Monday, January 19

Middle Of The Night Mental Illness

Late evening service call Sunday.

No, that's not entirely true - it was a planned call, an install at a local convenience store. Been waiting for it for a month or so. These calls start at 9pm and end, well, whenever you get done. I was home at 3am.

These installs are fairly consistent, hopefully only a couple snags here and there. One was a CD-ROM drive that wouldn't open, and another was a disruption that kinda trapped me in the store, since I needed to go out to the truck at one point.

Sitting on the floor behind the front counter, I became aware of an argument happening off in a corner. Aware of loud conversation piqued my curiosity, but since this was a place where popping your head up from behind a counter could make one a target a la shooting gallery style, I stayed where I was.

I soon became aware the argument had moved to within inches of the front counter, and realized there was only one voice. Cautiously standing, the gentleman wearing a black stocking cap, black slacks, and a gaudy-as-hell too-long necklace adorned with stars and moons was arguing not with the sales associate but with himself.

Complaining that there were no mini-marshmallows for his hot chocolate, the employee calmly stated "We must be out". Gotta give convenience store employees credit - it's a whole different world behind that counter. Standing or sitting, doesn't matter.

I commented about the argumentative gentleman, but rather than issuing his own comment, the employee simply said "Just wait."

He was right. About 45 minutes later, the necklace was back. And pissed off. Seems he'd left his change on the counter and THANK GOD it was still there. Rambling on about anything and everything, including his time as a police officer and again as a Green Beret, and how he'd customized his van: "See, it's right out there. Wanna take a look?"

Uh, no.

Gaudy made five total appearances last night; the employee said he stops in a few times during the week as well. Each time last night there was one more thing he had to buy. "Hey I need some duct tape!" A cup of coffee another time. Some gum after that.

But was it coffee then duct tape, or was the gum first? Like his mind, it was difficult to keep track of what he'd said, and in what order.

I mentioned all of this to Marilee this morning - multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia, any number of maladies. And lest you skimmed over a bit of the above prose, yes, this wacko drives.

So if you should ever see a blue van around 45th South and 9th East in the middle of the night, and there's a stocking-capped guy driving, keep back a bit.

He may talk you into an argument you can't win.

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