Missing old, crappy shit


Not literally. Because literal shit is yucky.

Back when I used to blog here a lot, I wrote chiefly about the experiences I had working graveyard shift at the convenience store down the road. The truth is I really hated that job. As much as I tried to shine that shit up into gold…Jesus, I hated it.

I hated waking up when it was dark and heading into work.

I hated falling asleep just as the sun was coming up.

I hated the phone calls that would wake me up at 10am.

And I hated the store itself, really. The place was about 25 years old and falling apart, because the corporate office didn’t think the store in Shitberg Boonies, Maine was worth fixing up. The walls by the sink were moldy. The windows were drafty. The floors were so stained that they never looked clean, even when I bothered to mop them. And the freezer was always acting up. I can’t count how many times we had to spoil literally thousands of dollars worth of food (including Ben and Jerrys ice cream!!!!!) because it just decided it didn’t feel like working. Much like me and the floor mopping thing.

Well, the freezer didn’t actually decide not to work. The poor thing was just neglected. My boss called the main office to complain about it all the time, begging them to pay for a professional to look at it and figure out what the hell was wrong with it. The last time he did this was three days before the store burned to the ground. The culprit? That’s right.

Faulty wiring. In the freezer. Fucktards.

That was about two-and-a-half years ago. Since then I quit my day job to write full time (a topic for another blog on another day) and the store has been rebuilt. Well, a new store has been built on the same site. I go there as a customer several times a week and it’s a great looking store. Brand spanking new with freshly painted, non-moldy walls, air-tight windows, and bright, shiny floors. And freezers that work perfectly.

But, honestly, I find myself missing the old store. It was half the size and falling apart, but it had character. It was homey. Customers hung out there to chat. Now they’re – that is to say we’re – just in and out. It’s way too bright and almost too big and looks and feels like any other one-stop store in any other town. Don’t get me wrong, the cashiers are still really nice. One of them literally gave me the ice scraper out of his car a few weeks ago when I complained about not being able to find mine. But it isn’t the same.

If missing a moldy, drafty, dirty store doesn’t make me old, I don’t know what does.

About R.J. Keller

R. J. Keller is the author of the novel Waiting For Spring and the co-host of Book Chatter with Stacey Cochran, an internet talk show that features interviews with authors and publishing professionals. An avid independent movie enthusiast, she was Managing Editor of The Movie Fanatic website and currently writes, shoots, and edits episodes of the writer-centric YouTube show, Inside The Writers' Studio, with author Kristen Tsetsi. View all posts by R.J. Keller

5 responses to “Missing old, crappy shit

  • Tracy Lucas

    I can relate to this, so if you’re old and sad, so am I. A best friend of mine used to work at (which, at a gas station, means run alone into all hours of the night, face all the late-evening scary people, and make all the decisions but not get paid as a manager) a Fast Stop BP here in my own bonefuck town. I’d sit there just to hang out in the whole one rickety, creaking booth they had, which was also falling apart, and chat about boys, work, life, and of course, hot musicians and actors until three or four in the morning. There were adventures unnumbered, and some unrepeatable. The place smelled funny, was full of holes, and never quite felt safe, but it was a home of mine in an important time.

    Which is to say, you got to me here.
    And welcome back.

  • Pam from the 'Box

    At least you had people to talk to. I worked 10:30pm-7:00am Sunday through Thursday, cleaning a tennis club. One other worker who stayed on the other side of the building. We saw each other in passing when we came in and went home. No amount of scrubbing made those bathroom stalls any shinier, they were just old & out of date. Hated that job.

  • R.J. Keller

    Hey Tracy! It seems the best memories involve smelly, holey places. And unrepeatable adventures. ;)

  • R.J. Keller

    Pam, I worked for a cleaning company a looooonnnnng time ago and you’re so right about the loneliness factor. Ugh.

  • testdomain

    I like the helpful info you provide as part of your articles.

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