The knives

My time at the department store might be coming to a close, and I’ve barely told you anything about it in a month and a half. It’s really not so bad, and I do hope they keep me on after the holidays.

The, ahem, good news is, my chances of being kept on may have been increased due to some unfortunate circumstances. When I started, the home department at the store had two full time employees; now they have zero. My second day, I was supposed to work with a guy named Richard, who called off because he wasn’t feeling well. He wasn’t messing around, because he died shortly after. I never met him. He was an older guy, and he had a stroke but never went to the hospital to be treated. Apparently that can kill you.

Secondly, my favorite co-worker worked his last day this weekend. He’s transferring to a store out west to be with his sick mother. His name was Kelly and he was easily the most interesting person I worked with and he became my favorite right away. Also, I didn’t know it was his last day when it was, so I didn’t get to say goodbye. I should have known something was up when he told us to make sure we got some of the cake someone made for him.

And so, maybe the departure of the two men working in the department will make way for me to get some post-holiday hours in; we’ll see.

The thing I will miss most about Kelly is his superior knowledge of The Knives.

The home department’s checkout counter is directly in front of a huge display of high end, behind-glass German and Japanese knives. I try to forget the giant display of angry death is there, but gosh darn it if customers don’t keep asking pesky questions about them. I’ve almost made a point to learn as little about the knives as possible, always happy to give another sales associate a potential big sale. Kelly was all too willing to oblige, and knew more than anyone about the brands and their differences. The thing is, it’s always some surly looking guy shopping alone who wants me to unlock some terrifyingly large knife from the case so he can “take a closer look.” I’m always convinced I’m about to be stabbed to death with an 8 inch steak knife at the hands of some customer who’s angry about a coupon not working and finally snaps in the middle of the store. At any moment, you guys.

If anyone does stab me, it’s going to be for not knowing anything about the knives.

Other than that, I still kind of enjoy retail. Working alone is boring, but on weekends when there’s a lot of people working alongside you and you’re steadily busy — those are good days. I have a feeling they’ll be few and far between after the holidays, but for now I’m happy. Not to mention grateful to be somewhat employed.

Tomorrow is my first day off in five days. I’m spending it by finishing my Christmas shopping (mostly just for the roommates at this point — pretty excited about my plans for them), job hunting, mailing out the last of my Christmas cards and doing laundry. Again, my world is small, but I’m getting by.

My aunt and oldest cousin are coming to visit during the days after Christmas, so I am really looking forward to seeing them. My aunt’s mom has invited me to have dinner with her family on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, to distract me from not being with my family, my roommates and I are going to the Lincoln Park Zoo. Because it’s open. And free. There will be pigmy hippos, and this is all I know for sure.