Human Touch


I believe I’ve told you about my co-worker, “E.” To refresh your memory, she’s the chick who is much cuter than I am and once drank Shirley Temples with me on a particularly slow graveyard shift. We switched shifts yesterday (her three-to-eleven for my graveyard) so she could go out with some buddies.

To be honest, I was looking forward to this. It had been awhile since I’d had any contact with Daytime Customers*. People who–more often than not–wear their pants in public and aren’t [yet] too stoned to remember what they came in for. (Hint: it’s probably something sweet.) Alas, I was destined for disappointment. The place was busy, alright, and all of my customers were wearing pants. As far as I could tell none of them were stoned. But the majority of them didn’t come into the store. Most of them were only there for pay-at-the-pump fuel.

I’m not anti-technology. Obviously I own a computer with internet access (high speed wireless DSL…that’s right, we’ve got that up here in the boonies). I have an iPod, Tivo (or something like it, anyway…I can’t remember what it’s called at the moment), and a cool thingamajig button on my keychain that pops my trunk open for me so I can put my groceries inside it with the greatest of ease. But I’ll tell ya, I felt a little disconnected from the world as I stood there, caged up at that lonely, rural convenience store, watching lines of people get out of their cars, pump their gas, then get right back in again and drive away. Most of them didn’t even bother to look into the store window to see if anyone was there. And it made me long for the old fashioned pump-your-fuel-then-walk-your-ass-into-the-store-to-pay-for-it pumps.

The few customers who braved a trip inside were greeted with a hearty smile and an enthusiastic “Howdy!” It took all of my self-control not to follow them as they browsed the aisles, just for the chance at a little bit of conversation. They all left the store with a heartfelt “Come again soon!!!!” ringing in their ears. And when “E” finally arrived at ten-thirty I actually hugged her. Poor girl. She probably thought I was stoned.

Speaking of stoned (yes…seriously) Chapter 21 of Waiting for Spring is up at Readers and Writers Blog along with Chapter 33: Scenic Hills of Gerard Jones’ Ginny Good. There’s also some brand-spanking-new poetry posted by two poets; Nancy Allen and my buddy Joel Phipps. Check ’em out! You won’t be sorry.

*Saturday morning customers don’t count. They’re usually cranky or hungover, or both.

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About R.J. Keller

R. J. Keller is the author of Waiting For Spring. An avid independent movie enthusiast, she was Managing Editor of The Movie Fanatic website and created episodes of the writer-centric YouTube series, Inside The Writers' Studio, with author Kristen Tsetsi. She co-hosted Book Chatter with Stacey Cochran from 2011-2014. She lives in Central Maine with her family, where she enjoys gardening, collecting geeky memorabilia, and watching other people cook. View all posts by R.J. Keller

4 responses to “Human Touch

  • Zoe Winters

    LMAO I love the way “they were wearing pants” is now a classification category for customers.

  • Kimberly

    I have been guilty of following people, just to strike up conversations.

  • Jaden @ Screenwriting for Hollywood

    You are so funny!!!

    Now I know why some clerks are so friendly: boredom. It was a mystery to me.

    This one woman who works at the grocer near me, she is there night and day, no matter what time I come, works the craziest longest shifts, and she is always hilarious and friendly; we always get in her line, no matter how long it is. Those kind of people just amaze me. Love that lady. She tells us all about her daily gambling habit, which shows in the dark circles under her eyes sometimes. She also makes fun of my hair. She holds nothing back and I love her for it.

    I am so glad you took this job. It is great to get a writer’s perspective.

  • Jen O

    Man, work would be SO much better if we didn’t wear pants.

    (I’m going to have to bring this up in my next review…)

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