Thursday, January 18, 2007

And She Was (Talking Heads)

Language: Italian

I don't know what it is about Talking Heads lyrics, but for some reason, like Aerosmith, they always seem to work really well when Babelpopped.

I am very nearly the last employee of the store now who isn't related to the owner. It's hard to tell if this is a good thing or not: I have, at least theoretically, money coming in for another couple of weeks that the rest of the employees don't have. On the other hand, they're all ahead of me in the finding-new-work department, having had lots more time to try to find something. So possibly I'm not better off but not worse off either, just a couple weeks later in time.

The wind-down of the store is kind of emotionally difficult. Former employees are angry about various things. Some of the few remaining part-time people are taking the opportunity to unleash varying amounts of abuse on the customers (which really is a temptation, though so far I'm pretty nice, if occasionally blunt). The customers themselves either want to tell me how sorry they are that the store is closing (which I've heard hundreds of times now and can no longer respond to with any kind of sincerity: I've never known what to say in the first place, and having to come up with something twenty times an hour is pushing me to some kind of edge or another), or they are completely oblivious about what's going on. Some of the better customer questions lately:

Are you guys hiring?
Soooooo, do you know when you'll be getting more bananas in?
Are you guys having some kind of a sale?
What do the ["Going Out of Business: Everything 20% Off"] signs mean?
How come you're out of so much stuff?
Is [item] included in the [Everything 20% Off] sale?
Are you guys really going out of business?
So, why's the store going out of business?
Do you know if you have any [item] in stock?

And you just want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them. And shake them. Until something important ruptures, and they collapse on the floor and start twitching and drooling. Some of them are, obviously, pretty close to the twitching-and-drooling thing already.

And you get angry with the customers who say "Maybe I should have shopped here more." And you get angry with the customers who say "Maybe if your prices hadn't been so expensive." And you get angry with the customers who want you to explain what went wrong, why the store didn't work out. And you feel kind of sorry for the owner and his wife, because you're well aware that they did try to make the place work, and they're no more happy about having to close the place than you are2. And you're kind of pissed at the owner and his wife, because the owner, at least, was always kind of an ass to everybody -- disrespectful, dismissive, superficial, overbearing, secretive -- and it's difficult not to get pissed at people who are like that. And you're anxious whenever somebody asks you where you're going next, because you don't know, while simultaneously being pissed whenever people ask how the owners are doing and don't even seem to realize that you, also, are affected by the closing, and it's like by not asking they're telling you that you don't really count, that whatever happens to you is of no consequence compared to the OWNERS, who are actual people, worth caring about.

And so, ultimately, you wind up in a state of being nowhere in particular all day. The world is moving, and you're right there with it, and you are. Too many emotions from too many directions to deal with, so you just kind of push them off to one side somewhere and focus on giving the right change and shrugging in what you hope is a pleasant manner. And then when you get home and find out that the husband has dumped over a tray of plant cuttings that you were trying to start, everything comes up all at once in such overwhelming intensity that you literally find yourself unable to speak for half an hour.

Really not going to be able to take much more of this.

1The answers, by the way, are:
That we're going out of business, and everything is 20% off.
Because we're going out of business.
Unless it's beer or wine, yes.
Because it wasn't making money.
No, because I can't keep up with what we're sold-out of. Learn to fucking read.

2Though, muting your sympathy is the awareness that they have a much more substantial financial cushion than you do. They might be hit harder emotionally than you are, but they're not in any particular danger of having their electricity turned off, either.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

And they found themselves in the grass,
and she could feel the respiration,
and the factory could see nearly to the main road.
She's making sure it's not dreaming,
sees that the lights of the neighboring house
are beginning to increase. The hour
to return to the concentrated one: a minute,
and the world opens its eyes.

It was moving, and it was right here, (and it was) with
the world; she was moving, was floating over it (and was).

And she was going to drift through the courtyard,
and dressed. Removing her
lot slowly, and moving, she was
to increase in and over the earth.
The universe enters, in that
sense: this all goes to that drift.
I'm not moving that earth on and over the yard.


She was happy to doubt this purpose: without this purpose,
she isn't sure where the time has gone. No,
to think what not to say to them, that next
time they think.
That is approximately what was made.

And she was watching,
and things were similar to the film.
She has had a pleasant height, and is
moving, in all the "outside" senses.


They were joining the dispersed world:
missing enough to think that's in order, all right.

No comments: