A convenience store geography lesson

aka: count your blessings before they’re hatched


I had to work this weekend, and it was a crazy-busy one. Everyone had to stock up on their “holy shit, we’re gonna get 20 inches of snow!!!!” liquor. It was like they’d never seen snow before. Or liquor.

This one guy who’d just moved up here from Florida was bitching about the cold on Saturday. And I do mean bitching. I don’t understand it, personally. I mean, yeah, it was -4 degrees (F) outside, but come on! He was going on about it like it was a surprising thing. Moving to Maine and being surprised about the temperature being -4 is tantamount to moving to Florida and being surprised at seeing a scorpion or three in your backyard. (My mother-in-law spent some time in Florida and loves to regale us with scorpion tales.)

Still, I wanted to cheer the guy up, so I said, “Cheer up!”


“Well, look at the bright side. At least we don’t have any scorpions up here in Maine.”

“I suppose so,” he said, not looking too cheered up.

“Or any tarantulas.”


“That’s right. Tarantulas. Texas is crawling with them.”


“No rattlesnakes up here either.”

He didn’t ask me which region of our great land is infested with rattlesnakes, and I was glad. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure. I just know that in True Grit, a movie I first saw at the age of nine, Mattie fell into a pit of rattlesnakes and it made a big impression on me. By “big impression”, of course, I mean “instilled within me a great and abiding fear of rattlesnakes”, and it’s a source of neverending relief for me that Maine is rattlesnake-free.

“Mosquitoes and snow. That’s what we’ve got,” I concluded, because I could see that he was getting a little tired of my geography lesson.

“And coffee brandy,” he answered, getting back down to business.

Yep. Coffee brandy. Maine’s got plenty of that.

10 thoughts on “A convenience store geography lesson

  1. But do you have roaches 2″ and 3″ long? Technically, they’re palmetto bugs and they’re common all along the Gulf Coast.

    I hear ya, though. It makes you wonder what people are thinking when they move to a place and then act unpleasantly surprised at the most common things. Hot and humid on the Gulf Coast? Dry in Arizona? Cold in the midwest and far north? Say it isn’t so!

  2. I’ll take the cold any time. I think we all take easier the climates and crawly creatures that we’re used to, that we grew up with.

  3. That is a great image – everyone running around stocking up on liquor for the snow. People are so crazy!

    When my relatives from Baltimore would visit us in Boston they would constantly complain about the cold. “How can you stand it? It’s horrible up here! Who would want to live here?”

    I’d ask my mom, “Mom, remind me again why you invite them to visit? And please reassure me that I have none of their genes.”


  5. Rattlesnakes = Utah. (Saw quite a few of them, growing up there.) Anywhere desertish probably has rattlesnakes by the boatload. Which probably says you shouldn’t go to Texas. Rattlesnakes, tarantulas, scorpions, cockroaches, hurricanes, AND tornadoes. No thanks.

    Rattlesnakes, I can live with; they might be venomous, but they don’t make a habit of biting people, and they’ll generally warn you if you’re close enough to piss them off. I think I’ll take cold temperatures if it means I’m free of hurricanes and cockroaches. Give me -4 over those things any day.

    Speaking of which, that’s a bit on the nippy side. Over here in eastern Washington state, we’ve been getting hammered with snow and cold, but not quite that cold. Got down to -1 over the weekend, but that’s pretty darn rare. We’ll see 20s, but not usually negative numbers, or even single digits.

    Holy cow! Just checked the temp on the Web, and it’s -5 right now where I live. And I have to walk a half mile home in that! Drink some alcohol for me. 🙂

  6. Here, not rattlesnakes. Cottonmouths/water moccasins.

    And mosquitoes.

    And cold/dry winters with snow and ice.

    And tornadoes March to October.

    And sauna conditions June to September.

    You know what I hated about working in a convenience store? The people who browsed. Now, c’mon. If you walk into a little snack shop between two humongous gas pump islands and there is exactly 250 square feet of merchandise, WHY must you browse?


    In a teensy convenience store.

  7. This is what happens when you work extra shifts…you fall behind on responding to blog comments…

    @BG – ick!! No palmetto bugs either. Thank God.

    @CL – exactly. We do get hurricanes here from time to time, but not that often and they’re not usually too bad.

    @Lori – true. Better the evil you know, right?

    @KC – WOW! Thanks a bunch! 😀

    @Robin – Your Baltimore relatives wouldn’t survive up here if they think Boston is cold. 😉

    @OD – I think I’ll take my winter wonderland above your rattlesnakes any day. 😉

    @PMAP – that’s right…you guys get lots of rain, not snow.

    @Ing – that’s a big 10-4. I’ll get on it right away. 😀

    @ MoJo – we get lots of browsers. Usually it’s the stoners trying to figure out if they want to satsify their munchies with candy bars or Little Debbies. I always suggest Little Debbies. You can buy two Swiss Cake Rolls for the price of one bag of M-n-M’s.

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