Girls with pink hair, boys with chains on their leather jackets.
Mothers with fur-lined hoods and rowdy sons, fathers with button-downs and quiet daughters.
Couples, oddly matched, or perfectly- and loners, weird, or status quo.
It's Saturday night on Coventry road, and I have no energy to do anything but notice the characters. I can't appreciate them. It's all I can do to tolerate them...I'm tired, and I keep thinking to myself: I have got to stop working this shift.
The problem is the extra hour. If this were a Thursday evening, I'd be wrapping up in 45 minutes, ready for my evening to taper off into snacks and web-surfing and sleep. The bookstore is open till ten on Saturdays and Fridays, though, so I am here for another nearly two hours. This shouldn't pose a problem, given how much I love my job- except that the girl sneezing by the local-author section is driving me crazy with every dainty atch-oo.
I know why I get so tired so early. I'm up pretty early, and usually after only 5-6 hours of sleep. I push my body all day, and although I approach the evening with enthusiasm, I generally reach 9 o'clock and want nothing more than to be quiet, free of responsibility. This is why I ought to be careful with applying to late-night cafe jobs, why I never ought to bartend...I'd be a basketcase before my shift even began to pick up.
It's my own fault- perhaps I should sleep in once in a while, or laze about all day instead of determinedly riding my bike in the rare Cleveland sun. I am so stubborn, though, about things that I like (or dislike) doing; I am reticent to give up anything, even if doing it all is going to hurt. I don't want to waste my daylight hours, so I shove off the covers fairly early in the morning. I don't want to watch the sunlight from a stationary position indoors, so I pedal around town, cold or not, enjoying my vitamin D the best that I can under a down hooded coat. It's all I can do to get my head against the pillow for a mid-afternoon recharge, knowing that the thermometer reads higher temperatures than it has for three months- and once I'm up, I'm back on my bike, chasing the silver-bullet Healthline down Euclid towards work. Naturally, I refuse to give up work, even a shift with hours I tend to dislike, because I love the store and I love Suzanne and I don't want to pass up the possibility of a good book floating over the counter or flitting about the shelves.
So. Saturday night has a different vibe than my original, beloved Thursday shift. More people are out and about, enjoying Coventry on a weekend. Foot traffic means more people wandering in and out, adding to the static but not necessarily the atmosphere...hungry kids make angry footsteps as they pound around, up and down the stairs, waiting for a table at Tommy's. I've been exhausted since 7, and I keep thinking about the heart-to-heart I could have with Suzanne...my head is foggy, my nerves are shot- but I don't want to give up any time here. Even when it's busy and I'm unequipped to enjoy the activity, I'd rather have my Saturday night here than anywhere else.
One reason why just walked out the door, the last in a line of just-fed Tommy's patrons, a little girl with tight braids. I was annoyed when her family ventured upstairs, meaning they and their voices were staying for longer than a passing-through- but as they left, she said, without looking at me, "have a happy day," and pushed the glass to head out the front door.
Thank you, I did, and my last hour just got easier to pass.