Once upon a time I used to have the best work stories of all my friends, due to the fact that I worked retail at a big bookstore. When you work retail you work with the general public, and the thing about working with the general public is that there’s no filter, nor any kind of screening process between you and the people you meet.
So there’s nothing at all to stop the general public from coming up to you and asking for your astrological sign so that they can then tell you whether or not you and they are sexually compatible, changing their baby’s poopy diaper in the middle of the children’s section, stealing girlie magazines to use to pleasure themselves in the men’s bathroom, or calling the police in the middle of a transaction in an attempt to have you and your fellow booksellers arrested because they didn’t like your answer to their question. Needless to say I will never again work with the general public, because the general public is HATEFUL AND DISGUSTING. Although they did provide me with some great stories.
The other thing my job had was a person I’ll call “Brianne”. The whole time I was working there “Brianne” was in the process of surgically transforming themselves from a man into a woman. Because I am woefully naive I had no idea this was going on, until the day that “Brianne” showed up at the store as a six foot tall man with painted fingernails, dressed in a strappy, blue-flowered print sun dress and sandals, clutching a stylish handbag. I was unprepared for this particular revelation, especially since the night before I had attended a bachelorette party for one of my friends. I don’t drink, and I didn’t have a bachelorette party myself, so I was completely unprepared for the fact that it’s apparently common practice for brides-to-be to hit the dance floor of a club clutching a life-sized, anatomically correct penis shaped water bottle filled with their beverage of choice. I don’t know that there’s ever a good time to see something like that, but it sure as hell is not when you are stone-cold sober, I’ll tell ya that.
So it was a little odd, the working with Brianne, but my work stories always kicked other stories’ ass. No one else had anything close to a transsexual at their job.
But now that I work for myself as a high school Spanish tutor, I don’t have quite the killer stories that I used to. This was driven home to me the other day when I was talking with a friend of mine who is a new police recruit. Here’s how that conversation went.
My friend: “So today this guy walked into our building with a live grenade.”
Me: “Yeah, I’ve got nothin’.”
But you know what? I’ll take it. I’ll take tub poo and barf on the rug (Important Side Note: these are courtesy of my 3 cats, with whom I spend my days, not my students) and second-tier stories, because in exchange for all of these things never again will I have to assist a customer who has just informed me that she is looking for a book, and the author’s first name is John, and, what do you mean you can’t look up books by the author’s first name?
And if someone does say something totally idiotic, not only am I allowed to point it out to them, but I’m also allowed to give a smart-ass response designed to highlight their stupidity, as in, “It’s a computer, ma’am, it’s not a f*&%$#@ crystal ball!”
I love my life.