On The Road : I Made It edition

Yup. I made it.

I am sitting here at my favorite White Spot, waiting for my Chicken Caesar Wrap, and feeling good about being out and about.

Food is here. Yum.

I am a little worried about my health. I realized this morning that I have a vague burning sensation throughout my body. It isn’t very strong, but it is distinct and definitely new.

Sounds a lot like inflammation to me.

So maybe I have a long lasting inflammatory response to an excessively potent histamine reaction.

I definitely feel less healthy lately.

And antihistamines don’t seem to be helping. Perhaps the damage bis already done. The inflammatory response is fueling itself now.

I am probably overdue for a long hot bath with lots of scrubbing. Showers are great for day to day cleaning of scent zones, but if you need deeper cleansing, nothing beats a bath.

The problem is that baths are BORING. Showers are stimulating. Baths are not. So it is very hard to convince my stimulus junkie mind to fill the tub and relax.

I know that is probably a sign of something deeply wrong with my psyche, that I have trouble just relaxing passively. My own for of decadence, I suppose, this desperate need for high levels of mental stimulation. Arguably, I would be better off learning to slow down, relax, achieve inner stillness, and release all my tension and worry.

Christ that sounds boring.

My mind is like a shark, always moving, always hungry. Never fully satisfied. I suppose it comes from all that time spent being bored in class as a kid. It left me permanently hungry for something to do with this enormous brain of mine.

One of my thirsty dogs, I guess.

This hunger must be why I hated downtime when I worked for my uncle Sonny. I was happiest when the place was buzzing, because that meant I was assured that I would stay busy serving customers.

And o genuinely enjoyed serving customers. It was an inherently cheerful thing to me. It took a long period of sustained effort before I grew tired of it.

Well, the bill is paid. Time to go. See you when I get home!

(—)

Aaaand here I am, safe and sound. Well, as sound as usual, anyhow.

i really did enjoy customer service. I know that’s a weird thing to say in this era where “customer service” is considered synonymous with “indentured torture”, but it’s true. I liked doing it.

And I never had the sort of “customer from hell” that people talk about. I had people who were a little cranky or curt with me, and I had the occasional chronic complainer, but no abusive assholes determined to take their inner pain out on you.

Why is that? I, of course, have a few theories.

For starters, there is the nature of the town I grew up in, Summerside, Prince Edward Island. If Smallville is a sleepy little town, Summerside is a walking coma. Compared to the big cities, everything there happens at 25 percent speed.

It’s one of the things that people from Away (otherwise known as ‘the rest of the world that isn’t PEI’ remark upon, and even state as their reason for wanting to move there when they retire. Our “slower pace of life”.

You can imagine how poorly it suited me given my drive for mental stimulation. It is probably one of the causes, come to think of it. Everything was just TOO DAMNED SLOW!

But what it lacked in speed, it partially made up for in calmness. In a small town, the social fabric is tighter, and that means that one’s inherent sense of what is done and what is not done is stronger, and in Summerside, temper tantrums at service people is simply not done. It would be considered rude past the point of comprehension. My home town is not the kind of place where you raise your voice in public.

Plus, word of your bad behaviour would get around pretty fast. It would be a high magnitude social embarrassment. Even cranky people don’t want that kind of humiliation.

Then there’s the nature of my uncle’s business. It was originally my grandfather’s (my uncle’s dad’d) business. It had been around for thirsty years when I was born, and had been the only place in town where you could buy a TV, a stereo, or a radio for all that time. This made it a local institution, and therefore it has a degree of respectability to it.

I rented video games to kids whose grandparents had bought their first radio from my grandfather.

And there was another factor : me. This is the tricky one, because it is hard to describe the function of my own personality in the equation without making it sound like the people who HAVE had those “customer from hell” interactions were doing something wrong. And that pisses them off, obviously.

All I can say is that I am friendly and personable person, especially when I have a role to play (like cashier in my uncle’s business). And I really enjoy customer service. So whatever part of the equation personality plays in our interactions works out well for me. I am a pleasant and likable dude, and that brings out the best (or at least, the better) in people.

So maybe other people really are doing something wrong, but not in the usual sense of the word. They just didn’t get customer service skills as part of their basic emotional makeup.

Or for all I know, it was entirely about my town and the business I worked for. Anyone would have done as well as I did given those circumstances. I don’t know.

But it’s not so outrageous an idea that there are some areas of life that some people are better suited to than others.

Maybe you never did anything wrong, I just happened to do a lot of things right.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

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