Posted 12-07-2003 at 15:37:10
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I am not the most patient person in the world. Especially if I am doing something. I hate to be distracted. No matter what I am doing, I am always thinking miles ahead, planning the next step, next phase, next move, trying to organize my thoughts and actions to get the optimum performance out of a tired and unwilling body. So, as I stare at the mountain of stock that has to be put away every night, the first thing I do is start to categorize and plan. Economy of motion is the only thing that gets me through the nine hour shift.
Enter James. The intrepid interrupter.
James is a nineteen year old boy that looks for all the world like Jimmy from H and R Pufnstuf. Some of you are going to know who I'm talking about, some not. Anyway, he's a dark headed, tall boy with a deep scarlet, perpetual blush, and has an annoying habit of being very respectful one minute and then saying something so completely assinine, disrespectful, and ridiculous the next, that you just want to smack him.
"Hi Miss Cindi, how are you? Looks like a tough one tonight." Harmless enough. I open my mouth to respond, then....
"You're not going to beleive what I just saw! I came around the corner and there was this blonde babe bending over checking out a CD player and I didn't mean to look, but she had on this really short skirt....." Details, details details, that I don't need to know, nor do I want to hear about.
I can take about an hour or so of this Jekyll and Hyde routine before I start to grit my teeth, and being that I've worked with him for over a month now off and on, I think I've done an admirable job of not going completely postal on him yet. What I do, is try to stay out of his way but he will invariably search me out, as he did last night and I finally lost it, and now I feel bad about it.
"Hey miss Cindi."
"Wrkn." Trying to keep it short and sweet and to the point.
Most folks would say oh, bummer, walk away, leave you alone to suffer in silence. Not Mr H R Pufnstuf.
"Oh. Well, if I hadda a head that looked like that it would hurt too." Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.
Grrr...you little....grrr.....no comment, but I gave him the look. The same look that will scatter my kids to the four winds. James, however, appears to be impervious to 'mean mama' looks and stood there still giggling and blushing.
"Didja hear me, I said if I hadda a head that looked like that....."
"Yessssss, I heeeaarrrd yooooou." Sounding like Kah the snake in The Jungle Book.
There was nothing in my tone that seemed to alarm him in the least. He went on, prattling on about the blonde in the skirt until I finally lost my temper.
"Can I ask you a question, son?"
"What exactly is it about this story that makes you think that I need to know about it? You realize that some stories are best not told to members of the oppposite sex, don't you? In other words, go find a GUY and tell him about the blonde. You need to learn to market your material better. Find the right audience, you know what I mean?"
Judging by the dumbfounded slack jawed expression on his face, I would say that the entire speech went sailing right over top of his head, and he confirmed it with a grin, a shrug, and a ....'huh?'.
"Look. Just go do what you're supposed to be doing!" I shooed him with a fistful of generic television remote controls. "You need to get to work! While you're standing around here flapping your jaws about the blonde, everybody else is working! Now, either you get to it, or I go find the manager and he'll get you to it, do you get me?"
I didn't realize I was yelling until D'Ann poked her head around the corner from the candle aisle, one eyebrow cocked and a bemused expression on her face.
"Okay, okay!" Off he went, hitching his pants up rather indignantly, without a look back. D'Ann ambled over.
"Kinda went off there, did ya?"
I let out a long low sigh and she giggled.
"Do what I do. When he talks to you, just gawk at him. Don't say anything. He'll think you're crazy as a mongoose and he'll stay away from you."
"Never". I said. She shrugged.
"Works for me."
Off she went, wiggling her hips and humming what sounded like the theme song to The Green Berets, leaving me to think that maybe she her solution to James was right in character and maybe not that big a stretch.
Sigh. I don't know what is going to happen tonight. If I see James, I know I will apologize for losing my temper, but assure him that however they were delivered, the words were intentional and the sentiment behind them was true. I kinda feel sorry for him. He seems to be seeking out approval and acceptance in all the wrong ways and I could kick myself for not being gentler with him, but how much can one person take on before they start to lose any semblance of grace?