Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Fourth Dimension

I believe in a fourth dimension. It exists and I’ve been there. You probably have too if you’ve ever been in a 24/7 convenience store between the hours of 2 and 4 a.m. in the morning. It’s frequented by those experiencing altered realities, usually self-induced through the likes of Jack Daniels, Captain and Cokes and a whole other manner of means.

Then there are those insomniac and night owls who think it’s okay to go to the store in your pajamas or use your outside voice inside. Gravity still applies, but mobility is an issue. Those who can walk do it in a slightly more exaggerated fashion. Don’t ask them to do the put one foot after another thing unless you want them to dive head long into the Doritos and cheese dip display.

That isn’t to say there isn’t some law and order in the fourth dimension. In fact I’ve seen some of the protect and serve crew there for late night coffee or a snack to tide them over. However it isn’t around bar time when you also see some of the more colorful characters keeping the clerks entertained at the Gas & Gulp. The tipsy and inebriated are like vampires and sunlight when they see the boys in blue or brown hovering around the late night watering hole.

In the midst of all this chaos in motion are the convenience store clerks. I do not envy them the overnight shift. There’s always the risk that someone will enter the establishment to rob it despite the video surveillance or in one memorable case come in dressed as a gorilla to steal the Styrofoam banana on display.

Of course it helps if the clerk is in a world unto themselves. One woman I know has a bipolar thing going. When I go into the store I don’t know if it’s going to be Dr. Jekyll or Mrs. Hyde. One time I went in and she was practically over the top with how well things are going. The other day she tried to run over my feet with a floor scrubber. She didn’t say a word as she left a watery path in her wake.

Fortunately trips to the fourth dimension are only minutes in duration and I’ve suffered no real ill effects. To be honest there’s nothing convenient about the experience.