. Thankfully, she was light in weight, because when she fell to the floor after I snapped her neck, it was quiet fluttering noise instead of a heavy thump that attracts the guard's attention sometimes. No, no... actually, my retail reflexes kicked in. "Great! How are you?" I said, just as cheerful. She put her lunch in the fridge. "Great, thanks! Well... off to work. It's Friday! Yay!"
I don't know who she was. It was amazing how I just said, "Great! How are you?" because wow, I was not great, not cheerful, and in fact, very angry at the world because I spent money for bad coffee I didn't even get to finish and got a burned hand in the process. Plus I had wet clothes (luckily, dark colored, so the stain isn't as obvious). But even though I haven't had a retail job since 1996, it's still a reflex.
But then I felt bad. I had lied. Even worse, lied to a complete stranger. I never thought about it before, and now I am feeling conflicted about my reality experience that people who say "How are you?" don't want a diatribe or a play-by-play of terrible events unless they really know you, and really care. But then there's the feeling of, "You lied. You actually told an untruth, the very thing you strive to rid from your life." Then I think, why bring her down? She was cheerful, and thus, did make me feel a little better. Then the feeling of, "Oh my God you lied and then felt good about it! You used her, you sick bastard." Then it went back to "you didn't use her any more than just feeling better about oneself through self-reinforced opportunity to feel better..." Back and forth this went, until my stomach was in knots.
Maybe it's the lack of sleep.
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000086.html