Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Goodbye Wildoats

So, yes, I quit.

Suddenly. It's strange, too, walking out of a place like that, when you hadn't planned on it. Liberating. A tad dramatic. But I couldn't help it, really. I was walking out to escape the drama. What drama? you ask. Something similar to what you find in high school.

You see, I take the blame for opening my mouth and saying what I did. I can do that. But the way it was handled: ridiculous. I figured before it could balloon any more out of proportion, I'd leave.

I'll spare you the suspense. What I said was that I think bisexualism is sort of a cop out, an excuse, an unwillingness to choose one and stick with it. Well, all I actually said was that I think it's a cop out, I just thought I'd elaborate on the idea while I was here, writing about it. And then I said, "See, gays, who have picked what they are, I can get behind that because they've made a choice and that's great. But the bi-thing, I can't get behind that." And the whole "get behind that" was a joke, sort of, an allusion to the William Shatner/Ben Folds/what's his name punk guy song. I was joking a little as I said it, because that's my way. I'm a big joker, sometimes.

Anyway, I thought she'd get it. But she didn't. And in the first place, I stopped saying what I thought about the bi-thing because I didn't want to get into hot water or hurt anyone's feelings. But she egged me on. Seriously. This is a better detail of how the conversation went, with my commentary in brackets:

Me: Do you like guys or girls? [This is not an offensive question because probably a good 50% of the people at Wilds Oats are gay or what have you. And I was asking her because I thought she would like to go out with Stoker's co-worker if she was straight, because I thought she was cool enough for that. And I didn't know what her preference was, but it could go either way.]

Her: Well, it could go either way. [See, she wasn't offended by the question.]

Me: Oh, so, that's how it is, huh. [With a very joking tone, because I'm a joker, you know.]

Her: What do you mean?

Me: Nothing, it's just that . . . no, nevermind. [Here you can clearly tell that I was trying to back out of the conversation. I know what can happen when I say the wrong thing.]

Her: No, what? Say it.

Me: Well, I don't know, I've always just thought that the whole bi-thing was a cop out, you know, an excuse, so you don't have to choose. I guess it's always seemed more about sex, than love, to me. [In a very humble tone, like "I'm not stamping on your ideas, just tiptoeing around them," as though to figure out what they are without scaring them off like small animals.]

Her: Yeah, well that's what a lot of people seem to think, but that's unfair. I mean, certainly there are girls who say they're bi and fool around with it, but only to get guys because they think guys think it's sexy and hot to have two girls together. They're not really bi, but all that pisses me off. Anyway, bisexualism isn't all about sex.

Me: Really? I'm just saying that's what I've seen. That's based on my experience, [or rather, what I've observed in people] you know, so I don't know what else to think about it.

Her: I just think it's about more opportunities for love. [Or something like this. This is all paraphrased, since it happened yesterday I don't remember every word of the conversation.] I've certainly dated more men than women. [She's 21, by the way.]

Me: Hmmm, yeah. Well, I guess I did have a boyfriend who, I found out later, was bi. And he was really good and loving, so, I think for him it was more about love than sex, I'd forgotten about that whole thing. So, I guess it's possible that it could be about love and not sex.

That's about it. Anyway, I thought my last statement was diplomatic enough, that I'd relented a little and allowed for the possibility that my opinion was wrong. You see, I wouldn't have said a damn thing if I hadn't thought there was a rapport between us. I'm not entirely a bumbling idiot, you know.

But, then next thing I know, she's coming out of the front office, wiping her eyes like she'd been crying. I asked her if she was okay and she said something about how she just can't talk about that subject because it always ends up that her feelings get hurt, or something like that. By "that subject," she meant bisexualism. At that point she was counting my drawer, because she's an assistant manager. I said to her, "Wait, what? I thought we worked it out? I told you about my ex-boyfriend and that I thought it could be about love and everything. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings." But she didn't seem to listen. She left to talk to an old employee who had quit, but was doing some light shopping (a member of the now split band, Neutral Milk Hotel. But, she was never nice to me. And I'm sure she'll be even less nice to me now. I'm 100% positive the ass. man. told her this story and painted me as a horrible, intolerant bigot).

While on my break I thought a lot about how screwed up this stupid world is. I felt bad about hurting her feelings, obviously, because that wasn't my intention. I thought about an old friend (no really, he's old. Older, anyway) and how he would have had the wisdom not to say anything at all, that he would have made the girl just feel loved, because he has this kindness about him, this benevolence that glows in his face. And I wished I had made her feel loved, not judged or whatever, and I wished to have the wisdom he has. But I know, as well, that his wisdom is hard won, that he's lived a lifetime to have it. You don't get that at 28. You get it by living and letting life make you smooth, not a crochety old jerk. Sometimes I think I'm halfway down the crochety old jerk road.

After my break, I went back into the store. I knocked on the door to the front office to find her. Someone else was in there, the guy who does the money and deposits. I could see her behind him, and I asked for her. He said she's busy verifying the deposit, was what I needed important. I just said no and walked away. Who knows if she was really verifying the deposit, but that was ridiculous. She knew what I was there for, to apologize MORE, and I wasn't about to beg to give an apology. My hell.

Anyway, to make all this short, when the service manager arrived, this girl was obviously getting petty about everything and so she told him I was five minutes late. I know this because the first thing he said to me was, "Can you get here at 7:45 from now on? Just be on time?" And I said sure. So, in short, all this bothered me. I fumed about it at my register and about how the girl was being passive aggressive (as though I had done her wrong by having a damn opinion), doing everything I needed her for, like for returns and stuff, very curtly and business- like while somehow managing to ignore me. So, I left. I told the service manager I was sick and left them all to their stupid devices.

I went back today, at 7:45 (yes, I was even early), thinking it had all blown over. Probably. The assistant manager didn't say much. At one point she went through my line (because I was the only cashier there and she desperately wanted some tangerines) and asked if I was okay. Hmm. Maybe she was completely unaware of yesterday and how she'd treated the situation and jilted my attempt at an apology and everything else. Other than that everything was fine. I could deal with the ignoring and all that.

But then, around 10:00 another cashier showed up and began acting strangely. I had thought this girl was my friend. I asked her if she was mad at me, and then she pulled all this stuff about how I had offended and hurt the other girl's feelings and that I judged her and by judging her I had judged this girl too because she was also bi(!) (I had no idea, seriously. Very unfair) and it made her feel bad and awkward and unfortunately, lots of people at Wild Oats are gay or bi and so I shouldn't go around saying stuff about how I think it's bad or whatever. I got really annoyed. "What is this? High school? It's completely unfair that she told you and totally misrepresented me. Did she tell you the other stuff I said and about how I tried to apologize but she hid from me in the office?"

I fumed some more at my register. Then I quit. I said a few goodbyes to the people who had relatively unpolluted and friendly views of me, and I walked out. As I drove away, feeling strange and liberated, "The Feel Good Program of the Year" by Goldspot played on my car stereo. It was like, so like a movie.

Author's Note: There's more to the story, I had to cut it short, it was getting too long. And more about my opinions, which are still not very represented here. If you even care, check back later.

p.s. I can't believe I wrote that stupid letter to TRUE. It's so embarrassing. What was I thinking? And then to post it on here? I must be mad. Seriously.

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