A Tragicomical, Unsophisticated Blog about the Weird, the Absurd, and the Banal

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Sarcastic Place

Usually when I work at the bookstore I sit at our ereader counter and demo the device or serve as on site tech support for customers.  This, I always thought, is ridiculous since I'm technologically impaired and I do not own nor do I wish to buy an ereader.  Still, I think I've gotten pretty good at my job.  At the very least, I can sell things and solve most problems.

Sometimes I have to wake up very early for shifts.  This is a Trial for me since I'm more of a night person.  Even though I pride myself on doing my job well and I generally think I'm good with customers, sometimes I slip into My Sarcastic Place.  Like the other day.  An Awkward Gentleman walked in just after my shift began and before I had my morning caffeine hit.  He stared at the ereaders for a moment and so I asked -- reluctantly -- if I could help him.

"No," he grumbled.  "I don't want one.  I'm just looking.  In fact, I'm morally opposed to them."

While I knew what he meant and I am confronted with this point of view every day, I was still tempted to ask him what he believes the word "morality" means.  Instead I asked, "Why?"

He glared at me.  "Because I love books.  Ever heard of them?  You can hold them.  Get mustard on them."

The problem is, I sympathize with this guy and every other person who feels this way.  What I loathe is Arrogance.  I tried.  I really did.  Fighting arrogance with sarcasm solves nothing.  But as he was walking away I said, "Actually, that's codex."

The customer turned and Glared at me again, very menacing-like.  "What?"

"What you're talking about is a codex.  It's been a particularly popular form of the book for centuries.  It's a book with a spine and text printed on paper leaves.  But there are also audio books, scrolls, and etexts.  They're all books."

"You've got to be kidding me," the man muttered and walked away.


When I'm not working at the tech support counter I'm usually a cashier.  My register is unusual because it's much lower than all the others so I'm constantly battling with customers to direct them to my counter rather than the four others that seem to be at the Appropriate height.  It takes getting used to, but I like it because it's a little different and more spacious.

The other day I came into work and found a Sorry For Your Loss card on the table in the break room addressed to the family of C.  I asked my manager about it and he pointed to the paper on the table.  There was an obituary for a very young man named C.  My manager explained that C had worked at the bookstore for years, but that he was born horrendously physically handicapped and so was confined to a wheel chair.

"That's why the cash register is lower than all the others at that end of the store.  That was his cash register," my manager said.

There are so many details in the world and it's rare that I stop and think, "Why is this way?"  I assume most things are arbitrary.  It's a powerful blow when the Unexpected Answer comes: "Because of C."

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