Not Normal

About 50% of the time, I keep a book in my locker at work to read on my breaks. The other 50% of the time is usually spent on my phone either writing or watching something on Netflix while on break. It’s been this way for the past couple of years now, but for some reason, one of the people who have worked with me since I started here almost 7 years ago just now noticed it.

I was in the breakroom waiting for my food to be done when he mentioned that he saw me reading a lot. I said that I did. Then he asked if I read a lot at home and I answered that my leisure time at home was pretty much divided equally between reading, watching TV, and playing video games. His response to that was, “Oh, so you do normal things too.”

“….”

I didn’t know what to say to that. Mostly because he ranks much higher than me and I need my job. So, I nodded absently while thinking about what a tool this guy was.

Since when is reading not normal? I realize that nowadays it’s not as prevalent as it was in the past (at least, not overtly. A lot of people read on their portable devices instead of books today so you’re not sure what they’re doing on them), but when did it become not normal to read?

If this guy was younger than me, I might expect an attitude like that, but he’s at least 10 years older than me. I would think that someone like that would think it more normal to read a book than have my head buried in my phone. Then again, most people do have their heads buried in their phones most of the time now. I’m certainly not immune to it. I just don’t do it as often as most of the people around me. Maybe that does mean that I’m not normal.

If it does, so be it. I’d rather be not normal and read than be normal and not.

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Catching Up on my Movies

I’m way behind in my movie watching. Between work, fixing up my house, spending time with my girls, and writing, I don’t get a whole lot of movie watching time. I’m also way behind on my TV watching too. I haven’t finished the second season of any of the non-Daredevil Marvel Netflix shows. But, since movies are a lot quicker to watch than seasons full of shows, I figured I’d get some of them out of the way first. Here’s my overall opinions on them.

Needless to say, there will be spoilers here (although, I doubt there are too many people as behind in their movie watching as I am)

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Live Hard

Thirty years ago, he had been killed. Twice. The first time, his death had not lasted long, a few hours at most, but he wasn’t in a position to judge time that well. The second time he was killed lasted longer, probably closer to a week. When he woke up from the first death, it was fine. He remembered where he was and what he had been doing. That wasn’t the case the next time.
It was shocking, and disturbing, when he woke up in a casket. The fact that he didn’t remember who he was, or how he got there, didn’t help any. He panicked. Not a single thought registered in his mind before he got out of the casket and ran until he couldn’t run anymore. When he stopped to survey his situation, his thoughts were a jumbled mass of German and English. That made some sense since he found himself in Germany.
He found the nearest public restroom and looked himself over in the mirror. There were multiple scars on his chest. Somehow, he knew these were made by bullets. He also had bruises and marks on his neck, but his mind didn’t try to tell him where those had come from.
Without any memories of who he was, he had nowhere to go, so he wandered around for a time. Whenever he saw something he wanted, or needed, he just stole it. Something about stealing stuff just felt right to him. Then, one day, someone tried to stop him from stealing their car. Using a gun that he had taken from a local street thug, he shot the car’s owner. That felt right too.
So, he started working as a hired gun. It combined the two things that felt right to him. Granted, it took him some time before he made anything at it. Not many people trusted a homeless man with no name to do hired gun jobs, but he eventually made a reputation as someone who could get things done. That opened up new horizons for him and he found himself traveling all across the globe.
During that time, two strange things happened. First, he noticed that he wasn’t aging. Not as fast as everyone else was. Looking in the mirror five years ago, he noted that he still looked the same as he did when he had first run away from the casket. The second thing was that he started having flashbacks. They were always the same. He was using a chainsaw to cut some wires while a man with short blonde hair and glasses protested. The blonde man was important to him, he knew. He just didn’t know how. Since he was attracted to women, he knew the blonde man wasn’t his lover, but he felt like he did love him in a different way.
None of it made any sense to him until he took a job in L.A. and he saw it. It loomed large above him, but as soon as he saw the Nakatomi building, everything came back to him.
A white cop had hanged him by his neck with a chain. That’s where the marks on his throat came from. He came back to life only to have a black cop shoot him in the chest, killing him again. The blonde man was his brother. His name was Karl. He still didn’t know how he had come back from the dead, but that didn’t matter to him. He had work to do.
Using favors he had earned over his time as a hired gun, he found out that the black cop who had killed him still lived in Los Angeles, though he was retired now. Without thinking, Karl went straight to the policeman’s house. At the moment, he was standing inside it.
“Thirty years,” Karl said as he spat on the body of Sgt. Al Powell.
That was one cop down. There was one more who needed to be put down. This man was someone who Karl hated even more than Powell. This was the man who had killed his brother and hung him from a chain. His vengeance wasn’t complete. Karl’s vengeance wouldn’t be complete until he flew to New York and killed John Mcclane.

Unsung Heroes

When it comes to professions, First Responders and the military are usually the first to get praised. It makes sense. They put their lives on the line every day to keep us all safe and, in doing so, they’re forced to see the worst of humanity. I, for one, try to thank them when I can for the sacrifices that they make on our behalf.

The people that I’m thinking of don’t quite go through that, but they do have to look upon a very ugly side of humanity every day…. customer service workers.

I worked at Walmart for 11 years. In that time, I was verbally abused hundreds of times (almost always for something that I had absolutely no control over) and was forced to see things that have scarred me for life. I’m trying to think of the stupidest thing that I got yelled at for, but there’s too many to choose from. So, I’ll pick the first one that comes to mind.

I was once cussed out by a woman because I declined a tip from her. I politely explained that accepting tips was against company policy, and, since my manager was standing within sight, I couldn’t take it. She flew off the handle, cussing up a storm and telling everyone within earshot that I was horrible at my job (despite the fact that only moments ago I had done so well that she wanted to give me a gratuity). As much as I wanted to say it, I stopped myself from snapping, “I’m sorry for not taking your tip, lady, but your $3 isn’t worth me losing my fucking job!” The manager heard the commotion, came to investigate and told the lady that I was right to refuse her. She then started cussing him out and he had security escort her out of the building.

And that’s just one example… From me…. I’m sure everyone who works in customer service has at least one story just like it.

I am thankful that I don’t have to go through that on a daily basis anymore. I’m not sure I could put up with the general public for 40 hours a week now.

I still see it, though.

Any time I go into a store, there’s a chance that I’ll see some poor customer service workers get abused by asshole shoppers for things that are not their fault. Like the experience I had yesterday, for example.

A woman in front of me at the grocery store was trying to pay for her items, but the card reader wasn’t liking the chip in her credit card. So, what does she do? She starts getting really shitty with the cashier. After the third time it couldn’t read the chip, the reader went to its backup, the magnetic strip on the back of the card. This only further angered and confused the woman. “This stupid machine says to swipe my card. What does that mean?”

….

“It means to swipe your card, you dumb bitch.”

Ok, nobody actually said that. But, I wanted to. If I wasn’t so sure that the crazy woman was going to attack me if I did say it, I probably would have. Instead, I just laughed at her stupidity. She either didn’t hear me laughing or didn’t think I was laughing at her because she paid me no attention. Then again, she was still awfully busy being rude to the cashier, who has no control over the card readers or the chip in that lady’s credit card.

When it was finally my turn to pay, and the woman had walked away, I congratulated the cashier for being polite throughout the whole episode. The cashier was a young woman, either still in high school or a recent graduate (I’d say somewhere between 17-19). I don’t know how she has the patience to put up with that at her age. If someone did that to me when I was that age, I probably wouldn’t have been able to keep my mouth shut.

Now that I’m older, I’ve found that a lot of the people who throw these tantrums actually want to make the cashiers/store employees snap back at them. It gives their arguments more credence when they try to get free stuff out of the store’s management team. So, towards the end of my tenure at Walmart, whenever I got an extremely rude or obnoxious customer, I made sure to always be as polite as I could possibly be. Not because I needed to keep my job (although that factored in a little), but because being nice to them always seemed to make them even more angry.

So, please, the next time you’re at the store, make sure you are kind to the people working there… unless of course they’re rude to you first. In that case, to hell with them.

This R2 Unit Has a Bad Motivator

I’m taking a break from writing right now. It’s voluntary… but it’s not.

You see, I don’t want to be taking a break from writing right now. I want to be working on any one of the myriad of projects that I have going on at the moment. But, when it comes time to do so, to start putting pen to paper (or more accurately, putting finger to keyboard), I can’t seem to do it. The desire is there, but the will to follow through with it is not.

I don’t know what it is. Maybe I just need a break from it. I’m not sure. I just hope it doesn’t last too much longer.

I’ve got things to finish.