It doesn’t like you. Just face the facts.

Our shake machine at work has been acknowledged to be ‘possessed’. There have been countless incidents since our store opened that have led us to believe the damn thing is out to get us. It occasionally squirts out vanilla ice cream for no reason, overflows shakes (the level that it fills to is supposed to be automated…not that it works out that way or anything), and even has been known to not stop when you press the button. Oh yes, there have been times where three employees will rush over to assist the poor victim with extra cups while they desperately try to staunch the flow of chocolate milkshake as it quickly begins to flow to the floor. But the worst of it, I have yet to mention….

Today was the worst in the store’s short history. I’m making sandwiches, minding my own business, not paying much attention because I have a headset on and am listening to the people in drivethru try to figure out what they want. Suddenly there’s this loud ‘pop’, like something exploded. Keep in mind I am several feet away. A watery, white spray of frothy milkshake splatters everywhere, coating quite a bit of my right side. I blink for a moment, not sure what just happened. Even my face and hair are wet. I hear a string of curses, and one of the people in front starts laughing. I look down at my clothes. Well then.

The table I am working at has a nice pretty pool of bubbly white on it. It was so bad, that somehow a puddle of it even ended up clear on the other side of the store, over by the grill. The woman who always does drivethru while I’m around (who is also one of my favorites) looks over to the customers who are laughing. “I’m afraid the entertainment costs extra.”

But what happened to me isn’t bad at all. The cursing came from the woman attempting to repair the ice cream machine. She was standing right over the open vat just as it exploded….. 

The fact that the spray happens to be white  has already caught my attention, but besides covering up a few giggles, I say nothing. It’s one of the other girls who can’t keep her mouth shut, and she looks at the poor woman drenched in cream as she says it.

 “Looks like you just rubbed it the right way.”

I couldn’t stop laughing.

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Do you remember?

I will attempt to write these sorts of posts occasionally. It will be a story about something that happened in my life. I feel like changing it up and talking about something different here and there will probably be good for me. I am so buried in all of this; I need air occasionally.

I must be about 10 or 11, but I recall the memory better than most current ones.

I’m at a friend’s house. We’re in the backyard playing with her brothers, as usual. We invent new games frequently, trying to keep ourselves busy during the hot California summers. Their lawn covers most of their property, and we are running around on it or gathered around their oversized trampoline. I remember this patch of clovers used to grow in the circle of shade beneath it, and there we’d lay down on our stomachs concentrated on that spot, searching for four-leaf clovers. 

But this day is different. We’re more restless than usual. I think I woke at dawn to watch the pink on the horizon through the lacy curtains of my friend’s bedroom window. For some reason, though I have always disliked mornings, my body always awakened me at dawn there. You could see a sunrise like no other from their porch, and I hate to miss it.

We pack a bunch of things, mostly junkfood. We’ve called round to several of the neighboring kids. A few of the friends of her brothers who had also spent the night as I had, come as well, and somehow we end up with a fair-sized group. We all go to the same school, so there are no strangers, even if we are mere acquaintances. We start up the gravel road, trying to decide who else we should bring with us.

It’s hot, I remember. There are no clouds in the sky, just that cornflower blue of a perfect day. We’re all wearing shorts and t-shirts and sweating nonetheless. Up the hill we walk, clustered together as though afraid to get separated from the herd.

It’s the dead of summer, so when we get to the pond it’s a dried, cracked bed of dirt, where even the weeds are struggling to grow. It’s like one of those old western moves where the ground is so dry it appears to have patterns. We are all laughing, recalling the Titanic incident, wherein the oldest brother built a toy model of the Titanic that he had gotten for Christmas then sunk in the pond one winter. One of the other boys dived in for a snake on one long-ago occasion, swimming in the murky, green water to snatch it up as it wriggled across the surface. He’d ended up soaked, and had walked back to the house dripping wet and grinning, carrying the garden snake for us to look at.

But it’s all gone now. There’s nothing to see here. We drink some water and start walking again. Cars pass every once in awhile, leaving us in a cloud of dust. It’s not as annoying as it should be. We are too excited to care, hurrying along up the winding path of gravel, toward the top of the sagebrush-covered mountain. We avoid the dogs, all of which snarl menacingly as we pass, or bark erratically from porches.

We’ve never gone this far before. There’s an abandoned trailer off the side of the road, squared, old. It has broad windows in the front that glare at us in the heavy sunlight. We’re all becoming ever the more drenched in sticky sweat. It makes me think of taking a dip in the swimming pool when we return to the house.

The boys are talking excitedly. The girls are off to the side, though my friend is wandering closer. I’m trying to talk them out of it. I make some weak protests, but they aren’t paying much attention, laughing at what they see as cowardice. And maybe it is.

 The first rock is thrown. Glass shatters. A hole is made, surrounded by an intricate spiderweb of cracked glass. Now it has begun, with that one action. All the boys are leaning down, grabbing rocks between already dirty fingers. It’s loud, the breaking sound. I cringe a little, wondering briefly whose house it is. I’m walking away from them, toward the edges of the group, still saying things to them, warning them of what could happen, telling them to stop. I’m not interested in getting caught, and instead of joining them, I keep moving further and further away, hoping they’ll grow bored with their game. But they are laughing and carrying on, trying to find a way inside.

Then there is a noise. A car maybe. I don’t recall what it was. Suddenly, fear seems to grip everyone. They’re wide-eyed. Someone is coming. We’ll get caught. One of the boys is the first to run, and it starts off a chain reaction. I won’t stay behind, so I follow.

We run, a group of kids frightened of consequences. Faster and faster, following the road. We’re shouting at one another, encouraging everyone to move as quickly as possible. It doesn’t take long. The fear hasn’t faded, but the energy has. The sun is leeching us of endurance and we’re slowing, whether we want to or not. The sprint turns into a jog, one that grows weaker and weaker until the group is nearly separated, the boys in the front, leading, the girls lagging behind. Finally we get to a walk, panting and looking back, afraid. 

Then we start laughing, probably in relief. And on we go. Somewhere along the way part of the group turns back, thinking we’ve gone too far. They’re complaining that it’s hot and too far to walk. For whatever reason, I refuse to go back, even though I’ll be the only girl left. They try to coerce me into leaving with them, but with a few words from her brothers, I shake my head, watching them leave. I’m not sure if it’s a good idea. We have gone really far and we’ll probably get into trouble. But I want to see what is at the top, and that desire is enough to outweigh any worries I have about getting reprimanded. I know the girls will be mad at me later, but I don’t care.

It takes a fair amount of time to reach the top of the mountain. It’s littered with huge boulders that we have to climb over, but we’re getting more enthusiastic, running over the clear spots. Now we’re going downward, through a cluster of bushes. Finally we climb over one of the biggest rocks yet, and there it is: the view.

We’re high enough above the brush that we can see all the way down the mountain. Our town is situated in a valley inside of it, and a the city lies far beneath it somewhere. We can see the lone road that cuts through the hills, the one everyone uses to get to the city, to ‘civilization’. I’ve never seen anything like it. The hills in the distance are just visible, green and rolling, and I feel like a bird watching the dot of a car descend the steep mountain. There’s a cooling breeze up this high, and I am thankful for it. I can feel the heat on my face, the sweat beneath my hair.

One of the boys is digging through a backpack, fishing out some fruit rollups that we distribute amongst the last of members. There’s a bit of talk about the others who left, but it dies out quickly. We stay for a long time, just talking. I remember wishing I had a camera.

I know that I won’t regret it, even if I do get in trouble. I have a lot to brag about when I finally meet up with the other girls at the house, all of which aren’t too thrilled to see me. I’m too happy to really mind.

A few years ago I spoke with the oldest of her brothers. He said to me, “Do you remember that time…”

All I said was, “of course I remember.”

Life: the irritating, sing-song merry-go-round.

I don’t know what I’m doing, I honestly don’t. And I don’t care. Even the urge to die has tapered off lately. I’ve become this obsessive, pleasure-seeking thing. Not that it is bad—I think anything is an improvement, if I’m truthful. I’m nothing when I’m numb, and I want to die when my depression hits its peak, but right now all I want to do is anything that is different than the stagnation I expose myself to.

I’m not even worrying anymore. The guilt about not working is slowly dying away. I guess I’m hitting that “blind acceptance” point, because I’ve realized that I’ve done all I can do for now and I’ll just have to wait. I keep selling my useless shit online, like a fucking hobby. All the bullshit that used to mean something to me is now just trash. Things that I treasured no longer have that sacred value they used to have. Now I couldn’t care less if they are gone from my life.

I don’t know if this is permanent or just temporary. But I suppose at the moment all I want is something that isn’t exactly the same as everything that has happened before. If that means purging the old self, then fine. Oh well. It’s not like anyone would miss her. I’ve been holding onto that memory a little too long, I think.

When I get money I’m going to spend it. I’m going to spend it and not care. Because there is nothing to care about anymore. There’s second to second and nothing else. It’s all just a game that is long past being fun, long past meaning anything important. I don’t want it, so what does it matter?

The future is the past. It is the same thing. Why do I keep hoping for something different when I know that I’m running the same track over and over? You can’t suddenly wake up and expect things to get better, can you? It would be like asking the night not to come or the sun not to rise. It’s going to happen; there is no stopping it. I fight something that is inconsequential, and I smile at my own stupidity.

Nice or sinister? With some people, their smiles are difficult to read.

Yesterday I went to a city a few hours from here. They have a huge mall, something that is fairly non-existent in the area I live in, so I thought there was a good possibility I might find something interesting. Like I said some posts ago, I’ve been searching for boots. It was also just an excuse to get out, and my mom loves to go driving to new places, so it worked out.

I never did find my boots, though I got more useless clothes as a buffer for my depression. No, it doesn’t work, except for the first five minutes. Afterward, meaning today, I regretted some of my purchases. I actually would throw some of them in the trash in frustration, but then it really would be useless, now wouldn’t it? Doesn’t that sound like something a spoiled little child would do? Throw things away in a fit of rage? Hm. For some reason that still does nothing to quell the thoughts. I buy things on impulse; I hate it when I do that. I already took the tags off; no taking it back. It’s too far away anyway.

We stopped at a surplus store on the way home. I walk in the door, wearing my old pair of boots. They’re ready to fall apart, but I don’t care. I immediately get cornered by some man I don’t recognize, and find him asking me too many questions for me to really recall. He gives some sort of comment on my boots, about liking them, etc. After I give an automated answer, I give him a sideways glance and stalk away, realizing that he’s not some random person, he works at the store. Maybe it’s okay then? I still thought he was a little overbearing, but given that I was in the perfume section at Macy’s only an hour earlier, with saleswomen circling me like vultures, I figure, hey, maybe he’s just nice and shrug it off.

I’m alone all of…a minute? If that. He’s back again. I’m examining a tactical vest and he’s saying, “Oh, you’re that kind of girl.” I mutter something about “just looking”, and he laughs. He tries to start yet another conversation, but I manage to get away after a few murmured answers. Now I’m starting to think something’s weird. There are other people in the store, so I’m hoping he’ll go bother them, as there is a huge boot section I need to investigate further.

Now if he was not around 50 years old, this wouldn’t have been as strange. I wander into the boots, glance around and realize there are no knee highs to be found. When I see used army and navy uniforms I make a beeline for the back of the store, and immediately start trying things on. Naturally everything is all out of order, so I have to sort through an entire rack to find my size. I see my mom moving through the displays, and end up showing her the things I’m looking at. Then he’s back again. Internally I groan. I know that I can’t tell him off, because I’m deeply considering buying something and I don’t want anything fucked up on account of my being a cold bitch.

He says something like “so that’s where you went”, as though he’s been looking for me. Now I’m getting not only uncomfortable, but more than a little irritated. I haven’t been without his presence for even five minutes. I release the jacket I’m about to try on when he says something about it looking good on me. I’m not at all in the mood to be examined. I grind my teeth at this point and my mom is not saying anything either, though we exchange a “what is with him?” glance.

This is when it gets into a conversation. He’s asking a bunch of questions again, and I just let my mom answer. Somehow we get on the topics of boots for a second time, and mom ends up telling him that was the reason we came to town. This is where it goes from mildly irritating to screaming in frustration. He keeps talking about how they don’t have any knee high boots but they might be able to order some. In order to get the the right sizing I’d have to try some on.

I confess, my social anxiety makes me want to curl up in a corner and die. I can’t stand trying things on in front of people, shoes or otherwise. It just makes me very uncomfortable, same thing with eating. I can’t eat in front of strangers. I pick at food, then wind up eating nothing. Strange, I know, but I’ve been that way since I was a child.

Thankfully he runs off to do whatever, and I stomp over to the jackets, hoping he’ll forget, though I know it will never happen. I never did find one of those jackets in my size, as I didn’t get all that much time to look.

Back he is again. I only tolerate all of it because I’m hopeful that there might actually be boots that I want in that stupid magazine. All of them are steel toed and lined for cold weather. The fact that they all seem to run upwards of $300 puts me off though. He comes back with a 7.5 when I told him an 8 or a 9 (they’re men’s shoes, so the sizing was all off for me), but I grudgingly try it on anyway, and barely manage to get my foot in. My toes are all smashed into themselves, so he goes and gets yet another. My mom is with me the entire time, like a protective bear—it makes me want to smile. 

I try on the new ones, and he just HAS to say something about my socks. The bottom part is covered in rainbow stars (don’t laugh…), which is fortunately all he can see. In actuality they are knee high with GIR from Invader Zim all over them. Another compliment comes that makes me want to throw the heavy shoe at him, but I smile benignly. What can you do? This time it was something about how I have style or some such bullshit. I was dressed like a preteen, wearing purple pants, combat boots, and a shirt with GIR and neon stripes on it. I had to change in the car from my “adult” clothes because it was so stiflingly hot, and because we had nowhere to go, I didn’t give a shit if I looked like crap. Now I know he’s just after something and I’m completely suspicious.

It gets weirder. I have to get wide shoes because I’m flat footed, and when I mutter it (becuase all of the shoes are narrow as fuck), he automatically pipes up that he is too. Oh yay. He lifts his hand up for a high five and I consider ignoring it. I’m too old for it, far too old. I went to college, I’m not 12. Then the more malicious, clever side tells me “could mean a discount if you treat him nice”. That’s all the encouragement I need, so I humor him.

The second shoe doesn’t fit either, so he steals my boot and tries to look for a difference. I’m kind of miffed because I hate people touching my things. My boots are sacred, more so than just about anything. I keep them impeccably clean, even in my messy room and from the sloppy, muddy roads.

Finally we go to the register to see this magazine, and he leaves us alone for a moment, not before introducing himself a SECOND time, and shaking my hand. This is the second time I’ve heard his name, and I still for the life of me, can’t remember what it was. I’m too busy trying to gauge the smile—what does it mean? The humanist wants to assume that he’s just one of those annoying, overly nice people that you sometimes want to club, but tolerate, due to the fact that you know only a jackass would crush such a optimistic moron with cruelty. But he’s touched me a couple of times, laying a hand on my arm, etc., so it’s boiled down to something being quite wrong. Too many red flags. He asks me my name, and I give it, then turn away. I guess I had a high tolerance for bullshit that day. Or maybe I just really wanted boots.

Of course, he isn’t gone forever. He comes back after we talk to the guy at the register about the shoes. They do have one type of knee highs that they’re going to check up on. There’s no hope though; there was no price. I’m sure they aren’t even going to be a whopping $300, but more in the $500-600 range. Still, we leave our number (something I later regret, though nothing has come of it…yet). Mom has already said we are in a hurry (we are both looking to get away from the place, though there are about a hundred unique things there that I’d love to buy), so we finally depart rather quickly.

We laugh about it in the car, discomfort gone. Yes…it was a little weird. I’m writing this all down so that I don’t relapse into thinking I’m crazy later. I keep doubting things that have happened; my memory has been completely shot lately.

About the boots, not that anyone would care, but if I come back and read this later I might want to know. I bid on some on ebay, but eventually gave up when they went to high. I’ve decided I want New Rocks, either the 161 or the 272. I was going to buy another pair of Demonias, but I’m finally facing up to the fact that I want what I want, and if I buy the ones I’ve been looking at from them, I’m merely settling (I already got the Reapers; they can’t make anything more impressive). Now I’m going to have to save up a good, solid $300 to cover them…. That $2oo more than I wanted to spend. Oh well. I guess I can save for it. At least that way I have something to look forward to when nothing else seems to get me interested.

I also might get a job in a few months where my dad works. They might be hiring soon, and they usually take employees’ kids no questions asked when they are short on staff (they always are during spring and summer). Might get me work for 6 months at least, so I can help my parents out with the bills—and of course, buy insanely expensive boots from Spain because I’m materialistic and don’t give a fuck about it. I guess I’m Jack today.

There’s nothing to do anymore but what brings a little bit of pleasure. There isn’t anything else. It’s all useless now, and I don’t want any of it.

We have only ourselves to blame…and the stupid people, don’t forget them….

I think I’m supposed to be happy right now. It’s hard to tell anymore. What people call improvement is clearly a matter of perspective….

Call me a kill joy, but I think it’s pretty fucking pathetic that I only drove once (for about ten minutes) since the last time I took my driving test, and yet somehow everybody suddenly believed ‘oh, it can drive now!’. Yes, I passed. But upon hearing what I just told you, doesn’t it make you frown just the tiniest bit? It’s sort of sad really. All I did was drive around the block about ten times before I took the test and remembered the spots where I messed up, and viola!

I have to say though, my tester person this time went pretty easy on me compared to the last one. He was quite nice, actually. When I finished, he didn’t tell me whether or not I passed, but immedaitely asked me how I thought I did, and what I thought I hadn’t done as well on…. The man was damn sadistic….waited like…two minutes to tell me. He keeps going on about how I need to observe more, which is true, I didn’t observe well (too nervous), and he’s drawing on the paper and scaring the shit out of me…. The all of a sudden, he just writes “passed”. Flare for the dramatic? Yeah, not exactly a good thing to test on a suicidal person…. And I drove a little slow. Went 20 instead of 25 because there were school zones everywhere and I was being paranoid. But I didn’t fuck up any lane changes, so yay, I suppose. Technically, I think I was right on the brink of failing, but he told me he knew I was really nervous. Well, at least everyone in the world isn’t completely blind and apathetic yet. Makes me feel vaguely hopeful. Fuck, doesn’t that sound optimistic?

I don’t plan on driving again any time soon, except maybe to go to the store to spend money I don’t have. Ha.

It’s the idiots’ fault, the morons who made all of this shit up. I blame it on them. All these stupid things we have to ‘test’ people, whether it be a test to graduate, a driving test, a placement test, what the fuck does it really show us? Nothing. Nothing but somebody facing their fears and getting the fuck over it while being lying and sycophantic the entire way. It isn’t us. Just like it isn’t us when we take a personality test for a job, just like when we act polite but aren’t sincere, just like when we pretend to care, but don’t. Hmm. It’s something to think about.

Glad it’s all over though. I don’t know if I could have made it through that bullshit another time; I was on my last limb there. Over. Done with. Gone. I’m sure when I wake up tomorrow I’ll at least feel a partial weight lifted. I’ve got a lot of things to do, but that’s one thing I can mark off the list. I’m unfortunately too numb at present to really jump for joy or get excited, which is…infuriating. Just know that I would if I could.