Once upon a time there was an ocean

Once upon a time there was an ocean,
But now it’s a mountain range.
Something unstoppable set into motion;
Nothing is different, but everything’s changed.

It’s a dead end job, and you gets tired of sittin’.
And it’s like a nicotine habit you’re always thinking about quittin’.
I think about quittin’ every day of the week,
When I look out my window it’s brown and it’s bleak.

-Paul Simon

Last Sunday I had one of the worst days at work I’ve ever had (the Sunday before is another contender, but that day isn’t interesting enough for a story….unless you count the fact that I pinched a nerve in my neck on the way home and had to take a muscle relaxant). Anyway, last Sunday really sucked.

How about I hit the highlights? And by highlights, I mean lowlights. First of all, there were only five of us working the whole day. I work in a chain family clothing store, by the by. So: there were only five of us, and we had just ended one sale and started another, so most of our day was spent checking all the prices in the store and changing every. single. sign. That meant we didn’t have time to keep checking the dressing rooms, so we had pile upon pile of clothes to put up by closing time. (This is just the set-up of my horrible day, by the by.)

Still stressing out about all the school work I had to do by the next morning, I was pretty absent-minded all day and kept forgetting simple things and making clumsy mistakes. That’s just fuel for my low self-esteem, which likes to find ways to blaze anew. Right about midday, I was called to the front of the store and told to check the restroom to see if it needed cleaning. Now, I thought it was just a routine, “Hey, we haven’t checked it in a while. Just take a peek and see if the trashcans need to be emptied.” Alas, my friends, it was a veiled, “Hey, there’s poo smeared all over the floor and toilet seat. Go clean it up.” My very first (and hopefully last) handling of a stranger’s fecal matter. I armed my arms (ha) with latex gloves, plastic bags, and an eco-unfriendly amount of paper towels. And I used half a can of disinfectant.

As I prepared for battle, I kept thinking (besides “Why me?”) that I just don’t understand why people would do something like that. When I approached the stall, I saw there was a pair of poo-covered underwear in the trash. So I can understand that the person couldn’t help it. These things sometimes happen, unfortunately. I felt sorry for them, and wished they didn’t have to deal with such an embarrassing situation. Still, as embarrassing and disgusting as it is to clean up your own mess, it’s a hundred times more embarrassing and disgusting to make someone else clean it up for you. I can feel the dread and shame that person must have gone through, and for that I don’t blame them. But why, oh why, wouldn’t they at least pick up the big pieces and make it both a little less embarrassing for themselves and a little less disgusting for me?

So, needless to say (but I’m gonna say it anyway because I like being verbose), I got that situation cleaned up and returned to my regular work. A couple hours later I was ready for my much-needed lunch break. I spent that time studying for my German test (which, incidentally, was postponed until today because I was the only student who showed up), and was holding a personal pity party in my head. Halfway through my break, the manager-for-the-day came in for hers. She started making phone calls, which I didn’t really listen to because I was wrapped up in studying/pitying myself. Eventually I realized she was calling friends and relatives and letting them know that her mom was in critical condition in the hospital and they weren’t sure if she was going to make it through the night. Immediately I felt ashamed and unsure about whether I should say anything. Here I was, upset over a little crap, and here she was dealing with some real shit.

So I left my lunch 20 minutes early (it felt so cruel just sitting there when there was so much work to be done) and worked as fast as I could. We all worked our butts off, trying to get done half an hour after closing so she could go to the hospital. Still, even with the five of us increasing our efforts, it took us an hour longer than usual.

In more recent news: I had a god-awful time in German class today, but the wound is too fresh for writing here now. It just seems the past couple weeks have been constantly bringing me down. It’s not often that I have entire bad weeks. Usually it’s just a bad day here or there that gets forgotten amidst the good days.

Sorry for the long entry (don’t mine all end up like that, anyway?). I’ll try to keep it short and sweet next time.

Not up to snuff,
Rachel

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3 thoughts on “Once upon a time there was an ocean

  1. I wish there was something I could do or say to make it better, but once again I find myself at a loss for words. So here’s someone else’s words. Maybe they’ll help.

    I can’t see my reflection in the waters,
    I can’t speak the sounds that show no pain,
    I can’t hear the echo of my footsteps,
    Or remember the sound of my own name.

  2. Shit is shitty. And by shit, I mean BOTH poop and bad times. I’m gonna be extremely cliche here and tell you how sorry I am that you have had more than a healthy share of both this week, and that’s extremely unfortunate. I’m sending you a giant hug right now. Hopefully you can feel it.

    I love you…a lot…a lot, a lot.

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