As somebody who works in retail – in two jobs, no less – I should really loathe Christmas. I did last year. My current lust for money is somewhat overriding this, since I’m getting a lot of extra hours and stores in Western Australia are allowed to open on Sundays in December (with extra compensation for casual workers like me). So it’s a love-hate relationship. I am fucking sick of Christmas carols, though. Does anybody actually enjoy them? I hear them getting piped out of the store’s speakers and I feel like I’m in a Christmas movie that’s trying to establish the scene.

I’m still working at a supermarket deli, the job I had for two years in university and went crawling back to after fleeing the frying pan of Korea to the fire of near-recession Australia. I’m comfortable there: I know what I’m doing, I’m good at my job, I love my coworkers and I have a fantastic department boss and a pretty good store boss. The other job that I picked up in my desperate scramble for extra work back in October is at a newsagency at the local shopping centre, where, in the Christmas season, I’m entirely relegated to the Siberian outpost that is a stand in the main concourse hocking calendars. I dislike this job because it’s fucking tedious. I stand there for five hours twice a week with literally nothing to do except ring up the occasional transaction. It eats away at the mind. At least in the deli I always have something to do.

We had some retarded woman who worked for our seafood supplier standing outside the deli hocking her particular brand of prawns earlier this week. I was talking to one guy about placing a Christmas order when she rushed up and started gabbing to him about WEST AUSTRALIAN EXMOUTH PRAWNS. I’m standing there trying to give him an order form, with customers mounting up along the counter, and she has his full attention waffling on about how if you’re a patriotic West Australian you shouldn’t be buying those prawns from South Australia, and they’ve probably been “sitting on a tarmac for hours, but these are fresh from Exmouth.”

Okay, first of all, if you want to support the West Australian economy, you should be shopping at IGA – not at fucking Coles, headquartered in the ivory tower of Toorak, Melbourne. Second of all, EXMOUTH IS LITERALLY AS FAR AWAY FROM PERTH AS THE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN BORDER IS. This is one of the biggest fucking states in the world. You might want to reconsider your “sitting on a tarmac” spiel, because those prawns didn’t fly down from Exmouth on no fucking pegasus.

I can’t stand people who demand to buy Australian stock. The first popular explanation is that they want to support the economy, because, as a special unique snowflake, they obviously have an impact on that sort of thing. The second is that they simply distrust seafood imported from Asia because of some vague environmental xenophobia – I once had a woman decline to buy scallops from Taiwan because they could have been “swimming in the Yangtze.” Apart from the fact that the Yangtze is not in Taiwan, and that scallops live in the sea, do you really think there’s the slightest chance Coles might be selling food that would make you sick and therefore get them sued?

There’s signs around my workplace that say “DON’T TAKE CHANCES – WE NEED YOU.” That makes me laugh. Not “DON’T TAKE CHANCES – WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT YOU AND DON’T WANT YOU TO GET HURT,” but rather, “DON’T TAKE CHANCES – WE CAN’T AFFORD TO LOSE THE MANPOWER.”

My dad’s starting to get his annual haul of Christmas gifts from clients, which basically amounts to fuckloads of whiskey that he freely shares with me. When I came back from Korea and went into instant $SAVINGS$ mode, I basically went from being a borderline alcoholic to a complete teetotaller. Now it’s flowing back into my life and it feels mighty fine. I missed that undescribable warm, blurry glow it gives you. I also miss raspberry wine. Oh God, how I miss raspberry wine. I had a dream about it a while back and, as I was dreaming, I thought to myself: “Man, I used to guzzle this nectar down. I should totally buy a bottle. Why don’t I drink it anymore?” Then I woke up and thought, “Oh yeah, because I can’t.”

I feel more inclined to write when I’ve been drinking. At the moment I’m using that to vomit out frivolous shit about my job rather than work on End Times or any number of short stories, but hey, baby steps.

A guy I knew on the Internet died recently. Zach Recht. It’s a very weird feeling. He was a published author and I recall commenting on the very first fiction posts he made at Hotel 23, that rabid nest of right-wing survivalists, back in… oh, 2005, I suppose. I haven’t spoken to him in years but it feels very odd that he’s dead, considering I used to have a regular dialogue with him. I’m not sad, because I didn’t really know him, but it was quite shocking to see news of his death when I was only logging into Hotel 23 for my monthly dose of crazy Republican ranting to angry up the blood. Very disconcerting. So, yeah, I just thought that merited a mention at the end of this flow-of-thought blog post. Brave pioneers of the Internet, we are.

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