Pale Horse (pale_horse_x) wrote,
Pale Horse

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The Strange Undercurrents of a Small Town

Sometimes, it's only at the end of a journey that you realized how involved you were with the whole experience, how the little things you did revealed more than you thought and shaped things around you as they were shaping you.

The white aprons under the counter at the Donut Shop -- that in 6 years I have used maybe once myself, but the girls that have come and gone have loved -- have suddenly turned tie-dye. Multi-colored swirls and blotches now adorn their cotton surfaces. Even though I'm halfway out the door, it seems the bosses are going to make some legacy. After all, the customers have been conditioned to expect some weirdness behind the counter, be it shades of hippie-ness or Irish drinking songs.

And now it's down to the last week for me there. The Donut Hippie exits, stage left, on July 22nd, a Sunday. Six years. No more waking up at 4 in the morning. Okay, let's be honest: No more wrestling with the alarm clock and listening to the Tejano station every nine minutes until I jump out of bed at least 5 minutes past the very last minute possible to jump in the shower, change, and race to work. Let there be an end.

This decision was long in the coming over the past year or so, and I made the ultimate determination a month ago. I've been warning our loyal customer base -- some who can even remember the day I was interviewed -- that my departure was imminent ever since. There has been a lot well-wishing and questions about what I was going to do next, why I was leaving, and so forth.

There aren't many seriously strange people in Georgetown. We're talking about a town where "Keep Georgetown Normal" was an official slogan endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce. But you know what?

I was. I really was. I don't care what happens next, that's cool. I worry a little about the town now, without me. Well, not entirely without me, but a lot of people saw me everyday. I was probably the very first non-family person many of them would see each morning. I'm sure the new girls that have been hired will do a fine job of slinging donuts, but I bet more than a few will still feel it's not just the same.

And the even stranger undercurrents are the ones that flow just under the surface, the ones that swim barely beneath the water's skin with only a sharp fin cutting through, a subtle sign of what's down the road. I went by Forgotten Lore, the local Georgetown comic book store, where I'm going to get a little part-time job to pay for my fantasy crack, and talked with the owner Charles.

I was trying to convince him to let me start the last weekend in July instead of the first weekend of August, partly because I need to start working off the accumulating debt now, and partly because a whole weekend without a job frightens me a little. I really won't know what to do with myself.

But the man says "NAY!" I must have a weekend off, and rest. Grrr.... And when I talked about... oh, I hadn't hit that part yet.... let me rewind...

I had a plan, only slightly dramatic. I wanted the last day of work to be a certain way. A perfectly normal day, done in a perfectly normal manner, a Sunday with me opening the shop by myself and closing it by myself, like always. And at the end, I would shut everything down, do it right, clean everything. Shiny. Then leave, alone, locking the door behind me and pausing to reflect for the last time.

But that's not what's going to happen. Nooooo... Louise had me scheduled to leave at 11 instead of 12, and there's a trainee there, too. She said I could go ahead and work 'till close, get that last hour in, and I could use that extra $9, but it just isn't the same. Petty complaining perhaps, but damn...

So that brings us up to speed, as I regale Charles with this little pity-party story. His response: "Don't worry about it. I happen to know you're going to get a good send-off, don't worry about the money."

Ain't a small town grand? Seems the former and future bosses have had a conference already on, well, me. So something is in the works, eh? He won't reveal any more, so now I'm left to ponder.... I already knew there was a farewell card floating around at the other donut shop (thanks Melissa!), and now this, whatever this might be...

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