Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Next Job

After I left Eckerd's, I told you I worked at a sandwich shop a couple of doors down. A family my family knew owned it, so I got the job basically without even an interview. The owner was an embarrassment to me. Next door was a liquor store, and people started coming in for setups at the sandwich shop. The owner didn't like this, so he put signs up all over the restaurant that said that you could not purchase a soft drink unless you purchased a sandwich with it. People would constantly come in and ask why they couldn't get a lousy soda, and he would point to the signs and say that's just the way it is. And I hated it when he would leave me at the shop by myself because then I had to explain the stupid rule. They would say, "That's a stupid rule." I would say, "I know", and shrug my shoulders. What was I to do? I would have loved to have just sold them a soda while he was gone, but how would I explain a purchase on the cash register for under a buck?
A few months after I started there, a gay couple leased the space on the other side of the shop. They opened a clothing store. My boss thought the two guys were wonderful. Well, not only were they practically the first gay men I had ever talked to, one of them's name was Tommy, and he was well known at Eckerd's for shoplifting. Not only that, but I had a very special, upsetting memory of Tommy as a child.
When I was about 12 years old, I rode my bike up to that same shopping center to buy my parents an anniversary present. I had saved up my money from babysitting. I still remember it like yesterday. I was at the Hallmark shop, and a deaf/mute man came up to me and handed me a card. It said that he was a deaf mute and would I buy a pencil from him? He was -- you guessed it -- Tommy. Being a naive 12-yr-old, I took money out of my parent's anniversary present money and handed it to him, and he gave me the pencil. Let me tell you, when you have worked that hard for money, and then you were going to spend it on your parents, and then you looked someone in the eye and gave it away intesd, you remember a face. Besides, I used to see him hanging around the shopping center even after that. Now, I know he didn't take all of my money, and who knows whether or not it made a difference in the quality of present I purchased that day, but, hell, he took my money! Years later, when he walked in the sandwich shop, I was in total shock at the same man I had seen for a couple of years, and he could hear and talk. By now, you know that my personality is one where I never speak up about anything, especially if I am wronged. I felt like it was my fault because I was too stupid to know that this guy was a fake. I stayed at the sandwich shop until I graduated from high school to make more money with a temp agency. Will talk about that another time.

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