reselling the day everyone lost some sleep

Left for the bins at 7:30 and got there a few minutes before 8. I’ve stood out outside with all the othe resellers at 7:55 before but it’s Monday morning and this past weekend the clocks jumped forward an hour so this is my first time standing out here in the dark with everyone. The usual eight or ten of us. Cigarettes and coffee, donuts, but less conversation. I figure on the bright side that maybe people will oversleep for the next couple weeks and I’ll get first dibs.

We went inside and there was a red rope cordoning off the last three rows. The last three rows of bins is where they have The Good Stuff. DVDs, books, TVs that might work. Apparently the staff mostly overslept and showed up late and now it’s 8 a.m. but they suspect it’ll be another half hour before anyone can go back there.

About ten years ago I worked at Cheesecake Factory and Sundays were always a nightmare because of brunch, which here as at other restaurants tends to summon a crowd that’s either hungover and snappy or else they’re in a perfectly good mood except that something about mimosas and late-morning waffles can make people behave strangely. Kind of entitled? But Sundays were also tough because Cheesecake Factory is popular among churchgoers and I began to think that lots of people skip breakfast on their way to church, so that they’re good and hungry for their big meal at Cheesecake Factory afterward, but I think they get hungry very quickly, which makes the sermon into an endless slog, and it also means that they show up hungry and frustrated about traffic, about parking, about the line in the lobby. And so it tends to be the case that in their good Sunday clothes and pious simple jewelry the after-church crowd is just as itchy and impatient as the hungover crowd, or the selfie crowd. So Sunday was always bad but it was worse when clocks jumped forward. I only saw it happen that one year I worked here but servers tend to stick with the company for eight or fifteen years and they told me it’s one of the worst days of the year and they try to do a little coke or something beforehand. That daylight savings is up there with Mother’s Day and Valentine’s with respect to how many drugs you need. Someone in the lobby, upset that he’d been waiting almost an hour for his table, started a fistfight with someone else, who’d also been waiting for an hour. A happy and healthy-looking kid, maybe six years old, was standing at the display case by the bakery, studying the cakes and touching the glass, when suddenly he turned, looked up at surrounding adults, and then tilted forward at 45 degrees and vomitted the way little kids vomit. Where they open their mouths and it leaps out like a coloful unified thing. A lizard maybe. It made a colorful pile on the floor and he looked at it, spat in it, then touched his lip like he wasn’t sure what’d happened. Then he turned away. Healthy and fine like nothing’d happened. When their table was called he walked off with his parents who appeared not to notice. In the ten years since I held that job, as my friends have gotten married and had kids of their own and telling me what it’s like, I’ve come to think they almost definitely noticed but they’d just lost an hour’s sleep and didn’t want to go through the motions. I remember also there was a woman who started weeping to a manager that she’d been waiting an hour for a table and that her whole family was here to eat brunch for her birthday, today was her birthday, we’d ruined her birthday.

Apparently this is normal. That people behave this way. You can read up on it in journals. That there’s this one awful day of the year when everyone loses an hour of sleep and behaves like a bird. Statistics show spikes in domestic violence that weekend, all around the country, every year. Car accidents too. 

But apparently it’s good for the economy if the sun’s out longer. People go shopping. They get home from work and look outside at the sun and say, “Fuck it,” hit the gym.

Anyway. Rough time at the bins. I got an bomber jacket that looked pretty spiff, and was selling for $40 online, but when I brought it home I found two gigantic vertical slits under each armpit. Like to accommodate wings. I put it in the trash.

Best thing I found was a Bret Favre jersey from 1991. I know that he’s famous for a sport and looked up completed sales on eBay for that same jersey. $50, thereabouts. I bought it for $2 and took it home and noticed it’s got two discreet pale flaky splotches. Down by what you might call “the lap.” I stared at them for a while and studied them from up close and afar and I made sure Marie wasn’t home and then I closed my eyes and said “it is not semen” before cleaning it with my hands. To no avail. I took photos of the stain and priced the jersey a few bucks down. Someone sends a lowball offer owithin minutes. Half the asking price. I counteroffer with something higher and the buyer doubles down on his first offer and writes me a note. The polite wordy equivalent “ahem,” referring me back to a photo of the stain.

I relent, and sell at a low profit.

Which is fine. I’ll find better things tomorrow, I tell myself.

It’s not worth losing sleep.

Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s