To Be or Not to Be (cold, wet and sick)

I deserve what I’s gots.

And what I’s gots is a rocker hangover.

Time to time it’s good to get your drink on. A planned drink-on sloughs off detritus and dross and clears the pipes.

Last night was not one of those planned ventures.

It was my day at work I guess. If you can call one hour a day.

When It Rains (in Arizona), It Pours!

A sudden downpour greeted my scheduled hour of doing carts. Gathering them from all about the parking lot and pushing them into the Fry’s supermarket lobby.

The mind harked back to a mama monsoon some two weeks prior. The Big Dog (store manager) ordered me to grab a poncho and umbrella and escort customers holed up in the lobby to their cars.

I sloshed through puddles the size of little lakes and through gusts. The customers surely appreciated the help. Which is good.

When I resumed my duties indoors, I was chilled to the bone, shivering, dancing in place to generate heat in sopping wet shoes and pants. Before the next day, I fell sick. Not so sick as to stay home but certainly unwell.

I learned a valuable lesson that in my youth I would’ve shoved away as if it were a plate of cottage cheese — the grossest “food” ever! Cottage cheese’ll NEVER cross these lips, I promise!

That valuable lesson? To respect my health — pockmarked by sundry ailments, weaknesses and vulnerabilities — and say no to that which genuinely jeopardizes it.

So if I’m sent out into the pouring rain at the job, I’ll need to respectfully decline and allow a 22-year-old coworker — which is every coworker in my category! — of robust health to go in my stead.

Reasonable? Not so fast.

TRIED to Do the Right Thing Anyways

I handed off my carts shift to Zach, who accepted eagerly, and took over his indoor tasks.

Couldn’t have been more than 10 minutes when I was called into the office by not one but two supervisors/managers! (One I like, one I don’t respect at all but that’s neither here nor there.)

After an extraordinarily long discussion and debate, the gist was this:

  • I’m expected to do my duties regardless of weather. (Every shift includes at least an hour of retrieving carts.)
  • Trading with coworkers, even if they’re willing, is not allowed.
  • If I cannot — or will not, in my case, due to jeopardizing health — do every task, I will be sent home.

Wow, this is Fry’s shooting itself in the foot. Fry’s needs every worker it can get its hands on. Fry’s is a revolving door. They can’t keep people because they treat ’em like tools and means to their own gains and pay quite poorly — minimum wage for the trench workers. The gap left by sending ANY worker home stresses a house constantly on the verge of imminent collapse.

Hey, I don’t make the rules!

  • If I cannot or will not perform every duty expected, it will be perceived as insubordination by Fry’s and employment will be terminated.

So after a little work and a dialogue with one manager that went on too long, I was sent home. I didn’t refuse. Or cry. Or even wince. Face it. The loss of three hours at minimum wage isn’t a bullet to the life raft.


I left with something I gotta think about. Winter’s quick approaching. It’s gonna be a bad one, my farmer’s almanac bones know. A wet one. A lotta cold rains, snow, ice. Something about El Nino. I don’t pay attention or care what so-called authorities and experts say.

The question is:

  • Am I willing to endanger my health, pushing carts in winds and wetness and frigid conditions for the next several months, in the afternoons and late nights (as I often work closings lately)?
  • And am I willing to do so for minimum wage?
  • Am I willing to do so even if I suit up with waterproof boots — purchased at Walmart yesterday in preparation, (footwear I wouldn’t otherwise buy or wear)?

Line in the (Wet) Sand

Concerning health and risk, the line in the sand is pretty clear to me. It’s become so gradually through years  of hard experience precisely because I endured far more than I should’ve.  That inner Endure-All-Things Survivor who emerged in infancy has, yes, kept me alive.

But at costs.

So that’s where it’s at. I do as Fry’s says. Or I lose my job. A Lame Crap Job, granted, that took a year to get in this gawd-awful Obama-socialist economy. A Job is a Job. My father’s mantra beaten into me that I’m far from free of, it’s true.

I’m looking for other work. Of course. Always looking. It’s become a lifestyle!

INDOOR work!

Go With the Gut & Heart

Listen to your gut and heart, they say. I’m good with the gut, the heart, less so when it comes to jobs. That darn Survivor gets in the way e-ver-y time!

The Gut

The gut says: Winterize — suit up — to the max during your assigned shifts outdoors. You CAN do it. You endure whatever life throws at you. And btw, a lotta times it’s handfuls of crap! Calling them cow pies merely romanticizes them! Yet it won’t be enough. Frigid air coursing through your respiratory system and lungs will NOT serve. That’s your greatest weakness and you know it! Though you’ll deny it by your Survivor’s Will to Endure. Think about it.

Roger that.

The Heart

The heart says: {name name name}, what are you doing?! Why in the world are you retreading ground, ground that you deeply dislike, ground that’s been trodden to death?! While your need to serve is very admirable, and your need to work extraordinarily admirable, your heart is not in this job. You’ve been trying to dump it for … how many months now? {two of the three there}

You can let this job go and find another that you will enjoy, that will pay more and not detrimentally affect your health (physical and mental, even leave you with illness through winter and do you REALLY need that given your icebox of your home?!)

Good point.

The Secret.

Not the famous one. “Secret” is, let the job go with gratitude. Thank Fry’s — and all its craziness and crazy-making, all chronic and endemic, all irreparable, it’s the nature of that beast — for supportive employment. For this short duration.

It’s NOT your career and you know it. It’s NOT where you want to be, you know that too. It’s far beneath your abilities and skills sets, duh! It’s a stop-gap measure.

Thank Fry’s for EVERYTHING, including yesterday’s extensive discussion, the time supervisor B. gave you and her offer to buy your boots (an offer that will be nixed by the store manager). Her kind gesture is indeed rare in any corporate world!

Be grateful for it all and let it go. And find yourself a job where you can be warm in winter. You will need it in your icebox mobile home.

Go with the Flow. Flow your way outta Fry’s.

With gratitude and the promise of better. On every level. You so need that now.

Last but by no means least, try to create space for the inner Artist to emerge alongside that inner Survivor who just never gives up in endurance of all {traumas and much more}.  That inner Artist is your ticket out.

Well, that’s quite a piece! Amazing what writing can do!

Finally, deserving what I’s gots. A hangover. Last night, I overdrank just by a little; the typical dearth of food only worsened it. It wasn’t a purging drink-on but emotions drummed up by the Fry’s thang.

Oh well. It happens.

Signing off and good on anyone who read this far! It’s a mouthful and evidence of a mind at work — even when saddled by a hangover! Bye for now.