Confessions of a Feather Duster

Chimes Article 05/17/10

Aside from needing to pay rent, I thought finding a job would be a good way to make friends with people that weren’t my wife or cat. When I was offered a position working at a local video rental store, I jumped at the opportunity. “Let me get this straight,” I said. “Video stores still exist?”

Luckily it seems that VHS is coming back into style, which I think is a sign of hope for my stock-pile of laser disc players. It’s only a matter of time, my friends. What I expected to be doing at the little mom-and-pop video store was occasionally renting out a video while spending the majority of my time watching movies or reading. What I’m actually doing is frequently being given the task of cleaning the gay and lesbian section with a feather duster; a task that frequently results in people questioning whether I actually work there or am just very flamboyant.

You want to see my world? Imagine my face on this guy with even less clothing and you'll get a glimpse into my world. Just a glimpse.

An elderly woman who co-owns the video store with her equally elderly dog, I realized, is the kind of person who wouldn’t allow me to be standing still at any moment in time while on the clock. The problem, however, is that there really isn’t a whole lot to do in a video store apart from making sure that you’re not mistakenly handing a child a copy of the film “Brokeback Mountain” instead of “Scooby Doo,” which I almost did. Twice.

For this reason I have found myself with daily tasks such as feather dusting keyboards, lampshades, windows, DVD cases and the elderly dog, which begs the question: In terms of cleaning, how effective is a feather duster? The answer is c) not effective at all.

“Did someone tell you to use Windex on the shelves?” she asked me, fully knowing the answer.

“I was told to clean them, but not use Windex.”

“Did I tell you to use Windex?” she asked, again fully knowing the answer. “No, you didn’t.”

“Let me ask again, did I or anyone else tell you to use Windex to clean the shelves?” “No, neither you nor anyone else has told me to use Windex.”

“Then why did you use Windex to clean the shelves instead of my Windex and Green Clean mixture?”

“Because I couldn’t find the mixture.”

“But you used the Windex anyway without asking me first.” Yes. I got it. Don’t use Windex.

It’s at times like these that I really miss the friends I left behind. Although I may have resented them in the past for leaving piles of dirty dishes wedged between the sink and the faucet until no plates could be removed without breaking something in the kitchen. I must say in retrospect I would gladly take the messy friendships over the spotless and empty countertops I have to feather dust each day.

Of course, I have worked worse jobs in the past, and with all things considered, this one really isn’t too bad. Jobs are all about what you make out of them, and part of having a job is making that job a place where you would like to be. For me, this job is a place where I can meet people with a common interest who I would otherwise have never met in the first place. I just hope I don’t meet them while feather dusting.

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