Thursday, July 5, 2012


A quick note before you get into the meat of this post: I do love my job, and I do love the bright smiling faces I see on a daily or weekly basis. This particular week has been a little hectic. I needed to vent.

It didn't occur to me that I ought to celebrate the Fourth of July yesterday. The only thoughts I had on the matter were that I should celebrate that it was finally over. There'll be a short rest for me as far as holidays go. Then Labor Day will roll around and we'll all be back to grunting and grumbling.

I work in a meat market in a big, busy supermarket, you know. It seems that every holiday is a meat holiday. It's not like working in a flower shop, where the biggest, bestest holidays are Valentine's Day and Mother's day. Nope. Texans seem to need a slab of meat with every meal, and when a special occasion rolls around, meat makes up most of the menu:  prime ribs for Christmas, turkey for Thanksgiving, hams for Easter, so on and so forth.

We are a busy bunch of meat mongers. We roll in at six in the morning, start tossing briskets and hamburger. We cut, we grind we slice, we saw and we chop. We wrap and weigh and throw it in the counter just to watch it disappear within a few minutes. I've been stepped on, shoved aside, poked, grabbed and yelled at by some of the neediest, most demanding customers, and they have the audacity to snub their noses at me because I somehow failed to live up to their expectations by not having thirty pounds of cube steaks ready and waiting on the shelf for them.  As if I could even get to the shelf, as crowded as it is. I have to slink and sneak between people just to stock things. Lots of times, I don't make it to the counter. Shoppers often take what I've got straight from my arms. Sometimes I have to get a little pushy. I'm a real live person you know. I have my limits. (I'm such a bitch. I should be fired, really.)


Back to the point. I don't celebrate the holidays like other people do. By the time it's time to relax in the park with live music and an ice-cold beer, I just can't stand the sight of people. Not even the ones I actually like. I just want go home, lock the door, sink into a nice hot bubble-bath and enjoy the freedom and the solitude.

That's what I was doing last night when I heard the fireworks start. That's when I finally remembered it was a day of celebration, and that I probably ought to take a moment to respect it. I toweled off just in time to step outside and see most of the Grande Finale. I'm not sure which park it was, but I could see it from my house if I climbed up on the patio fence and stretched my neck. My neighborhood was eerily quiet. The pops and bangs of the pyrotechnics echoed against empty, dark houses.

A Lifestar Helicopter flew over, headed toward the hospitals, which are near my house, whoop, whoop, whoop. I wonder what the fireworks looked like from up there. Had the demonstration been as uneventful to the pilot as it had been for me? Was he more concerned about making it through the workday, or was he missing his friends and family, who were surely celebrating without him?

It occurred to me then that none of my friends or family had bothered to pick up the phone and invite me to celebrate with them. Likewise, I hadn't bothered to ask any of them to join me. I was too exhausted from working all week toward the one goal of making it through without stabbing anybody.

Barely made it.

I punched Domingo three times in the shoulder for being a disrespectful asshole, and I told Pablo to go to Hell, but other than that, the meat-heads remained relatively unharmed. I can't say as much for the customers.

My Fourth of July did not go out with a bang. I was in bed by eleven, alone and completely sober. I cherished every moment. Wouldn't have had it any other way. I will, however, be celebrating my 39th birthday next week, even if I have to bake my own cake. (My mouth has been watering for some Black Forest, just in case you were wondering what kind of cake, I should be making.)