Thursday, February 14, 2008
Okay, Maybe Just A Little More About Work

To those (including myself) who were hoping I'd keep a lid on the work-related posts for a while, I apologize in advance. It's just that it's something weird every day, and this last week has been particularly farcical. But it's not really about Fnorders; it just happens that all this stuff seems to happen there. What can I do?

Last night one of my co-workers had a freak-out of epic proportions. We're talking full-on nervous breakdown stuff. When I got back from my break around 6pm, I found her in the staff room, babbling semi-coherently to me that I should make sure I always go to church, because she'd missed church the last two weeks and hadn't tithed in months and now it was "like locusts were descending." She was red-eyed and seemed to be having trouble breathing, and she just kept talking and talking about church and praying and how her life was falling apart since she'd started missing church, making very little sense but apparently in the throes of a major religious meltdown. And we'd all known that she was super-religious in a weird evangelical, fire-and-brimstone Catholic sort of way, but good god damn, enough already.

Just after close, I was called to the cafe to "help out with a little problem." When I got there I found the same co-worker having graduated to genuine hysterics and unable to do her job, and the other cafe girl overwhelmed by the amount she now had to do single-handedly before we could all go home for the night. So I started washing dishes. Yay, thank you Jesus. While I stood there, I got to listen to the freak-out first hand, and it was horrible. She was sobbing and choking over the phone to some poor probably-soon-to-be-ex boyfriend, sucking down air like a fish on a pier, and making no sense whatsoever.

I - I - I - I have to -- I have to go to - I - have - church - I have to go - I have to go to church!

Ohhhhhkay. And they say faith improves people's lives. What brought all this on I have no idea. I spent much of the last half hour sharing furtive are you fucking seeing what I'm seeing? glances with Mandy, one of my better friends at the job, who shares my atheism and is an all-around smart, funny bitch. The evening ended with the store manager having to call (and pay for) a cab for our nutso co-worker, no doubt wondering whether she'd be back, and if she wasn't, whether that was a good thing or a bad thing.

Anyway, for this year, at least, I've decided that I like Valentine's Day. Because tonight, as long as people are in restaurants and getting laid, they won't be shopping for books. It'll be totally dead at work tonight, and that's just how I like it.

To make up for succumbing to work-related posts so soon, though, I will indulge DaveX's request for roommate talk -- and after this, he'll be begging me to go back to Fnorders posts. The reason I rarely write about the roomies is because they rarely do anything worth writing about. But I suppose they deserve at least a mention.

My head roommate is a guy name Chris, who owns the house. He's a former deadhead who spent the last several years of Jerry Garcia's life following the band; following the obvious end of that, he came to Portland and took up management of one of the city's bigger youth hostels. More recently, he took over management of an upscale-but-funky guest house catering mostly to the visiting parents of Portland trustfund babies, and until very recently had also used this, his own house, as an extension thereof. He's a good guy, though I've never managed to make much of a connection with him; but he's very fair, and not at all overbearing. He's got a girlfriend who spends the weekends and brings her sweet-but-stupid dog over. They mostly sit on the sofa together and watch DVDs of recent TV series.

My other roommate is a guy named Brock. Chris and Brock met when Brock first arrived in the city a couple of years ago and spent his first few months at the hostel. Brock's in his middling-late 40s but acts about 27, has a grown son, is now employed as an engineer, used to be in the air force as a young man, has a French-Canadian not-girlfriend named Soleil who's never around because she works on an organic farm somewhere around Eugene (I think), and really likes beer. Which, writing it out, makes him sound like an epic loser, but really he's just another Portland slacker who's too old to be a hipster but hasn't found any compelling reason to join the staid middle class. He's attractively bald, seems to have a hangover every Saturday and Sunday morning, and I've spent plenty of evenings hanging out with him talking about nothing in particular.

A group of former roommates live in another house across the street, and there's a fair amount of back-and-forth between our house and theirs. But they're bit players at best in my current life. We wave to each other when we both end up out on the street at the same time, but we've never really talked. There's also a cat named Sasha who's agreeable but a little bit lacking in personality. The general atmosphere of the house is grown-up and mellow, with no significant tension or stress. I was genuinely lucky to end up here, taken in sight-unseen. I've always known it wouldn't be a long-term home, but it's as good a place as I could've asked in which to get my start.
3:06 PM ::
Amy :: permalink