Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Best Part of Working in a Convenience Store is...

the never ending array of interesting conversations that I have with customers.
Along with my wonderful conversation I had with Charlie in my previous post...Ive had so many funny, exciting, and just plain eye opening conversations with customers....both regular and those that are just passing through. I try and keep some paper nearby just so I can write down some witty sayings or interesting observations but invariably forget it at work and it gets thrown away. I will try harder to keep track of them as they are definitely worthy of a book some day..LOL.
A recent conversation I had with one of my regular elderly customers had me laughing and joking but also made me stop and think about how we tend to judge someone quickly based only on looks...without knowing a single thing about what makes them tick.
Take Oliver for instance....
Oliver looks to be in his 70's, almost always wear a white t-shirt with a pair of denim bib overalls (which reminds me a great deal of my grandfather) and has a quaint air about him that is very gentlemanly and proper. He has a wonderful smile as well with just a touch of an accent that is very northern. He is a joy to converse with when time permits...and a few nights ago time permitted..our conversation when something like this.
Now when I first had a chance to have a proper conversation with him we delved into such things as philosophy, the death penalty, world events etc...and he has wonderful points of view...varied and not what you would expect...or at least not what I expected. So when our recent conversation took a twist...I was both surprised...and not...by his thoughts on the subject.
We started talking about "trying something new" in order to keep things and life interesting. The mundane and ordinary just made life boring and not worth the effort...so says Oliver...and a lot of other people I'm sure. So, when he asked me what was I willing to try that was new and different from my "norm"...I seriously tried to shock him with this..."well, Oliver, I was thinking of giving the gay lifestyle a try"....and waited for the condemnation. The older generation tend to not "swing that way" for the most part...another assumption that was about to be shattered.
Oliver got very thoughtful for a minute then looked at me straight in the eye and said something that I will remember years from now when so many other things about working at that store will be forgotten. He said..."when it comes to love we surely can't choose whom we love...so who are we to judge when people find love whether we agree with it or not?" While I took that wonderful statement in he hit me with another one...
He told me that he had served in the military and that while he had never "swung that way" (loved that he used that phrase) he said there was this one soldier that always "took his breath away" whenever he saw him. The faraway look in his eye and the softening of his voice told me that he was experiencing that "breathless state" once again...no doubt many decades later.
I was amazed by the passionate tone of his voice and by the fact that I had misjudged him obviously...assuming something about his beliefs and what he accepted as "life" and what was an "abomination" according to some. How refreshing to have my assumptions shattered.
He left me with a parting thought...he told me since we can't choose whom we love...when love chooses us we should grab it with both hands...cause it is so hard to find. I was in a fantastic mood for the rest of the night despite my sore feet and unending line of secret alcoholics clamoring for more.
The next night I was off but my co-worker told me he came in again and asked about me. Apparently the conversation had left a mark on him too...he asked my co-worker if I was busy "trying something new yet"...LOL...she said give me some time...knowing me it wouldn't be long. (she was joking ...I think)
Then again...he came in last night and we discussed how kids these days need a good beating as they are so "pansy assed" and "coddled" from the assumption that "every ones a winner"....he suggested the "switch make a comeback" as a form of punishment. Something his own father used on him and see how well he turned out...LOL. While I don't agree with physically punishing children (I myself was an abused child) it was interesting to hear his thoughts.
Anyhow, I was chatting with a "chat buddy" back in Jan and I told her that this was my year to be an Instigator...to shake it up...get people agitated...cause mayhem and destruction if possible just to prove my one point...YOU MAY THINK YOU KNOW ME BUT YOU DON'T KNOW ME...I might be 41 but I've still got a few surprises left in me...so you never know Oliver, I just might take you up on your challenge...to try something new...
And here I was thinking college was about as much as I could handle just now...LOL. Stay tuned people for the results of my "try something new" challenge.

12 comments:

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Wow, he sounds amazing! It's interesting, sometimes the older generations are more open-minded than the younger ones. I've seen that in Egypt a lot too.

Wrestling said...

He sounds like an awesome person to converse with. As a solitary grad student, I really miss talking to people. :(

I can't wait to see whether you're serious about "trying something new"!

Susanne said...

Ha, ha! I love reading "Conversations From the Store!" Can't wait for a new chapter. Loving Oliver! :)

Angel Darling said...

"he said there was this one soldier that always 'took his breath away'"...

this is classic, wow... I guess you NEVER know people, huh?
Very interesting post, good job Cool Red!

Chiara said...

Oliver sounds great, and a bit of a folk philosopher.

I think Susanne just gave you the title for your book!

And, uh...oh, oh, beware people in Wyoming, the Cool redhead is planning...something! LOL :)

AlabasterMuslim said...

You know, I just realize more and more people are people, and no matter what era we are in, nothing is really new to society; but maybe we are just now talking about such things.

coolred38 said...

cairo...he is a wonderful person to chat with. Always entertaining.

wrestling...serious as a heartattack. LOL

susanne...nice title...Im sure more will be forthcoming.

angel...it sounded even more wow up close and personal. Ha ha.

chiara...you better believe it.

alabaster...your right. What was once hidden is now more or less our in the open...for better or for worse.

Chiara said...

I just read your tweets. Happy Birthday Jibreel!!!! Next year the big 1-3!!!!

You are such a good American momma--cupcakes at school! A tradition sorely lacking in my experience of schools here. We should take a lesson.

sabiwabi said...

loved. this. post.

thanks for being such a wonderful writer....you have such a gift.

oby said...

I think your son's birthday must be almost the same as my daughter's. She turned 11 on March 5. I brought cupcakes to her school too! How funny!

caraboska said...

Coolred, You're only 41??? After the... adventures you had described over your lifetime, and their duration, I thought sure you must be at least a little older. Wow, you have really packed a lot into a short lifetime...

Susie of Arabia said...

I love that story, Cool Red! What a cool old guy. Customers like that sure make the job easier to take...