[to be continued…after the cursing, of course.]
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I don’t normally eat out, but today of all days, I saw the funniest thing. I’m even considering putting it on youtube because why the hell not?
I’m on my lunch hour and decided to drive until I saw something. Needless to say, everything was pretty lack luster and I decided on McDonalds. It’s pretty busy, but I’m able to jump in and out of line pretty fast and sit down with my order. Next thing I know, I hear some kid screaming about the pickles. He jumps up on the counter and practically starts goose stepping and yelling about the bbq sauce. The kid behind the counter grabs his ankles and throws him on the ground. He throws down his apron and walks out with two middle fingers in the air. I love a good ‘job quitting’ story, but it’s so much better seeing in person.
I work at McDonalds…I’m going on 2 years paying my way through college (associates in business)…I’m going on 2 years smelling like french fries…I’m going on 2 years seeing “Michelin Man” children scream about happy meals…if I were to do stand up, that’d be my first joke “there’s nothing happy about ’em! HEYO!”…well… (as you can see, I won’t quit my day job)…until today.
Everyone loves the show, even I watch it. I think its hilarious and when the manager told us we’d be getting a shipment of this sauce, I thought it was novel. How wrong could I have been?
I don’t think anyone could have predicted the amount of fandom this would create. Fast forward to the exact moment I turned to my boss and said ‘I quit.’ I had already been threatened by two customers, separate incidents about their food being ‘spoiled’ and that they were going to call the health department to shut us down.
Another customer, who I assume fought in some war, told me I should make something of myself as he stood there and ordered a quarter pounder (ugh, thanks for the advice, oh, and …thank you for your service). Someone even tried to ‘haggle’ the price of a combo meal.
It’s 1:13 PM and know, we have not run out of this sauce yet. I am standing there, on hour 4 of my day and this hipster as fuck kid walks in and he’s looking right at me. He’s doing that ‘not break eye contact’ thing so I know somethings going to happen. How do I know? I work at McDonalds where people yell ‘bombs away’ and throw their drink back through the drive thru, where ketchup gets thrown on the ceiling in the bathroom or smear on the mirror, perverted old man watch porn on free wi-fi, and yes, the youth of our nation, people my age, come in and act a fool.
I am not immune to funny, and some days, I welcome the interruption, but today wasn’t my day apparently. The guy walked up and mumbled something and belched. I asked for him to repeat it and there he goes. “I’M PICKLE RICK! I’M PICKLE RICK!”
“SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT”
“WHERE IS IT? WHERE IS MY MULAN SZECHUAN SAUCE?!”
“Sir, is that the only thing you want?”
“SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT”
“SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT”
“SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT”
“SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT”
Ok, at this point I am annoyed. Everyone has pretty much stopped in their tracks. Customers are backing away like skiddish farm animals, phones are being pulled out. I think fast and just grab a container of sauce hoping to appease the customer. I put it on the counter and he stops, picks it up and stares. It really only made things worse. The guy smiled at me, jumped on the counter and started screaming again.
He stomps on the container and sauce goes everywhere. While he’s chanting and marching back and forth on our counter I hear my manager yelling at me, yelling for someone to call 911. At this point, I no longer care, I do not want to clean up after this guy, I do not want to work here anymore, and I definitely do not want this guy to run off with out some sort of repercussion.
On the next pass as he’s marching and yelling, I grab him by the shoe laces and pull as hard as I can. He falls backwards and I see him land flat on his back gasping for air. I toss my hat off and take off my apron and walk out.
Co-worker has a bowl of M&Ms? Fill it with skittles. Someone has a peanut allergy? Add Reece’s Pieces.
Mouse? Put a small piece of tape over the optic.
Print a sign with the HP logo that states “this device now voice command”
Put soap in the coffee
Hide a small nail in the stress squeeze ball
Waking up is like having a blindfold removed, but instead of finding yourself in a comfy bed or even a mediocre used bed with stains that you hope are tea or coffee, you find yourself in a room much like a an open pit classroom. You are shuffled down the aisle closer to the center. While confusing at first, you see many others much like you just following the line. As you get closer you hear screaming. It sounds dull at first, but as you get closer you see all of them lined up. Small children screaming. The line is walked by adults with sticks and they strike them to hear them scream. The turn and look at each other like they are trying to reach consensus. They are tuning them. They shuffle them in line the way they want and as you get closer you begin to hear the harmonization. The bright red marks on their arms with their little clenched fists. They get them exactly the way they want and escort them off. You realize that you are next in line.
You nervously look around to see if anyone else is going to protest. Why aren’t you? Why are you just standing there? You do nothing. This is fear of non-conformity.
As soon as they strike your arms you screech out in pain. It burns so badly you clench your fists too and close your eyes so hard to make it go away. When you open them up you find yourself in a parking lot. It smells of fresh oil and you can feel the heat radiate off of it. The smell is toxic and makes you sick to your stomach. For the oddest reason, you find yourself wearing sweatpants and a long sleeve cotton shirt. Why did you choose this? You feel the sweat drip down your arms and each bead weighs your long sleeve down. It isn’t a desert and you are not lost you know exactly where you are and you feel alone. You search the lot for anything, used bottle of water, a small pool of storm water, but it is useless because there is no respite. You curse and rant hoping for someone to hear you but no one does. They only thing you can do is give up. You stare up directly at the sun and it burns your skin and your eyes hurt. Your eyes begin to feel like grapes being squeezed until they burst. You eventually collapse.This is how anger feels as it drains you.
You pass out for who knows how long. When you wake up you feel cold and find yourself curled up in a dug pit of dry dirt. Is it a shallow grave? There is a cool mist and it feels nice at first but it gets denser and it is harder to breathe. You see others pass you by and wonder where they are going, but you don’t have the courage to ask them let alone ask to join them. The mist collects on your skin and the dirt cakes on. Any attempt to brush it off rubs it in more and you become more dirt than human. As you move about you pieces of dirt, of you, crumble off and fall to the ground. You watch yourself collapse and there is nothing you can do. Behind you is a janitor and he walks up to you and begins to sweep your legs into his dust pan. You will be discarded with the rest of the dirt and trash and accept it. This is insecurity.
We walk into the conference room and sit in our usual spots. We never change seats, if we did, it would throw the entire meeting off. Beings how these meetings happen on rare occasions, one cannot just ‘throw a meeting off.’
The meeting convenes like church. You sit in the pew and don’t talk…you wait for the preacher to walk in and open up. We’re a quiet bunch anyways. Talk in the office is usually no more than ambient and anything louder is regarded as screaming.
Now, screaming happens, but that was when John got fired. There were a few loud chuckles last week, but that was from a group email (I wasn’t cc’ed on it so I didn’t get to laugh).
We’ll go left to right and report out. Being first is nice and being last is worst. Carey is last and complains about it all of the time, but no one cares and no one suggests switching spots because it would throw the meeting off.
There’s a few nods around the room, but most everyone’s focus is on there reports or phones…our downward facing seated position, for prayer. EXCEPT. STEVEN.
He’s sitting across from me smiling. A big juicy, shit eating grin smile. I don’t know why nor do I care and I dismiss it as soon as we make eye contact. STEVEN. He doesn’t have his notes out, he doesn’t have a pen in hand, a phone to stare at, but he has his hands clasp together smiling at me. It wouldn’t be so blatant, but STEVEN sits across from me. I am now contemplating changing seats.
Our boss walks in and she sits down. She prepares her spot and sets out several items in a very precise manner. She is left handed so it is more noticeable. STEVEN is still look- smiling at me. (Why won’t he stop?)
The meeting begins and our boss notices STEVEN. His big smiley grin is so noticeable it breaks the concentration of our boss. She nods at him politely and he doesn’t. break. He merely turns toward her and then back to ready position. I glance to see if anyone else notices the large toothy grin. I imagine myself sitting on the couch watching a commercial for toothpaste.
We go the entire meeting with no hiccups. STEVEN stops smiling. We file out one after another and everyone begins to part ways back to their offices. I walked past STEVEN and I go back to my area and sit down.
We all have routines. Daily rituals. A process. Yours and mine are probably similar. We wake up, shower, (shave if we feel like it…even though we still can’t grow that 5 ‘o’ clock shadow we want), eat breakfast (if there is time), have a cup of coffee?
I have one at home and then a pot at work. Why so much coffee? Coffee helps cut through the bullshit.
Your coworker comes up to you and explains how they didn’t do what they should have done a week ago…what you planned on them doing and getting done today….so that you can move on with your piece of the job.
You’re at your desk and a client calls and they start the conversation by screaming at you…but it doesn’t happen once, it happens every time that day.
You’re boss tells you your vacation request you put in months in advance is denied.
Your car doesn’t start……..the list goes on.
But that’s okay, when there’s coffee. You can stand there and ‘nonchalantly sip’ your coffee as you’re listening to every excuse there is on why something didn’t get done.
You can hold the cup and swirl it to demonstrate that “you’re listening, but you don’t care”
You can even go as far as to spill it in someone else’s area so that when they see it, they are reminded of you.
But when you get into work early and you hope that it will mean you can leave early, and there is no coffee maker in the break room, you go ape shit.
It’s Thursday. It’s fucking Thursday. I was here Wednesday, yesterday, and the fucking coffee maker was here in all its coffee and calcified water stained glory. UN-FUCKEN-BE-LEAVE-ABLE. WHY AM I EVEN HERE. “What kind of sweatshop is this?!” is the first thing that comes out of my mouth. Where the hell is it? Why is it gone? Is it out for repairs? Did someone steal it? I still haven’t found the communal staple remover in the copy room…that just grew legs and walked off.
I need coffee. I need it to deal with this day. I came in early I had a plan I, I …..I need coffee.
To go an entire day without it is like asking a heroin addict to….well, maybe not that extreme.
I ran to maintenance and asked them what was up with the coffee maker. Now mind you, this is a guy who could care less about everyone else’s coffee (and could care less about replacing the toilet paper in the restroom timely, which is another issue for another time), but looks up from whatever he’s doing and smiles. He never smiles.
He doesn’t say anything. He grabs for a piece of paper laying on his push cart and holds it up as if he’s picking me up from the airport. Two hands. Huge sign. Big fucking grin.
The sign says, “FUCK YOU”