I was on my way out for a bagel this morning when the Fox texted me that the friend he was having coffee with at 11:00 had cancelled. Oh, those flaky gays. He was floating the idea of lunch. Since he and his boyfriend gave me the cold I am presently suffering through, I didn’t feel like I needed to protect them from any potential threat of exposure to my germs. Plus, it’s been two days…pretty sure I wasn’t packing any threat of contagion.
I was famished, so I put a pin in the notion of a bagel and let my stomach upgrade to a Thanksgiving scale lunch.
Feed a cold, eh?
We already had plans to get together for a bit in the afternoon so I could put a bow on some gift packages I had wrapped for him a few days back. He’s one of the smartest people I know and my best friend, but he’s a human and prone to some interesting quirks, like not being able to wrap a gift and not thinking about buying ribbons and bows at the same time that he bought the damned wrapping paper. So, after fueling up and a side trip to buy ribbon, I enjoyed a little recreation ribbing as I bowed.
Hey, my gift wrap services are not free!
During lunch, he had mea culpa-ed about a trip to a former employer of mine to get some coffee equipment. His old brewer had broken, so he’d picked up a more durable stainless steel french press – and promptly hated it. He should have known he wouldn’t like it after what they did to me, he only went because they happened to be in the area.
Surprisingly, I was not bothered by this.
Maybe it’s personal growth, maybe it’s the cold medicine mellowing my natural harsh.
However, he was having mixed feelings after telling me he’d given his last dollar to Seattle Coffee Gear when they had laid me off. Since he was so unhappy with the new french press, I suggested we go return it and he grumbled that he would just go to Kobo’s and get a new brewer, but insisted I go with him to advise.
While we were there, I figured I could scout out potential employment opportunities. Well, I’ve decided the potential is nil. Bad service. As I was advising the Fox, a little old lady looked over his shoulder and said, “Do you work here?” as the two employees on shift remained in the customer-free safe zone behind the espresso counter. I apologized and said that I was just there helping a friend decide what to buy. She stood there a moment or two longer and then when I looked back, she was gone and the item she had been holding was sitting abandoned on the counter.
Reinforcing the decision that this was not a choice employer for me was the fact that they just didn’t have enough toys there to make them a successful business. The Fox is considering a Technivorm brewer, in my and many people’s minds the best in class for electric brewers. They had two models out of the multitude offered. I suggested we just go to Seattle Coffee Gear. He passed. After telling him the benefits, I think I have him convinced to waive his loyalty to me in favor of shopping to his best advantage.
Still touching, though.
Meanwhile…The Broken Poet left me again.
His loss, I know.
His mental problems that aren’t being treated creating my misery, I know.
My choice to nurture the heartbreak it causes me, I know.
But my decision to not let his problems dictate my actions and to live by the values I hold as a man…all mine.
To that end, his problems might have told him that leaving me is the right thing for him. That throwing away all of the possessions that he couldn’t fit into his checked bag or carry onto the plane with him as he fled was the correct decision: his mistake to make. Possessions that he holds dear because they don’t let him down or use him, like the people in his life have consistently proven capable and willing to do.
Present company excluded, natch.
But, that doesn’t mean that I have to let him throw away his security as he does so, building in future hurt that he can’t see his way to in his state of mind.
Break my heart, sure.
You won’t break me as a human.
So, with some tears, I gathered up his possessions from the trash room floor – what was left after the scavengers that saw them before I did – and boxed them up to send to him when I am could. I got one box out that day…$55 to ship 32 lbs of life and security to a broken person. I may not have a lot of money, but I have that.
I can give that.
It’s important to me.
That box went slow boat to China style, so it won’t arrive until this coming Saturday…and I move Friday. I really don’t want to taint my new space with the negative emotions and memories of my existing place, so I will leave the second and final box in the old place while I clean it and see what happens upon receipt of the first box. My plan is to get it in the mail to him Monday. I half expect his dad to ask me why I sent it to him, as I learn he didn’t run home after all but stayed in Portland and is just hiding out here. That’s fine, his choice – and frankly, a better choice than returning to the hell of New Mexico and the people that created him – but if that comes to be true, I will not waste more of my money sending the second box. Either way, it gets posted or hand delivered in some way from my old apartment, not the new one. This is also part of the reason that the new guy I’ve been getting to know hasn’t had an invite to the old apartment. Other reasons being equal parts “I’m not ready” and “I’m not sure he’s that into me”.
In the midst of these two events, the looming reality is that I am moving. And getting damned close to calling this retail hiatus I am on semi-retired and/or changing my career from retailer to writer.
Key word: Close.
But as I mull that over, I consider the lack of dedicated space I have to write. Part of the reason I’m moving, sure. I can’t write full-time at my kitchen table, I need a true space to dedicate to this if I am going to make a serious effort to succeed outside of the occasional creative indulgence.
I need a desk.
I need a story board – a fancy type bulletin board – to organize and keep myself focused.
I need to go to Storables. A place I worked briefly before being fired after I was honest with them about the chance of them retaining me long term after telling me to be less retail at work. It was a good thing, in the long term it may be the catalyst that got me to nurture my writer’s voice and be brave enough to find out if I have the talent to succeed as a writer.
Of course, there in the wings was the supportive best friend telling me that Storables had lost a customer for life.
Oh, sweet hyperbole.
Last week, the Fox ended up letting it slip that his boyfriend had picked up some gadget or other at Storables…again, looking sheepish. But I found myself not caring.
I need trash can liners for my Simplehuman trash can – J liners, and I have been waiting to order them from Amazon versus buying them at Storables until I get settled into the new place.
I need trash can liners. I need a bulletin board. Why not just go get them at the closest and most convenient place?
I can be butt hurt about the senior team’s lack of vision and savvy about running a successful business – hey, if your idea of success is closing 5 of your 9 stores in the last 5 years and blaming the recession that occurred 7 years ago, then bless your heart, keep doing what you’re doing – depriving myself of convenience or I can let it go and shop where it’s best and easiest for me.
In that little thought, I experienced the a-ha moment of how depriving them of my dollars and my friend’s loyalty to me encouraging them in doing the same as something totally different: hurting the people that are actually working in that store. Sure, I can’t help people who don’t want help run a solid retail business, but I can help the store be successful as a consumer. And if this company – or SCG for that matter – fails then it is another small, local business failing and that hurts the people that work there, me, the neighborhood and the culture that makes it all special…
Big thoughts for an un-caffeinated Chris.
So, I’m kind of letting some worthless grudges go. Loathe as I am – as I’m sure anyone is – to admit that they were grudges. Dressing them up as principles whose violation I was obligated to protect and defend, really only hurt me versus helping me.
Of course, as I wrote this blog, my former assistant at Storables called me to freak out about having convinced herself she’s getting fired tomorrow. It sounds like her thought process is sound, given the players we are dealing with. However, as long as she’s getting fired, I’m going to work her employee discount for my trash bags and bulletin board.