Friday, June 11, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________

Contagion 

So Jim wakes up today and tells me that his tonsils are swollen. Oh bloody hell, that's how I got started. I'm just starting to get a little better too. I really hope he manages to head it off with the "drowning" method. (i.e. he drinks so much water so often throughout the day that whatever has got him is flushed out)

What really amazes me about housework is how it's such an ongoing maintenance thing. I could've cleaned like mad just three days ago and the house will need more work. Seeing as how I've been incapacitated as of late this place is a travesty and I'm thinking of holding a study group here this Sunday. Which means that I need Jim to be in the pink of health to help me whip this place into shape. I'm sore all over and tender as hell, I don't think I could clean effectively solo. Not that I'm the world's greatest housekeeper either.

So here's the deal with how I feel. I wake up feeling wretched, choke something down and actually feel decent for about an hour. Then it starts. I start to feel bogged down, stuffed up and sore sore sore. If you touch me, it feels like I'm bruised. Recalling that stupid blonde joke, no, my finger is not broken, I really -do- hurt all over. All this discomfort is in a constant crescendo until nighttime by which point I can barely move. You can imagine that I'm not looking forward to tonight's shift at the cart.

Jim's mom works at Cartwheels which is a company that rents those carts that you see along pathways in malls that aren't stores but are hawking merchandise. She got me a temp position with one of her renters. Most times people use these carts to sell trinkets, cheap jewellery that they buy from Thailand (and sell for upwards of $20/piece) $10 watches (from Hong Kong) etc. Basically stuff that would not be able to support an acutal store at the mall. Every so often, you get some people whose stuff -will- do well in a store in the mall but want to start out with a cart just to market test. There are a few problems with this, one being that people are used to paying more at a store and less at a cart. So if your items are store priced, people will get the impression that whatever you are selling is overpriced. Another being that it doesn't help you reach your target market effectively, because carts are so generic and usually only attract the bargain-hunting, can bargain damn well people. Not the best environment to test your market. I'm working for the latter scenario.

I'm selling Trolly Dolly merchandise. Up until this point, it's only been sold in upscale gift shops. Which means that she -can- charge $31.99 for a baby tee (you can see nipples through the white ones) and $27.99 for a tank top. You have to remember that the sales tax here is 14.5% so those prices are even more ludicrous. (side note: most of these carts -include- GST and PST with their list prices) Factor in that no one here knows what a Trolly Dolly is (neither did I, really...) because it's European slang for an air stewardess you have a really really slow cart. So slow in fact that I stand the risk of having my hours cut (and I'm only working 12hr/wk for 2 weeks). I can understand why nothing is selling. The designs are really cool, but it's not like the average mall walker is going to pay more than $10 for a t-shirt from a cart. Especially not one that you can see your nipples through. I did manage to sell one on my last four hour shift though, but it was to an airline stewardess that was actually looking for us. It was luck, really, not my sales prowess.

So the whole point about this is that even though I'm sick to the gills and it only gets worse as the day wears on, I have to fill a shift today from 5-9pm just because it's probably the only hours that I'm going to get. The economy is just abysmal right now. No jobs and no one has the disposable income to spend on an obscure European in-joke. I mean the lady in the adjacent cart asked me how sales was. I told her that I sold one thing in four hours. She said that that was actually pretty good. Holy shit. I just hope that she pays me $10/hr and not minimum wage.

I'm hoping to have dinner with Jim's dad tonight after my shift. I'm not sure that he would want to meet up with someone who is potentially contagious but I really want to see him. He came back early from his vacation yesterday. He was looking forward to and planning this vacation for the longest time. He was going to take his kayak to a group of islands that he had never visted before and camp on the various shores before paddling home. He's the kind of guy that enjoys this sort of thing.

He kicked off the vacation with terrible weather. Bad weather really sucks the fun out of being in the outdoors, not to mention the ocean conditions in a storm. He was rained in for three days before the rain abated a little and he decided to go to another island. The water was still choppy so it was not a plesant paddle. Picture this. You are in a place you've never been before, will probably not return to and instead of being able to look around and take in the environment you're waging war on it to get from one point to another. It's disappointing on so many levels. He finally made it to the island and pulled his boat up on shore. He turns his back on it for five minutes and when he turns around, it's 20ft off shore. Being that the boat is your lifeline, this is a very grave matter. So he dives into the water after it. Halfway there, he starts to get hypothermic and gradually starts losing control of his limbs. Clearly he cannot make it to the boat and he's too far away from the shore to gamble his remaining energy trying to get back to it. Luckily he's got his radio on him and he calls in a mayday to the coast guard. He's rescued by a prawn fishing boat but now his kayak needs repair and he's lost his paddle and his spray skirt. Nothing, really considering how close he was to losing his life.

Right now he's really bummed out (and that's the understatment of the year) and I just want to see him. I would completely understand if he wants to spend the next few days alone but if he wants company, I want to be there for him. I feel so bad, just because he was really psyched for this trip and now there's doubts in his head about his age and abilities. He isn't young anymore, but he is fitter than most at his age. Jim's right though, regardless of his relative fitness level, he's not fit enough to be taking risks like that.


posted by Joie! at 10:38 AM

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