The story began a couple years back when the grocery store that current employs me added a eight new self checkout machines. It was an awful decision. The damned things lost more money to the repairs they always seemed to need and theft than they actually made for the facility.
There is something that I must mention before I continue this story so that everything that follows makes a lot more sense. At the time that those horrid machines were up and (mostly) operational, I found working at this place somewhat mentally agonizing. Sure, I’d start the day pretty much OK, but as the hours would wear on my mind would begin to slowly shut down. By the end of a workday, I was a mental zombie. Fatigue and stress often rendered me unable to form a coherent thought. Whenever I was assigned to one of the self checkout stations the gradual mental shutdown would kick into overdrive and I hated every second of it. I resigned myself to just put up with it all in sullen silence until something happened one day to snap me out of my usual stupor.
On that fateful day, I was working at one of those god awful stations when some chick suddenly passed out. Due to my advanced state of mental numbness, I have to honestly say that it took me entirely too long to react to that. I was so out of it that I didn’t even see the event; I just happened to force myself out of my boredom-induced trance just enough to look up and see the random chick in question stretched out on the floor several feet away from me.
I’ll always remember what happened that day. It’s what made me decide that turning into a brain dead shell of myself on the days that I went in to work was something I could no longer tolerate—NO! It was something that I WOULD no longer tolerate! It had long been a real issue for me anyway.
So after my shift ended, I focused my remaining mental energy toward finding a solution. I desperately needed to find a way to keep my mind relatively active throughout my workdays. I was going to have to come up with something that was . . .
1. Highly mentally stimulating or entertaining
2. Portable, easily fitting into a pocket or a small bag
3. Minimally disruptive and didn’t interfere with my cashier responsibilities too much
After thinking about it for a while, I finally came up with this: since I’m not allowed to read at work (seriously, not making that up) then I might as well write. Back then, I really didn’t know if anything would ever come of it but I was gonna do it anyway. At the very least it would preserve my sanity and possibly offset that whole ‘mind-shutting-down’ thing.
I bought my first small notebook just for register scribbling as soon as I could and made a habit of keeping it somewhere nearby whenever I had to work. I didn’t have to buy any ink pens because, for some unknown reason, I hand been finding them everywhere since long before I thought about doing something like this. Even today, I still have that huge collection of pens. And I think most of them still work. With new notebook and ever-expanding army of writing utensils I set to blazing a paper trail into the unknown.