The Casual Observations of the Human Condition

Caution, politically smarmy.
JANUARY 1, 2012 6:24PM

After Dark, Week 18

Rate: 5 Flag


Ah, a day off. When I left the station I had tried a trick of drinking hot chocolate before I went to bed and boy did it work. I slept until 2 in the afternoon. I had plans for tomorrow so I spent the rest of the day taking care of this and that and was going to bed early so I could get a jump on tomorrow. And then the phone rang.

Amy called, she said she was having a family crisis and wondered if I would cover for her. I should have told her no. I should have pointed out that I hadn't had two full days off since Thanksgiving and even then I had to make a 900 mile round trip. I should have said a lot of things but she sounded kind of stressed so I said I would do it. Yes I'm a pushover, plus it is overtime pay.

It was payday and I had forgotten to go get my check but it didn't matter now since I was going to have to go to work. I got cleaned up and ate a quick dinner and then it was off. When I got there they said "You're early" to which I replied that I was two days early. I counted in the drawer and started working, I didn't count the smokes yet since P of the afternoon shift was working the register at the rack and I just didn't want to deal with her.

V asked me where Amy was and I said she was having a family crisis and I was covering the shift. She was kind of surprised because she thought I was there to cover for Diane, who had called earlier and asked V to cover for a couple of hours. V had said no since she had to go to her second job tonight. I think P was ticked off because nobody had called her, at all. Diane finally showed up, P left and we started working.

The last time I worked with Diane, last night, she ticked me off by disappearing while I was counting in the cigarettes so I left them for her tonight. I know she hates doing it and normally I don't mind but my third week of 6 days in a row and I was getting edgy. But at least I was nice and waited on all the customers while she got the job done.

The first customers of the night were a couple of truck drivers hauling a load of hay to Texas. It seems they had a bit of trouble when they came through the port, they were around 6000 pounds overweight. Since each bale weighs around a ton they needed to off load three and store them, but it takes a heavy duty tractor with a fork lift attachment on the front to get the job done and I didn't know anyone in town who could help them. After a few calls to a few companies, and no luck I finally was able to put them in touch with a guy, who told them to call another guy, who finally gave them the idea of contacting a tow truck with a large flatbed hauler and a heavy duty wench. They called the guy and he came out and helped them, but probably not for free. Three hours later they were within compliance and were on their way, but they still had to come back tomorrow and get the other three bales.

Sure enough, the pumps were running slow agian and people were not happy again and there was nothing I could do, agian. I wasn't even suppose to be there. (a little tribute to the movie Clerks)

A guy came in and asked "do you have any women around here?" I asked "what?" to be sure I heard him correctly. He repeated the same question, I was wondering if he was looking for a little late night companionship for a half hour but he was wondering if he could use the women's restroom since the men's was occupied and he really had to go. I told him it was clear and he ran in to do his business. 

With a fill up the company gives free coffee. All night long I tell people "no charge" and they always ask if I am sure. It's just like giving directions, I have to tell them three times before the get the message. And sure enough a guy came in and asked directions. I had to tell him the same thing three times before he figured out that I was speaking English and was telling him to head straight east. I think in the future I am going to answer in French the first two times since they aren't really listening.

Then the penny guy showed up. He had a sad story about losing his wallet, and his debit card, and all he had was pennies. He had gone to the other station in town but they told him they wouldn't take them so he had come here. I felt sorry for the guy and I had nothing better to do so I had him dump them out and I counted them up. In the end he had four dollars in pennies, two dollars in other coins and two dollars in Eisenhower coins. I prepaid the pump for him and then put two bucks in the register and the Eisenhower coins in my pocket. Sure they are worth a whole $2 but they are cool.

I then spent the better part of the next half hour rolling coins. The morning crew wasn't going to be happy with me because I couldn't drop them in the safe so I was going to have to leave them in the drawer. When the owner shows up they can sell them to him and he can load up the drop slots but till then they were stuck with them.

The end of the night rolled around and I finished my third week of covering for Amy on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. I went straight home and straight to sleep. 

Found money 10 cents, a 1963 penny and the two Eisenhower dollars.

And between all the overtime plus a Christmas bonus I made an extra weeks pay this time around. I wish my check was this big all the time. 


 Slept in, took care of a few things and just relaxed. And then around 8 pm the phone rang. I know what you are thinking but this time I just let it ring. I don't care if someone has a family crisis. I don't care if their house burned down. I don't care if they got their arm caught in a thrasher and had to be rushed to the emergency room. OK I would care but I am not going to work tonight. And that's that.


I'm not looking forward to work tonight. Schools are getting out and some people are taking a full week off for Christmas. This means we will be busy all night long. Oh boy.

Somehow I showed up at work first, how did that happen? Diane showed up at 10 and Amy came rolling in late, agian, at 10:30. What this meant was I ended up stuck on the register all night long again. Diane did her usual and disappeared and Amy didn't want to run a register she wasn't logged on to. I'm getting tired of this, wasn't V on the afternoon shift suppose to quit by now? Anyhow...

The night started off with a state police officer telling me all about an accident he had just come from. It seems some guy was driving down the highway when he saw a deer on the side of the road. He changed lanes to avoid it but the deer jumped in front of him anyhow. The officer explained that deer are frightened by their shadows suddenly going behind them as your headlights pass so they jump forward. Anyhow the deer jumped early and went under the guys car, he was OK but his frame was beat to heck and the deer, well it was kind of ground by the wheels and sanded down by the highway, bits and chunks were all that was left. I guess it was quite the messy accident but at least the guy didn't crash.

There was something good about tonight, the slushy machine died. OK that sounds like a bad thing but here's what happened, the mixer locked up and the machine turned into a solid block of strawberry/kiwi ice. They had to replace it and now we have cherry slushies! This is good for me because I like to put a little in the bottom of a cup and mix it with Coke, for a really great Cherry Cola. We have Cherry Coke in the fountain machine but it's just a little too tart for me and this is a lot better. Yes I was happy and drank way too much by the end of the night.

By midnight I had dropped $500 in cash into the safe. A half hour later I dropped another $300 and at 1:30 I dropped another $400. By the end of the night I had dropped over $1700 in cash. I made the comment out loud and some customer joked "this is a stick up" I told him he was way too late and all the money was in the safe, better luck next time.

At 2 AM the place cleared out so I figured maybe I could do a little side work for a change of pace. Diane was doing the usual scrub down of the restroom, which pissed off the mob of people trying to use the place, and Amy had gone in the cooler and didn't come out for two hours. Sure enough, I managed to put out a few packs of gum and here came the crowd again. In the end it was my only break of the night.

I did have a laugh. People come in and ask for the restroom without even looking around. I am always tempted to say "go to the restroom sign and turn right" but I don't. Tonight I heard a new one, a guy came in and asked "Can I go to the bathroom?" I was tempted to say "Well not right here" but I didn't, instead I pointed to the restroom. But some day...

At 5 AM Diane finished cleaning and told me to close out my register, it was rather slow at the time. So I counted down my drawer, got my shift report and then a crowd showed up. The place was packed and there wasn't much I could do, my register was closed. I bagged stuff for her but she had to wait on everyone for the next hour. Finally the crowd left and the morning shift woman showed up. Everybody clocked out and I got to hang around, the hippie was late, again. It turns out he had taken Friday off and spent three days hanging out at an Indian casino. If that guy doesn't have enough troubles in his life he doesn't need to add a gambling addiction to the list. Oh well, I got to go home after a busy night.

Found money $2.20


Normally people all travel on Friday night and Saturday night is quiet. Not this week. The pre holiday traffic continued, all night long. 

Two miracles happened tonight. First P from the afternoon left change in her drawer. I guess my tantrum from a couple of weeks ago worked, or maybe someone said something about the note I left. Either way I could open my shift without having to make a drop to start the night. The second miracle was Amy showed up at 10. Seriously, I think it's the first time she did that since she started. Maybe someone said something to her about her constant tardiness.

It was an odd night money wise. Half my customers paid with dollar bills and the other with hundred dollar bills. My fives and tens were gone right away and I spent the rest of the night dropping bills from the safe. Every time I would think I was finally catching up "bam" in would come another large bill and wipe me out.

I did laugh at a 14 year old girl. She was standing with her family while her mother looked at gloves and her father was checking out the sunglasses. Just then some college guy walked in and you could see her eyes light up. She was instantly in love and there was no subtlety to her watching him at all. I feel sorry for her father over the next 6 years.

Some guy came in and made a suggestion that we take pictures of all the weirdos and then put them up on the wall. He went on and on about those hippies begging for change on the side of the road, beating on their drums and needing a bath.  He said we could then have the customers vote and pick the weirdo of the week. I was tempted to get my camera and ask him to pose. I didn't.

Some grouchy guy came in and was complaining about prices and how long things were taking. I was waiting for him to dump all over me but instead he took it out on one of his travel companions. I don't know where they were going but I am glad I wasn't in that car. Just from the looks on everyone's face I could tell they had about enough of him.

Amy did the mopping and was really getting frustrated with people walking on the wet spots. She finally finished and was running her register when some guy dumped a full cup of blue slushy right in front of her, it went everywhere. She had to clean the counter and remop the floor. I could tell she wasn't happy but at least she didn't yell at the guy. I was proud of her.

Are all mothers the same? Some kid was throwing a tantrum over not getting any candy and his mother walked to the door and started counting extra loud. 1.....2...... she never said three but there was a long pause so she didn't have to. The kid stomped out the door. There was another car I'm glad I wasn't in. 

Since it was a busy night and since Amy and I tag teamed the register the night flew by. The morning shift showed up on time and I got to go home right away.  All in all not a bad night.

Found money $20.45. $19 came from one customer, they had prepaid for $60 in gas. When I checked the register they had pumped $41 dollars and drove off. I figured they thought they paid for $40 and were getting away with an extra dollar. In the end they left me a rather substantial tip.


Can it be? Two days in a row? Amy came in on time again, heck she came in a little early. Something is going to happen.

Things started off on a high note, both V and P of the afternoon shift were hanging around. V was talking to Amy and P was slowly counting down her drawer, which the manager hates because P is milking the clock. Well P reaches over and puts a time card in the clock, but it wasn't hers, she had clocked out V. When V went to clock out the look on her face was priceless, I was trying to figure out if I was outside the blood splatter zone. After they left V texted Amy for about an hour, she was that mad. Basically the message is that the next time P touches her card fingers will be lost. I smell a fight coming. V also commented that P had left with a truck driver in the middle of the day, if the manager finds out P will be given her walking papers and I can move up to the afternoon shift. Oh I hope things get out of hand.

Some guy was walking around the station in a black curly wig. Why? I don't know. His straight blond hair was sticking out the back, I don't think he realized it. If he was going for a reaction he picked the wrong place because in the long run that was a pretty normal look compared to what I have seen. Heck he should come in when J (the cross dresser) is in the building.

Amy was waiting on a guy who was almost pounding his pin number into the pad. He was wasting his time because the machine won't work until everything is totalled up. She told him to enter his pin number which he did, rather angrily again, and then less than a second he hit the cancel button and stormed out. Waiting 5 seconds was too much for him. Thankfully he didn't say anything because I would have had to dive in and kindly but forcefully ask him to leave.

I went and checked the restrooms and the womens was low on paper. Nobody was in the building at the time so I figured I would do the job quickly. I got the paper and the keys and here they came. I kid you not, an hour later Amy went in and did the job, I wasn't able to get anywhere near the restroom for the rest of the night.

I was worried what was going to happen when the computer did it's weekly cycling. If there was a crowd in the building they weren't going to be happy when they had to wait while it rebooted itself. Miracle of miracles the crowd cleared out, the computer did it's thing and then when it was done people started coming in again. I was pretty happy about that.

The weather report was predicting 100% chance of snow and the satellite map had a big green blob that was moving closer all night long. I was hoping it would hold off until I went home. They were saying it was going to be a big one. 

We give free coffee with a tank of gas so when a customer gets a cup I always ask if they had fuel. I asked one guy and he said no so I charged him for his coffee. He then asked if he could have a receipt for the pump he had just filled up on. Oh well, his loss. Seriously, did he not understand the question?

Amy was mopping the floor and then next guy seemed to go out of his way to walk on her floor. She was extra pissed that night, someone had come in and gave her a hard time about her psycho ex boyfriend so to defuse the tension I charged the guy for his coffee. I told her about my "rude tax" policy which made her smile. Although I hate to say it but shes been extra moody all week and is getting on my nerves. Is it Wednesday yet?

At 4:30 the big green blob on the satellite map was all around the area. By 5 the wind started to blow and at 5:30 wet flakes were smacking into the windows. I was hoping the big storm would hold off for another hour. Please.

I decided after Saturday mornings rush I would put off counting out my drawer until 5:30 and that way I wouldn't leave Amy hanging by herself. Thing seemed rather slow so I went ahead and closed out my register and did my paperwork. Bam, almost instantly people started showing up and Amy had to handle them all. Just as quickly as they came in they all left and we were dead right at the shift change. The hippie showed up on time so I could go home. The wind had died down and it had stopped snowing but there were clouds everywhere and cars were plastered with chunks of ice so no matter what it was coming but at least I could get home before it hit. I joked with the manager that if the power went out could I take the night off. She said to show up with a flashlight, I added "and a big coat" since the heater would be off too. I wasn't looking forward to tonight but I was glad to be going home.

Found money, 31 cents


Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful...what do you mean I have to go to work?

The blizzard had struck. There were snow drifts everywhere and it was still coming down. Thank goodness for four wheel drive. As I drove by the freeway I could see the flashing lights announcing the roads were closed in all directions and by the truck stop there was a state cop sitting in his car by a Road Closed sign turning back goofy tourists.

When I got to work I didn't attempt to pull around back since there were drifts everywhere and several stranded semis parked along the building. Instead I pulled in to the #2 pump, which has been out of order longer than I have worked there. I hiked through the drifts in the front and arrived at work, alive. The afternoon shift were glad to get out of there, they told me they had done $200 worth of business. 

An interesting thing, the hippie has been talking about moving to Albuquerque, the afternoon shift were all happy about the news. I told them that as long as I had known the guy he had talked about moving, and going to college, and starting his own business, so there was use holding their breath. As best I can tell he isn't going anywhere.

Diane showed up and tried to park on the side of the building, and almost got stuck. She came in and I told her that she should have done like me and parked at an out of order pump so she went out and moved her car. When V on the afternoon shift went to leave she backed into a drift and had to be pulled out. I wished them luck on getting home and told them to drive slowly and steer clear of the drifts.

Between 10 and 11 I had four customers, mostly stoner goofballs who couldn't live without gummy worms and beef jerky. One group got stuck and had to be pulled out of a drift. And people want to legalize marijuana.

I decided that since we were stuck at work and there wasn't going to be any real customers it would be a good night to clean the candy racks and got to work. For the next two hours I pulled candy off the racks, wiped them down and then put the candy back, it has to go in the same spot since that is how the manager does the ordering. I manged to kill two hours.

At one I decided to take apart the cappuccino machine and clean it. I couldn't believe it, just as I had the whole thing torn down and was soaking the parts in the sink some woman came in and wanted hot chocolate. The only person in three hours to want anything and it was just as I started cleaning the machine, do they plan this in advance?

It turns out the woman had been sitting out on the edge of the lot waiting for the road to open, she had been there since at least 2 in the afternoon. Diane told her that the road probably wouldn't open until some time in the afternoon. The woman replied that it wasn't snowing anymore so they should open the road, seriously, she was barely able to walk across the lot due to the drifts and the blowing snow but she thought she could drive down the highway. I figured for the amount of gas she wasted keeping her car warm she could have rented a motel room for the night. Some people.

The wind started whipping and there was a near whiteout. The lights in the building started flikering and I got nervous so I dug the flashlight out of the drawer in case the power went out. Just then a customer came in, what the heck was this person doing out so late? I figured he was gassing up for tomorrow and checking to see if the road was still closed, he could have just called the highway department. I hope he didn't check out of his motel room.

About three a tow truck driver came in. He hit a drift and started to spin sideways, and he was in one of those large heavy duty flatbed tow trucks so that tells you how slick the roads are. I don't know if he was on his way to a call or just getting ready to pull cars out of the ditches tomorrow but either way he headed back into town. 

At 4 the plow drivers came in.They said they had managed to get to the top of the mountain but the Colorado crews hadn't even started yet so the north bound lanes wouldn't be open until well after noon. They were also working on the southern highway but it was going to take a long time and somewhere out there was a blade driver who had gone off the road. He had radioed in and had enough fuel to keep the engine running and warm but wasn't sure exactly where he was and they weren't going to be able to rescue him until after sunrise. And the eastbound highway was going to have to wait, the woman waiting for the road to open was out of luck and really should have gotten a room. We gave them free coffee and they accidentally dropped their blades as they drove through the lot, cutting a clear path around the building.

At 5 am the manager  showed up, she decided to come to work and let us go home an hour early. She had left her house earlier but got stuck in a drift and had to rock her way out so it took her a half hour longer than she planned. We gave her the news about the roads and then I went home. I drove extra slow just to make sure I didn't spin off and get stuck. I fed the horses and the cats, who were extra glad to see me and then off to bed.

Found money 15 cents. 

On a side note, it seemed some family worked their way around a roadblock and tried to drive down the highway. They got off the road and stuck, but managed to make a call for help. In the morning when the road crew was finally able to get to them their mini van was buried in an 8 foot drift. They were on the verge of hypothermia and the mother wound up with pnumonia and a trip to the hospital. If you see a road closed sign, it means the road is closed! 


The weather outside is still frightful. And I still have to go to work. It's going to be another fun night.

When I got to work I was surprised to see the station owner's truck there, something was going on. I walked in the building and there were computer parts all over the counter. It seems one of the computer's fans had burned out and crashed the system. He had done an emergency repair and got the system back up but there were strange error messages popping up. The afternoon shift managed to log off and I was able to get into the drawer but then the system really went nuts. There were error message popping up like crazy and the cursor was running all over the screen by itself. I tried to ring in a guy but I couldn't total out. I finally forgave the guy and he had to leave without his purchases. I planned on just running out of the drawer with the calculator but the owner decided to turn off the computer since the second register was mostly working. This meant Diane was going to have to work a register tonight.

About 11 her error messages all cleared out so I rebooted the first register. Although I still got the occasional error message and couldn't do a prepay on the # 4 pump. I was on the register for the rest of the night. And what a fun night it was.

The north/south highway was finally open and people were trying to make up for being stuck yesterday. But, they were really pissed when they discovered the east bound road was still closed. They had managed to get it open for a couple of hours, just long enough for the crazy woman who had hung out all night to head to Texas, but they had to close it back down after dark. The wind and kicked up and blown drifts across the road, plus it had iced over. It was just too dangerous to travel. 

People came in all night and wanted to know why the road was closed, hello do you not see all the snow? They also wanted to know an alternate route. I gave them the quickest directions to interstate 40 that runs into Amarillo but nobody was happy about having to make a 90 mile detour, I didn't tell them that it was an additional 50 miles until they hit the interstate but they weren't going to find that out until they got there.

Some truck driver came in and was complaining that we didn't have any decaf brewed. In all the time I have worked there he was only the second person to ask which is why we don't waste a full pot at night. He then complained that there were two trucks parked at the pumps, the two drivers were in the building and told him as soon as they had their trailers switched they would be on their way. He then asked if we took his fleet card, which we didn't. It just wasn't his night. He decided to leave but his attitude really ticked off the other drivers so they took their time and he was stuck there for an extra half hour. He just wasn't having a good night.

Two guys came and were whining and cursing about the closed road. I gave them the alternate route but they weren't happy about that. They weren't happy about the prices of thing and that they had to pay a sales tax. I was growing tired of listening to them and was glad when they left, and wasn't happy when they came back in. Their battery was dead and they needed a jump start. You'll be proud of me because I gave them a hand, it wasn't me channeling my inner Boy Scout, it was because I didn't want them hanging around and whining anymore. I was glad when their engine fired up and they left.

I don't understand people. All night long people would see someone pull up to the road block and ask the officer about the closed road, turn around and go the other way. Then they would pull up, ask the officer about the closed road, turn around and go the other way. Didn't they see the car right in front of them?

Early in the morning a family came in. The mother didn't seem like she was the most pleasant of people and when the father left the sleeping daughter in the car the mother went off. She was just being nasty about it. I felt sorry for the guy, maybe she was a different person when they met but they were not a happy couple.

At 5:30 a whole line of people showed up at the road block. They lined up like it was about to open even though the information was it wouldn't open until noon at the earliest. I just don't understand people, there are a half dozen ways to check road conditions in the modern world, don't they do this before they set out?

Finally the manager and the morning shift woman showed up. Today they came on time so I had to stick around until 6. My street is just passed the road block and I considered driving down that way since the officer would waive me passed, which would tick off the people waiting, but I didn't want to cause him to have to tell a whole line of people that the road was still closed except to local traffic, so I went around the block instead. Why they set up before my street is beyond me.

Home, horses fed, cats fed and to bed. I don't have to go to work for a full two day and I am going to enjoy it. I need the break.

Found money $1.63 




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Crazy weather! I hope you enjoyed your two days off, and that you had a wonderful time during the holidays. Happy 2012!
The graveyard shifts suck your life so keep well.