Meet Sparrow, an average man passing an average life…
Friday, March 30
For reasons I am not prepared to explain some of the Africans at the retailer trust me to translate important emails and letters they get…Usually, they’re pretty easy, good for them because one time Ba came to me anxiously because all he recognized was the word ‘Immigration’ on the letterhead and he was worried he was going to be deported…I read it and I forget what it was, but it was something routine and our shorthand is I nod and say OK if it is a good letter, and shake my head and say bad if it is not a good letter…The problem, tho, is I don’t speak Senegal and sometimes it is rather difficult to translate exactly what the thrust of the letter or email is.
Take today…Mamadou showed me an email from his credit card company…It was merely an offer for another credit card…I asked Mamadou if he already had a card with this company – it appeared he had – and he took out his wallet and showed me…I tried to explain it was a new offer with an exciting cash back offer but I might as well have tried to sing Dancing Queen to him for all the good it did…I finally got very basic with him, asking him if he had a credit card, which was stupid because he just showed it to me, and I asked him he wanted another one and he shook his head so I told him no, bad, he doesn’t need this email, which he more or less understood.
When I close at the retailer, as I did tonight, I do the closing pages announcing the store’s imminent closure to our valued customers…I usually start at 9:30, tho sometimes Zach, a graveyard assistant manager, has me start them earlier, but that’s completely whack if you ask me.
Anyway, I’m pretty good at it…I did some radio back in another life and stuff like this easy…One kid named Sergio asked what the secret was and he did this with the same reverence a novitiate might ask a revered monk.
Well, I told him, first you must have an idea what you want to say…You don’t need a script, but have an idea what you are going to say and the order in which you are going to say it…For example, a typical Sparrow page will start with a greeting, an invitation to bring your goddamned purchases up front for checkout and immediate egress, followed by an invitation to return tomorrow when we’ll re-open at 6am…Sometimes I might mix up the order and add wishes for a fabulous rest of their evening…But you’ve got to individualize it, I told Sergio, you can’t copy me…You gotta be yourself…For his part, Sergio said he did a closing page while I was gone last weekend and he said he needed work.
After the shift at the retailer, I went to the hotel…I generally have an hour to kill and I usually go to the convenience store on the other side of town for a couple of low-cal hot dogs and I usually get to the hotel around 10:30 or so…This gives me time to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee.
I actually work at two hotels, both under the same owners and both more or less next door…Friday and Saturday nights I’m at Hotel A and Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at Hotel B.
Just for funsies I’ve begun tracking my sleep…I’m seldom tired even tho I work graveyards five (5) nights a week and 25 hours at the retailer because I schedule my availability at the retailer very carefully, but I am curious how many hours I sleep a week because I only get six sleeps a week and not seven…Last night I got off the retailer at 10pm and was asleep around midnight and I woke up at 8:30, so that’s eight-and-a-half hours.
Snuck lunch in at the Mexican joint in the next county today, too…Before reporting for duty at the retailer at 2pm…I went to go and get the cat some canned yummies and kitty litter and reasons to not have lunch at the Mexican joint did not present themselves.
I don’t even have to order anymore…They know…A quesadilla and a chorizo burrito…It doesn’t change because no one loves routine more than ol’ Sparrow…The day is probably coming when they’ll start my order when my car pulls up instead of when I actually open the front door, saving everybody 15 seconds.
The Diary of a Nobody is a novel. All elements are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Anything else is a coincidence.
It was inspired by the 19th-century British novel of the same name.