March 28, 2021
Man talked about fishing, water, ice, fishing equipment, possible fishing equipment, the levels of every pond and lake and river in the tri-state area, and personally contacting the National Weather Service for their rain predictions specifically related to fishing. For 45 minutes. Asked Private Ryan to send me the recording of this conversation as the absolute cure to insomnia.
Same man returned three days later and neutralized a problem. Silently ask for forgiveness for first paragraph.
Private Ryan had the audacity to have a birthday and took Friday off. Apparently alerted every creep, dick, and scary to his absence. Doors opened on woodwork. Out they came. In they marched.
Private First Class reported things went well until the dreaded 1100 hours. First came Russia.
As with many things between the U.S. and Russia, tensions run high and diplomacy is difficult. And shipping is a bitch. We have reached a point where we no longer ship actual goods there because they never make it. Russian Customs would call a stuffed animal a weapon if they felt so inclined that day.
Even if the stuffed animal didn’t have drugs, knives, or poison on the inside. This is made more difficult given that The Field’s international weaponry exchange license is still being held up.
Friday’s requested shipment was just documents, however.
Spoiler alert: Russia treats documents in the same way they would treat the aforementioned poisonous Care Bear.
When a tricky international country is involved, we call in DHL backup. Their thing is, apparently, delivering things in places that I either can’t spell, can’t locate on a map, or can’t fathom visiting.
The Russians were in The Field for a good 25 minutes while we determined what our best course of action was. Because we don’t ship to tricky places very frequently, we have to familiarize ourselves with DHL’s guidelines every time. Our software accepted the address so we were pretty sure we were good to go.
Then DHL’s website informed us that we should not send anything to a personal residence which, of course, is exactly where the suspicious paperwork was going. The Russians were long gone by then and Private First Class called the company to ask the “documents versus packages” question.
This inquiry led to my futile attempt to learn Russian enough to find a DHL Office in the random city across the world. I have newfound appreciation for company branding making it easier to translate this. We called the Russians and they said the recipient was able and capable of getting to the office to pick this up. We were relieved and I proceeded to type the address label about nine times making sure I had everything right. With each new label, I unfortunately had the thought, “Well, at least we’re getting the hard one out of the way early.”
Terrible thought. Took it back immediately. But. Someone heard.
Let’s Talk About Being Creepy
Now that I’m old, I know that some people never grow out of the “I want to be creepy to scare people” phase that sometimes settles in at adolescence and sometimes settles in when a person decides humanity has no hope. These semi-intentional people are a bit easier to identify. For instance, we have a customer who makes these masks out of leather and the only comparison I can make is the crazy scary guy in Season One of True Detective. Part of it is freak flag flying high; part of it is going for shock value; and part of it is genuinely wanting something different.
I get it. I wear a baseball cap to work every day. Sometimes, the hat has a strip of bacon on it. Or a mustache. Or an elephant. I think this makes me quirky but, perhaps, some people might find it creepy. The line can be thin.
Know what is never on the quirky side of the line? Being a 60-year-old man calling a 21-year-old woman you don’t know a “pretty young lady” every 30 seconds and coming back to The Field six times with made up reasons to have her keep helping you.
CreepyMan waited for PFC’s station to be open, walked up to her counter, and the first thing out of his mouth was, “Do you want to know why masks are bullshit, Private First Class?” (Turns out he had called the day before and asked her name and then continuously used it throughout all interactions.) I was at my station helping someone and trying to keep an ear on that because nothing about the man was okay for me.
Free advice to Creeps: Learn to tell the difference between uncomfortable laughs from someone who just wants you to go away and actual laughter.
Later, PFC would tell me that she laughed because she didn’t know what to do and “didn’t want him to kill me.”
PFC is more prone to underreacting, to staying completely steady in the face of things going awry and taking a very strong, “I don’t really care” stance. She’s quiet but strong. So for her to get that vibe is definitely noteworthy.
Mr. CreepyMan stayed at her station for a good 15 minutes while the line of customers backed up to the door. He said the normal right-wing nonsense, maskless, while making a big show about his flaunting of the rules and basically daring someone to go at it with him. I wanted to and I could tell the entire line of people was ridiculously uncomfortable with what was happening.
After making her change the label three times and asking her to staple something and then take the staple out and then staple something again, he finally left.
And then promptly returned.
But this time, PFC was busy and I was not. Tough break, Mr. CreepyMan. I said, “What do you need now?” He said he needed two copies of the stapled thing and realized there was no reason to wait. (And if he’d tried to wait, I would have sent PFC to the “back room” which isn’t really a thing but no one needs to know that.) I snatched the papers out of his hand and he attempted to engage with me ABOUT PFC. Read the room, dude.
I got his copies done and charged him the $0.39 and he asked me if I accepted a “U.S. Promissory Note” and I said, “We are busy.” And he tried to partially pull a dollar out of his wallet that says whatever the top of the dollar bill says and started to give me some speech about the U.S. Treasury. So I repeated, “That’s nice. We are busy. 39 cents please.”
“You’re pretty direct,” he said to me.
“I can be more direct,” I shot back at him. (PFC said it was all she had not to burst out laughing when I said that.)
He came back multiple times. The last time he came in, the aforementioned Fishing Man came in at about the same time. When he got to the counter and CreepyMan got to PFC, I looked at Fishing Man and mumbled, almost imperceptibly, “I’d appreciate it if you’d stay.” And then I side-eyed and Fishing Man began to tune in to the “pretty young lady” nonsense and he nodded at me. And then he began speaking sort of loudly, sort of including PFC in the conversation since he is a regular.
I meant to give Fishing Man a discount on his shipment and instead overcharged him because I was so focused on other things. I’ll make it up to him.
CreepyMan left because Fishing Man wasn’t about to leave first and then he sort of debriefed with us. I made sure he knew that I didn’t want him there to “protect” us. I just wanted another person in the building because it was the first customer that ever made me consciously consider where the razors were should I need to use them in defense. But having a more “alpha male” would probably diffuse the situation more quickly because human psychology is weird and the male hierarchy dynamics in anthropology are asinine.
PFC and I each told our respective General Mothers about the situation. Her mother suggested pepper spray. My mother suggested Private Ryan hire private police security for PFC.
Private Ryan stated he is willing to have pepper spray on hand as long as we agree to “use it sparingly.”
We assured him we won’t use it as an air freshener or anything.
The moral of Day 379
Don’t be a creepy old man and don’t ship things to Russia.
And just know that The Field has officially been weaponized.
Last night about 2 a.m., Harry’s brother from the same mother threw up on my shoe stand from the bed. Not on the empty part of the shoe stand, mind you. He threw up on a belt, a library card, and a smattering of other hard-to-clean things. I tried to clean that up.
Then he threw up on the trampoline. Did you know trampolines are porous? That they act as a strainer for vomit? Well you do now.
Sergeant won’t shut up about getting her two-wheeled tank ready to ride. First I held onto the idea that she can’t use it until they sweep the streets. That happened this morning. So now I’ve turned my argument to the fact it’s going to be 39 degrees tomorrow. She does not care.
You’d think, with as bad as she wants to ride it, she would watch a YouTube video on how to charge the battery on her own. But then she threatens me with the “I don’t even know where it is so I guess I’ll have to go through all the storage in the garage…” thing. I don’t want her touching my shit.
It’s like I have all the power and none of the power at the same time.
Schrodinger’s power, I guess.
Oh well. Get ready for the human highlighter to return soon. It’s an unstoppable force at this point.