About a month after I got off the road, and my visit home, I landed in a city close by and thought I may as well start adjusting to the real world and get a job, any job,just something to keep me occupied. Normally I don't work in the off season, but considering this off season was going to be forever I thought it a good idea to jump right in and start adjusting to my new life off the road.
I lived in a run down motel for about a month, staying up all night, drinking coffee, smoking, and playing the blues on my guitar, just generally feeling fucking sorry for myself.
During the day (When I finally got my ass out of bed at about one or two in the afternoon) I'd wander around the new neighborhood getting familiar and wondering what the fuck I was going to do next. It's not uncommon for me to spend a month doing fuck all when I first get off the road, I'm usually beat and need this time to recuperate.
One afternoon I said to myself, "Self....today you're going to apply for the first job you see, regardless of what it is". I reasoned that no matter what I took as a job, at least it would get my ass moving.
When I walked out of my motel room that, cool overcast day to go buy cigarettes at the closest convenience store, I was dreaming of hot summer days, not working at a fucking convenience store.
There was a help wanted sign on the double glass doors as I entered so I applied. The girl that interviewed me was half my age and nice enough, she hired me on the spot and asked if I would please work the night shift because everyone else was afraid to and I looked like I could take care of myself. "Looking like you can take care of yourself doesn't help if some asshole has a gun to your face though", I told her. She explained that they had never been robbed and that it was just the unruly bar crowd most people couldn't handle. I said sure, ok.
I've been dealing with unruly people as a Carny, and on my crew for most of my life, so how bad could it be?
Well fuck me! What a bunch of little bastards they were, not all of them, just the ones with their hats on sideways and their pants hanging down their ass. They were cautious at first, being the true wimps they are, I'm not exactly the friendliest looking guy, one of my girlfriends said i was an "Ugly hunk", though I don't know how you can be a hunk when you're ugly.
I was calm and quiet that first evening when they started rolling in from the bar, watching, waiting for the first challenge, I knew it was coming. I was wise enough to know that because none of these little assholes knew me, they would push to see what was behind the scary mug, and I would show them, or be forever walked on. I've dealt with these little pricks for years on the road, on my crew, on the Midway. It's total bullshit that you have to beat any of these little fuckers up to get their respect. People that act dangerous are not dangerous, if they're giving attitude just call their bluff, it works every time.
Here's one example.
As a large group of them were paying for their stuff one one of them stole a lighter, thinking I didn't see, snickering to his buddy. He was the last in line and I waited patiently. They were all filing out the door one by one into the parking lot after they paid. This little prick was just about to walk out when I finally spoke. I called him back and then walked around the counter to meet him. I told him nicely to put the lighter back. He started to deny he took it, staring me down, his hat sideways, a product of too much MTV.
We were the only ones in the store, his buddies all milling around out in the parking lot. I stopped him in mid sentence and told him nicely that I liked his pretty hat, and that I would knock it off his pretty head and then step on it while his buddies watched. Then I told him I'd take that nice gold chain off his neck and keep it in place of the lighter,the choice was his. He didn't like me or what I said, but he did respect me and handed over the lighter without anymore bullshit and apologized. His attitude was gone now and I saw the real guy, he thanked me for not confronting him in front of his buddies and left. I never had a problem with any of them again, yet no one else it seems could handle them.
I learned a lot being a Carny. One of the things I learned at a young age is that you cannot ask for respect, you must assume it, people who ask for it never get it.
I did that job for a couple months, then the area manager offered me a job as a territory manager. It was a very good job and payed well, I almost took it, but I declined, packed up my shit and headed down the road to another city, forever restless.
I'm set up in a small apartment overlooking main street, I have enough money to get me through till spring if I want. I have no idea what I'm going to do as of yet, I'll figure it out, I always do. I'm dreaming of Midway lights, crowds, and hot summer nights.
I'll probably go looking for a Carnival in the spring.