Friday, November 17, 2023

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Last Train to Clarksville (1966)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
1) When did you most recently take a train? I took a short commuter train trip a couple towns over to get my hair cut. Taking the bus to the train and then walking from the train station to the salon took 90 minutes vs. 30 minutes by Uber. But public transportation cost $4.50 vs. $30 for the rideshare, so there's that.

2) The lyrics promise "coffee-flavored kisses and a bit of conversation." Have you more recently had coffee, a kiss, or a chat? A chat.

3) The record opens with a guitar riff inspired by The Beatles' "Day Tripper." Can you play guitar? No. I have depressingly short, fat fingers. Even texting is a trial for me because of these sausages.

4) The lead vocals are performed by Micky Dolenz. He is the only surviving member of the Monkees. Without looking it up, can you name his bandmates? Davy Jones (sigh), Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith.

5) The Monkees starred in an award-winning sitcom for two seasons. In Season 2, Micky surprised fans by appearing with a curly perm. Do you curl, straighten or color your hair? I cover the gray and add highlights.

6) Micky also did a stint at WCBS radio in New York. He spun the oldies every morning and helped his listeners get ready for work. Do you turn on the radio or TV when you first wake up? Yes. First the local TV news, then the shower radio.

7) Micky's daughter, Ami, followed her father into show business, appearing in several movies and a recurring role in General Hospital. If you followed your father into his profession, what would you have done for a living? I'd be an auto mechanic. Since I have no affinity for cars whatsoever, that would not have gone well.

8) In 1966, when this song topped the charts, miniskirts took the fashion world by storm. What have you recently added to your wardrobe? I ordered a pair of comfy black flats from Kohl's. They were an essential since I am now on my feet with my new retail job.

9) Random question -- You order chicken noodle soup and a packet of saltines arrives with the bowl. Do you: 1) break the crackers into pieces and stir them into your soup or 2) squeeze them in your hand and sprinkle the crumbles into your soup or 3) leave them untouched? 1.



Preserving it before it's all gone

Took a walk Wednesday to the Dollar Store. (Glamorous, huh?) But it washed over me how beautiful my neighborhood is time of year. I know people who passed me on the street wondered what I was photographing, and maybe I did look silly. Or maybe they should slow down and take a moment to enjoy the show nature puts on for us here every autumn.

"It's up to you"

So said my boss, Cece, as we discussed stocking and restocking the shelves at the card shop. She taught me a new word, "floorset." We were talking about how the Thanksgiving shelf will soon be refilled with Christmas goods, and then in January, Christmas will disappear.

"Maybe you'll stay on after Christmas. It's up to you."

That was nice to hear. When I took this job, she told me couldn't promise me any hours after January 1. Now, after two weeks, it's up to me if I stay on after Christmas. So apparently I'm doing well. 

I like Cece. She gives me positive reinforcement but also always points out ways I can improve -- important since I have never in my life worked retail.

But Cece and I clashed last week. As soon as we opened on my second day (my second day!), a woman breezed in wearing head-to-toe beige and Burberry. She was Katie from Corporate, and she was here for an unscheduled, surprise sit-down with Cece to discuss the recent store robbery.

The two women were behind closed doors for more than an hour, leaving me all alone in the store. During that time, I waited on a woman who was looking for a "thank you" or "best wishes" card for an author who had invited her to a book launch. The book is about the unique challenges and heartaches parents face when grieving a child. A sensitive topic, to be sure, and one that's tough for a barren spinster like me to address. But I did! I steered her to the display of handmade, quilled cards and sold her one for $13.95 (double the cost of the more conventional cards). I also recommended Elizabeth Edwards' books on loss and recovery. The woman left happy and I was proud of myself.

After Katie from Corporate left, Cece shared her input on my performance with me. Katie from Corporate thought I needed to interact with customers more, that I was "rooted in the comfort zone" behind the register, and that I placed "tasks before people."

I pushed back. First of all, it was my second day. How wise was it to leave me alone when I still just learning to use the register? Second, how did Cece or Katie from Corporate know what I was up to when they weren't around? Third, since the store was robbed, perhaps they ought to rethink the policy of having no one behind the register. 

I admit I was more "articulate" and passionate than I normally would have been because: 1) it's been a year since I've had a boss and I haven't missed it and 2) I've never done well with Corporate. I could have made my point succinctly and left it at that, but no, I was on a roll.

I was worried I'd gone too far. Not because I need the job because, while I am by no means a wealthy woman, I don't. But because I was dumping on Cece. Katie from Corporate was in the store to put Cece in her place after the robbery, and criticizing how I was being trained was just another arrow in her Corporate quiver.* I've worked for major corporations since the 1970s, I understand how shit runs downhill and I knew what I was seeing. I should have just shut the fuck up.

But I often insist that my every thought must be shared aloud. Gotta work on that, Gal.

I apologized to Cece for that on Monday. She graciously told me we were "fine," that as a woman who speaks her mind she appreciated it in me, and I shouldn't give it another thought. Knowing that it's "up to me" if I stay on after New Year's Day made me feel good about the situation.

*I operate under the assumption that the ones responsible for the robbery were not the card shop staff but the men who claimed to have a gun and demanded the registered be opened. But hey, that's me.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash