Oh, what a day was yesterday. I am determined not to LODITEE all over it this time. So, entry.
Let’s start with Friday. Boss Lynn, who usually works every morning and afternoon, and his wife Zina, who works most afternoons at the other store but Friday afternoons at my store, wanted yesterday afternoon off, so they asked me and Brandie to work all afternoon and me to come in an hour early at ten. This was fine with us. When I came in, though, Wendy, the “manager,” mentioned that we had no paychecks because Lynn forgot to get them ready for us, and that they’d be arriving on Monday instead. This wasn’t a problem for me, since I happened not to be in dire need of money for the weekend, but when Brandie came in later she was, understandably, upset.
Yesterday, Brandie and I had another shift together, this one typical for a Saturday. It went as usual. It was 100°, by far the hottest day we’d worked this year, and we had to put up with the usual inane remarks from customers about how we should really turn on the air conditioner. (The air condition blows on precisely one spot, so if you’re standing in that spot you’re fine but everywhere else it’s totally useless XD)
There was one point of interest, which I must explain. See, Zina takes donations of people’s old ties, out of which she makes super-cute hats, handbags, headbands, and other things like that. Then she sells them and part of the proceeds go to Susan G. Komen. The problem is that she asks way, way, way too much for them. Obviously she has to cover her costs, but you’re not covering costs if you never sell a single one. But after working there for about a year, I actually sold one hat yesterday — the first and only of Zina’s hats to sell during my time at this place.
Anyway, Wendy usually comes in after we’ve left on Saturdays to do the deposit, but yesterday she came in at about fifteen minutes before close to inform us that we were all out of jobs. I don’t know the exact details, but it seems that the lady that owned the building sold it right out from under us. The new owner tried to tell Lynn he needed to be out of there by the end of this month, but at Lynn’s protests that there was no way all the customers with clothing there could possibly make it in to pick their stuff up in that time, they gave him until the middle of next month.
Given that the function I performed at this job is no longer taking place, that made yesterday my final day of work. Wendy and Brandie, who did the pressing, will go in tomorrow morning to finish up the last of that, and that’s the end for them. Then just Lynn and Zina will man the two stores in order to hand out people’s clothing and give all the customers the bad news. Oh, and I should probably mention the setup: the other store’s just a drop point; all the actual dry cleaning and pressing was always done at my store, which is where all the equipment is.
As unhappy as I am to be out of a job and all that entails, I am far more unhappy for Lynn’s sake. He’s been running this place for 16 years, and all of a sudden to have it completely taken from him like this… Recent road construction in our immediate vicinity had already more than halfway killed the amount of business we were doing, so honestly we gals were already kindof expecting the place to go under. Just not so soon… not like this. Evidently Lynn was only informed of this sale on Tuesday, and he was working with lawyers the rest of the week trying to prevent it, but there was nothing he could do. This was the reason he forgot to get our paychecks ready, and none of us could blame him for that.
He was on speaker phone with the three of us, and he kept apologizing. Over and over he said he was sorry and that he wished it could have been some other way or that at least he could have given us a decent notice. He said they love us all and have loved working with us, and thanked us all for all the work we’ve put in.
But the thing is, he could barely get through any of this for crying. The other two were assuring him that we totally understood and none of this was his fault and that he’s always been a great boss and we’re going to miss him. I, however, who cry at the slightest provocation and have tears pouring down my face typing this entry, was too choked up to say anything. Obviously I have to go in there tomorrow to get that paycheck and find out when and how I’ll get the last one, so I plan on taking him cookies or something.
I don’t know what he’s going to do from here. This was his entire livelihood. He and Zina have always seemed quite well-off, so I’m not as worried as I could be… I just hope they were financially ready for something like this. As I mentioned, the business wasn’t doing too well in general anyway… hopefully they already had other options in mind.
I get too attached to things like this. I actually kinda liked this job, and now I can’t help thinking sadly about various aspects of it. Zina had just repainted the walls at my store, and they looked great… and her hat business, which apparently had no online presence… and I won’t get to say goodbye to all my nice regular customers. I saw some of the nicest of them yesterday, which was good, but of course I had no idea at the time that I wasn’t likely to be seeing them ever again. And the potted plants! A dry cleaner is a great place for them, because it’s practically tropical, and they just grew and grew and grew. Now Zina will have to take them home to an environment much less salubrious.
And I had just been happily thinking, during earlier parts of my shift yesterday, about how close I am to finishing up that hospital bill from last year; about how then I could start saving up for a car and thinking about some other sort of technical training. Mou. So much for those ideas. The whole thing is just so sad to me.
But my day didn’t end there. I went home and talked to my mom, of course, about what had happened and how plans now have to be rearranged. This conversation lasted for several hours, and encompassed various possibilities for the aforementioned technical training. Of course the fact that I feel bad about freeloading off my parents came up, as it not infrequently does, and she reassured me, as she always does, that they don’t mind even in the slightest. And then…
Then she announced that she’s known for years that I’m gay, and that the fact that she and my dad have never made any kind of fuss about that, never treated me differently or made any sort of objection to what they do technically believe to be immoral should show me how willing they are to support me.
I’d always thought they must have their suspicions, even if they didn’t technically know outright from some source or other. I’d still never told them because what if they didn’t? I was always afraid they would be hurt by it, and that their reaction would hurt me, and that things would generally be painful and awkward. But it turns out they did know quite specifically, because back in 2006 or 7 mom had (completely by accident, she hastened to assure me) stumbled across a journal entry of mine that mentioned my almost telling her and then losing my nerve.
So it wasn’t really a surprise that she knew, but the perfectly calm and equable way she talked about it was. I had expected her to cry at the very least. I had definitely expected things to be awkward. Maybe she did cry back when she saw that entry; maybe she’s spent all these years getting a grip so she could talk to me about it without freaking out. I don’t know. Anyway she didn’t freak out, and she even told me with perfect placidity that she’s all in favor of equal rights as far as gay civil unions go.
I was more or less stunned. This was not the reaction I had expected. Once again, maybe that’s because it’s been several years since she actually found out for real; I can’t say. But this is a load off my heart like nothing I’ve ever felt before. My entire family (immediate family, and I have to admit that I kinda don’t give a crap about the rest) knows the truth, so I don’t have to hide anymore. What a fucking relief.
So after that I went to pick up my brother from his work carpool place, which is in the parking lot of a Safeway, and then enter said Safeway to get ingredients for my mom’s birthday dinner today. I, overwhelmed, was kinda wandering around the store at random like an idiot just hoping I would run into the items I needed, and talking at poor Lester incoherently about jobs and closets (the kind you come out of) and co-workers and mom all in a jumble.
He expressed some surprise at my story about mom. Apparently she’s mentioned to him specifically in the past that I was gay, and he didn’t know that I didn’t know that she knew. If he had realized that, he would have told me long ago. How about that. You see why lack of communication is often such a theme in my stories? XD
So, yeah. What a day. What a day. I’m still a little shell-shocked. Today I have to think about things and look some things up. But you know what else I have to do? Edit my contest story. I made really good editing progress on it the day before yesterday, and I’ll be damned if I let these events, momentous though they are, interrupt my schedule for that. Plus I’m really out now. Writing gay stuff seems an appropriate way to celebrate that.
I’m out, guys. I’m officially out of the closet. For real. Wot about that.