I grew up in a household where every occurrence became a story. Not in a fictional way, but man, we would make the most mundane things seem so dramatic and exciting. Which made life pretty dramatic and exciting, because somewhere in the back of my mind, I was usually thinking about how I would tell this story.

It was also especially easy for me to pick up stories while I worked at Arby’s. For example, let me tell you about the cat man.

One night, I was working drive through at the end of a long shift full of frustrating customers. Really, in the drive through, frustrating customers are the norm. The headset beeps–yet another car preventing me from doing my clean-up duties so I can finally go home. But none of that comes through when I greet him.

In response, I hear a person clearly attempting to imitate a cat’s meow. I get angry and yell at him–but not actually at him. I haven’t yet pushed the button that lets him hear me. Fortunately, before I can say something inappropriate, one of my coworkers hears me.

“Is he meowing?”

“Yeah, I got an insane idiot at my speaker meowing at me.”

“Don’t say anything!” she says quickly. “This guy comes through a lot. He wants a regular sandwich without the bun. He gives it to his cat.”

Just as she finishes speaking, the insane idiot on the speaker says, “My kitty says she’d like a regular sandwich without the bun.”

Let me assure you, there was nothing endearing about this incident. Especially by the time he got to the window–actual face-to-face interaction–and he meowed at me again while I was cashing out his order. Minimum wage simply does not pay you enough to deal with things like that.

But the whole point of this is I’ve stopped living in storytelling mode, and my life is the poorer for it. I’ll work on fixing that immediately.


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