Posted by: tlnemethy | August 20, 2016

Shop Elders

I work, on average, with women I would consider old. Granted, I’m lumping everyone into the category of older than me is old. I mean, the youngest part timer at the shop is in her late forties, so not that old, but a motherly type of age difference between us. There is of course, Doris, who I believe is in her late 70’s or early 80’s. While I was interviewing with the manager, Doris came up behind me and touched my mohawk and whispered how much she liked it. That was the start of an unexpected friendship.

She insists on calling everyone kiddo, even people who are very much adult, so this isn’t just a label reserved for the millennial of moi. She’s very hip to today, she’s down with the youthful outlook on things though in ways she’s also very ancient. On one especially slow day she had me manually input all her phone contacts from one flip phone to a new flip phone. She is barred from answering the phones in the shop, not because she isn’t pleasant, but purely because she cannot use the computer to input anything into the system. On a day we were slammed I witnessed her handwriting a customer’s information and credit card number down for someone to input once they became available. This sounds like a planĀ  except for the sheer quantity of information we require. Also, if you get a credit card number wrong the computer will tell you, but if you write it down wrong there’s no warning and then you have to call back the customer to get it right. I should also say that she’s blind in one eye and a bit hard of hearing so the details of that order were not exactly right. That might’ve been the day she got banned from phones, honestly.

Anyways, Doris was really the one who taught me how to arrange flowers. She had a knack for it and since we worked so closely for weeks on end, I got a bunch of stories out of that whip of an old bird (ranging from her cross-country motorcycle travels and sweet talking cops to vagina poison ivy). She’s a complete hoot to work with, the only problems I ever had with her were technology related and minor at that. I once tried to teach her how to look arrangement recipes up on the computer and told her to click something, pointing at the link simultaneously. Instead of moving the cursor over to the link she took her finger and tapped the screen like it was an iPad or something. I think I started crying with laughter. She also repeatedly asked me for a “tablet” one day and I just blankly looked at her until she described what she meant. Apparently a tablet is a notepad. Personally, I think that word comes from the good old biblical days in which schoolchildren carved on stone tablets instead of writing on paper notepads. I took that opportunity to razz her age. She was not overly amused, but played along.

I’m not sure if I was just cooped up without workplace interaction with older people or what, but they sure are a funnier bunch of nutjobs than I would’ve expected. Funnier and yet still unbelievably familiar. I feel like a baby bird being nurtured by them all at once. I mean, Doris makes it a point to feed me multiple times a day even when I protest. Whether she’s feeding me half her corned beef sandwich or lobbing chocolates at me from across the room, she seems to be always on the lookout for new foods to force into my hands . Why bother protesting at this point?

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