I think the best days are the ones you didn’t plan on. Yesterday was definitely one of those!
It started out with waking up and feeling pretty happy. No aches and pangs, not foreboding feeling of dread about the coming workday, mostly because I knew I was going to have adequate assistance for the day (1 new guy and 2 of my teenage boy co-workers) I also knew that today (Saturday) was the 1st day I was going to be getting my new pay raise! Making the wage you deserve kinda makes for a happy worker (employers might wanna take note!)
Anyway, there was a zing in the air that I immediately enjoyed. It wasn’t too hot and the breeze coming through put me in the best mood! I walked over to the nearest Kwik-Trip (Locals all just call it Kwik-E-Mart) and loaded my bag up with delectable’s. A Bacon & Egg Croissant, some Coconut-dusted Donuts, a bottle of Cold Mocha Coffee and a package of cookies (for offering in the break-room). I caught my bus and read some more of the immensely entertaining book The Mysterious Benedict Society , of which I am greatly envious as the writing is superb. I walked to my location and checked in.
The break-room wasn’t buzzing like it usually does. Kinda subdued really. of course, I went and ruined it with my cheerful exuberance, but don’t worry, they forgave me. I teased one of my co-workers about his shirt (he wears the funniest button-up shirts with crazy things on them) having brightly colored avocados all over it. I told his GF who was sitting with him, that I just know that if I ever encounter a shirt that matches his style I will just have to buy it because he is the only person I know that would wear them the way they deserve to be worn.
I walked out to my location and my “boys” were all there. Marcus, who is a high-school kid, has been moved to only 1 day a week, since school re-started and so, was scheduled for his first day as a 8 hour shift, most of his previous were 4 hour shifts (like Alex, who is my recently graduated kid). Marcus always gets surprised looks because he looks like he’s in his twenties and Alex is the one who looks like a high-schooler. Marcus was scheduled to work from 8:30-5 with me and Alex was only scheduled until 4. This got a lot of teasing as he arrived after Marcus and would be leaving before him as well. Marcus is easy-going and they all get alone pretty well. Today was the 1st day of working as a cart-pusher for our new kid Noah. Noah worked for the company that does taste-testing in the store but, because of the pandemic, has been helping with the cart sanitizing and apparently, so I have been told, came to quite like the idea of working on my team as one of my “boys” .
Since this day was his “first day” we all had plans for him. (muhahahah!) We initiate all our new kids the same way. It’s a ton of fun and as the latest “victim” of this prank, Alex was very excited to be part of the “getting” instead of the “being got” part of this endeavor. I’m sure Noah wondered why we all seemed to be at the entrance to the cart area, whenever he brought in carts, might even have thought we were all being a bit too “chatty” grouping together this often, but really, nobody wanted to miss out on the prank.
We had a few near-miss moments waiting for the “perfect” set-up, but finally it came. Noah pushed the carts in and we immediately pushed our carts in behind him, blocking him into the center of the cart-line. He was very confused, which is the best part really! We laughed and welcomed him into our group and informed him that this made him “official” as a cart guy. He finally understood and blushed.
The day was really a busy one, but with soo much help it didn’t sting very badly. I did get a few strange moments and near-misses in the parking-lot (as always with people who don’t seem to know what the rear-view mirror in their car is meant for or who assume all Stop-signs are merely helpful suggestions.)
The funniest moment was having a woman comment that she had thought a “strong young man” would be helping her get her heavy items loaded into her car and having my “boys” all glance at me nervously waiting for me to explode. I didn’t, but it is one of my biggest pet peeves working in carts. I just smiled and informed her that these “young boys” would probably get into trouble without me there to keep them on task. I wasn’t joking either!
People always see cart-pushing as a job for young teen boys, but, to be honest, those teens are very unproductive if left to their own devices, since they are “after all” still young. I like to think I am their first experience with an adult leader and that means I have the opportunity to inspire them to a lifetime of hard-work and proper respect for themselves. They see me working my butt off and still managing to have a laugh or two in my day, and this (I hope) teaches them the way of it.
Anyhow, it was fun and the added support made for an enjoyable work environment for the day. I really think people are happiest and do the best job, when they have others around them to talk to and ask advice. When you are out there by yourself with no visible assistance every working moment can feel like a strain, that same environment becomes somewhat festive with more people, it just is, and more gets done because they unconsciously lean towards assisting each other when any situations crop up. by the time Marcus left at 5 I was pretty well done with the carts for the day. It had slowed down dramatically and all my carts were in by 90% by the time closing rolled around. I gave a satisfied sigh and my manager, who was checking the parking-lot noticed and asked how my day had gone. I told him all the best bits and smiled at him, “those kids make my day feel lighter just by their being in it, but don’t tell them, I want them to work hard and fear me slightly.” he laughed and said “pretty sure they aren’t fooled” well damn!
I ended the day by getting a Lyft home and the driver turned out to be one that I’ve chatted with during a ride before. He said he knew immediately that it was me when it gave the location and that he took it because I was a good passenger. I assumed he meant I talk a lot and often tip well. (hah!)
It was a lovely day and I felt really happy coming home. Today also marked the 1 year mark for having my own apartment. Best days are always unexpected, which is why they are so very lovely.