Holidays Suck

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Super Speedway Gas Station, Yorktown, Va.

Jada couldn’t believe she had to come in and work on Thanksgiving. She turned and returned to the manager's office to find out why she had to work.

“Bruce, why am I working on Thanksgiving Day from two until closed? I thought I was going to have it off?” Jada stands in the doorway of Bruce’s office.

“Because Tammy wants Thanksgiving dinner with her family for the day off. I can’t cover it, and neither can Sidney. So, you got drifted for it. Why should it matter? It’s time and a half pay for you.” Bruce looked at Jada as she stood in his office doorway.

“Why am I always getting the short end of the stick all the time? I worked the last holiday we had and the one before that all because everyone doesn’t want to work.” Jada hated getting the short end of the stick.

Whenever she wanted to take some time off for her doctor appointments, no one would cover for her, however, when someone else needed to take time off. She always got drafted to work their shift and sometimes her shift as well.

“Look, Jada, I know it sucks. However, you are the only one with no family or life outside the store. So, you'll always be selected if I must choose between you or one of the others. Besides, don’t you need the money to pay for your operation?” Bruce knew Jada was transgender.

“Money isn’t everything. I might have wanted to spend Thanksgiving with my friends for once instead of working all the freaking time.” Jada turned around and stormed towards the cooler to refill the beer, sodas, and milk racks.

She grabs her sweat jacket as she walks into the cooler. During the summertime, she didn’t mind going into the cooler. Especially after she had been outside emptying the trash and picking up the trash around the parking lot. The cool air normally cools her off.

Jada was frustrated that she had to work another holiday while everyone else with families got to go and spend time with their families. The bad thing about it was she was working the shift by herself. She needed to find a better job.

For the next thirty minutes, she refilled everything in the cooler. She’ll let Bruce ring up the customers while she cools off. She wishes she never took the job here.

The problem was she didn’t have any choice in the matter. When her foster parents found out she was crossdressing and going out dressed as a woman. They threw her out of the house. Not that they needed a reason, considering she was only a few weeks away from turning eighteen.

Her social worker had said she would be dropped from the foster care system because of her age. As for her real family, both her parents were in jail for years. Her mother was a cook, and her father was a drug dealer. They had been busted with enough drugs on them to hook a city.

Her foster family was friendly to her, but they had a prejudice against the LGBTQ community. They believe if you were born a male, you’re a male. If you were born a female, you were a female. God didn’t make mistakes, and if you went against your nature, you were going against God’s will. Nothing you said could justify your actions in their eyes.

Her parents had been the outsiders. They had moved to the town after trouble with a rival gang in the city she had been born in. So, when they came to Yorktown, they hoped to make lots of money because it was mostly country out here.

Jada finishes restocking the cooler and walks out. She hangs her sweat jacket and grabs coffee to warm up. Many products that needed to be put up on the shelves still came in.

Since no customers were in the store, she started restocking the shelves. Bruce can handle any of the customers that come in. She hated retail, but she didn’t have the skills necessary for anything else. She tried the temp worker gig for a while, but it was too unreliable.

On some sites she went to, she was busy doing miscellaneous jobs around the area all week. Until the company that hired the temp agency decided they didn’t need her services anymore. On other weeks, she may work one or two days but nothing for the rest of the week.

She went to one job site where the company who hired the temp company did it because their workers didn’t want to do the work. She went home daily smelling like manure and it took three showers to get the stench off her body and out of her hair.

As for where she lived, she was renting a 16 x 20 small shed that had been repurposed into a one-bedroom cottage on an older couple’s property. She helped with chores around the farm, feeding the chickens and horses and helping the farmer when he harvested the corn.

He was a corporate farmer and only grew what he was supposed to grow. If it wasn’t corn, it was soybeans or wheat. By the time it was time for her to leave. She had everything done around the store. Bruce was going to work a little later than usual. He was still working on payroll and had to submit it to the accounts by midnight so they could get paid before the upcoming holiday.

She clocks out and walks out to her old two-door, hatchback Mercury Lynx car. One of the automotive shops on seventeen had it sitting around and sold it to her for five hundred dollars. It had a hundred twenty thousand miles on it, was in good condition, and had an up-to-date inspection sticker.

Since it was twenty-five years old, she didn’t have to pay any property tax. She had to special order tires because no one kept the old 195/75/R14 tires in stock anymore. It took a while for the heater to warm up, but it felt nice in the car once it was working.

She links her cell phone to the new radio she installed and listens to some music as she drives home. Traffic was light, and Jada got all the greens on the way home. She pulls her car into the gravel driveway and up to her little cottage.

She walks into the cottage and hangs her jacket on the coat tree near the door. She found the coat tree at the flea market down on seventeen. She loved going down there when she didn’t have to work. She found all sorts of things down there for sale. It’s where she bought her desktop computer, TV set, and most of her DVD and Blu-ray movies.

She strips out of her clothes and tosses them into the hamper. The small bathroom she had was big enough for one person to use. She had a plastic shower curtain that concealed her when she took a shower. The shower system was set up like you would find in an RV.

After her shower, she slips on her favorite nightshirt and slippers. Since she ate at work, she lay on her bed and powered up her Kindle Fire. She selects a story to read and snuggles up under her electric blanket.

She hears the wind pick up outside as it blows. She could see the old couple's house from her bedroom window. She noticed they were still up watching TV as well. She knew Mr. Filoni had been a farmer for most of his life, and his wife was a retired historian from the Yorktown Battlefield Museum.

She loved history, especially the history that surrounds this area. She has worked at Jamestown, Williamsburg, and the Yorktown battlefield. She knew more about the history of this area than anyone else. Since its inception, Mrs. Filoni’s family was among the first to settle in this region.

She is the direct descendant of John Rolfe and Pocahontas's bloodline. Her family has been here since its founding. Even though numerous children have intermarried with other families, her family still maintains a strong presence here in the historic triangle.

As for her own family, she didn’t know much about them. She doesn’t know if her mother has any relatives or if her mother’s parents are still around. As for her father's side, she has met some of them and doesn’t like them.

Her grandfather on her father’s side was a cranky, abusive old man. He had little tolerance for children and drank all the time. He was even abusive to her mother, not that her mother didn’t deserve it. Her mother suffered from mental illness and refused to follow her doctor’s direction to take the medicine she prescribed her.

However, her mother was brilliant and had a thing for chemistry. She could make any drug or prepare any drug. Her mother got hooked on a designer drug she made herself. It gave her more energy to work longer, but it also settled her mind and made her think clearly.

It was a drug she made herself. However, it did have a side effect, and her mother was suffering from it. It ages the body and uses up all your energy. It also made you look older than you were.

As for herself, when she was put into foster care. She had no idea what the holidays were. In her family, it was just an excuse for her parents to party with their friends. However, with her foster parents, she learned about the holidays and enjoyed the gifts she was given. Not that they were very fancy. She never had anything up to date like most other kids, but she had toys, games, and even a bicycle.

The first time, she asked her foster mother to dress up like a cheerleader like some of her friends were going to do for school. Her parents said no and made her go to school dressed as a mechanic. When she wanted to go to a Halloween party dressed as a ballerina, her parents made her dress as a Navy Officer.

When her foster parents caught her wearing her foster mother’s panties and bra, they whipped her ass until she couldn’t sit down and made her attend a church sponsor bible camp. The bible camp counselors watched her like a hawk and teamed her up with one of the most religious people in the group.

Jada played their game and kept what she did private. She learned of a support group in Yorktown and attended it. She wanted to know why she felt the way she did instead of stealing her foster mother’s panties and clothing. She would take her younger sisters or buy her stuff. She used the allowance for doing chores around the house or volunteering for jobs around the neighborhood.

Sometimes, she would steal something sexy from her neighbors without them knowing it. One time, while she was helping her next-door neighbor. The woman had a bunch of dresses her daughter had outgrown or left behind when she went to college.

The prom dress she wore to prom, and the bride’s maid dress she wore to a friend’s wedding was there. There were also several other articles of clothing and shoes in there. She managed to save them and hide them from her parents.

When forced to move out, she stayed with a friend for a while but had to move on. It took her nearly six months to get the job at the Super Speedway. She had stopped there to get gas for her car when she saw the help wanted sign. She filled out the application and was called the next day to come in for an interview. That had been around the Fourth of July weekend.

Since then, she has worked every holiday and sometimes pulled double shifts while the other employees took off either to handle family business or to take the weekend off. She knew Bruce took two weeks off while an assistant manager from another store came and covered for him.

Bruce didn’t have an assistant store manager at their location. No one wanted to be his assistant because he would make them do all the work while he relaxed or took days off. Jada puts her Kindle down and plugs it back in to recharge the battery. She turns, snuggles down under her electric blanket, and falls asleep.

The following day, when Jada wakes up. She could hear the rain pounding on her roof. She looked outside from her window and saw it coming down. When she goes to get out of bed, she shivers some from the cold air in the place.

She turns the heat up on the wall unit to warm the place. She walked into the small kitchen and fixed herself a cup of coffee and cheese toast. She had no big refrigerator, so she only kept the basics.

Jada walked over to her desk and turned her desktop computer on. She checks her email and her bank account. She was so far behind in the money she needed to get the surgery that she wondered if she’d ever be able to afford it. The insurance she had through her work doesn’t pay for her counseling service or her blood work.

She had to take out a secondary insurance policy to pay for her estrogen pills and shots. The insurance on her car only covered damage she received or she did to someone else. She wanted to add collusion but couldn’t afford it. So, if she hit a deer or if a deer came jumping out of the woods and hit her car, she was screwed.

She surfed the web for a while and worked on a story she was writing. It was about a young boy growing up wishing they had been born a girl and how he was jealous that girls had it more accessible than he did. It was pretty much a reflection of her life with some creative tweaking and embellishing done to it.

After working on the story for a while, she stopped and watched a few MASH episodes for a few hours before getting ready for work. She knew Thanksgiving was a few days off, and she already had to work every day leading up to it and afterward. She was getting no time off this week.

By the time she had to go to work, the rain had slacked off to just drizzling. She walks out of her car and drives to work. She was working until closing.

Jada noticed her coworkers were slacking off in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. They were thinking about the holiday and what they were having for dinner. The old couple she rented her cottage from had left and were spending time with their children.

Thanksgiving Day:
Jada got woken up early by Sammy calling her. She couldn’t make it in and needed her to go in and open the store up. She wasn’t happy about that.

When she arrived at the store, customers were waiting for her. She opens the store up and gets everything ready for business. It was a good thing Bruce and Tammy showed her how to open it and gave her the security code for the store.

During the morning time, she’s kept busy selling gas, sodas, coffee, lottery tickets, and large quantities of beer. When it was slow, she restocked the cooler and put out what merchandise she had left on the shelves. She sweeps the store and runs outside to empty the trash cans.

By the afternoon, she gets no customers. She listens to some music on her cellphone. The store was quiet as she walked around and looked outside through the enormous glass-tinted windows. Jada had a few cars and trucks pull up to the pumps, but no one came inside.

The rest of the evening, she has no customers. Around eleven o’clock, Jada starts shutting down everything. She counts the drawers and prepares the deposits but doesn’t seal them. She’ll let Avery check it over to make sure everything is correct.

By midnight, she walks out of the store and drives home. She passes a few cars out on the road but nothing else. By the time she gets home, her feet are hurting, and she has to return tomorrow afternoon to work from two till closing.

Jada fills a pan with hot water and pours some Epson salt into the water. She sits on her computer chair, takes her shoes off, and puts her feet into the water to soak. She lets out a soft sigh of relief as she soaks her feet.

Jada lets her feet soak until the water turns cold. She pulls her feet out and dries them off. She was so relaxed and didn’t want to empty the pan of cold water. She gets up and tosses the water out the front door.

She lays down on her bed and falls instantly asleep. She was so tired from working all day long. She snuggles deeper under her blanket and enjoys the warmth as she sleeps.

When morning arrives, Jada stays in bed. She didn’t want to get up because her feet and calves were still sore from the day before. She lays in bed and enjoys the warmth of her blankets and sheets.

She looks over towards her Garfield plushy sitting on a self. She found it at the flea market and bought it. She loved Garfield and Scooby-Doo as well.

Jada looked at her cell phone to see what time it was. It was still early, and she could stay in bed longer. She lays there and enjoys the warmth of the blanket and sheets covering her bed.

While lying in bed, Jada thinks about the journal her counselor suggested she keep. She wasn’t used to sharing her thoughts or emotions with
people. She knew she was an introvert, and it made things difficult for her.

She only had a handful of friends, and most of them were older than her. She didn’t have any friends her age. She lays there with her eyes closed and enjoys the peacefulness in her cottage. Her body finally makes her get out of bed to pee.

Jada fixes herself a cup of fresh brew coffee and some cheese toast. She had to be at work, but not until two o’clock. She was closing again, which she hated.

Jada puts her mud boots on and her jacket on. She walks down to the mailbox to see what mail she got. She looks through it, most of it as junk mail.

“Why can’t companies get it through their skulls? People don’t like junk mail?” Jada starts walking back towards her cottage. She stops and dumps her junk mail into the trashcan Mr. Filoni gets since she contributes so little to their trash can.

Mr. Filoni spots Jada checking the mail and then stopping at the trash can. A smile appears on his old, weathered face. At first, he was a little against renting out the cottage to someone so young, but she has proven herself to him and his wife.

She didn’t throw wild parties, and she was always neat. She even helped him with his crops and helped his wife bring the groceries in when she went shopping. For someone so young, she was a good kid.

He watches as she walks back to her cottage. He wonders what Jada’s plans are for Christmas. He’ll have to ask her the next time he sees her.

Jada shows up for work and clocks in. She could already tell it was going to be a busy afternoon. She gets to work restocking the cooler. After that, she heads outside and empties all the trash cans.

As Jada walked back towards the back door, a car sped by her and hit the small of her back with its outside mirror. The driver doesn’t even stop to see if she is okay. She falls forward towards the back door. The mirror smacked her hard on her back. She grits her teeth as she enters her code and enters the store.

She walks into the women’s bathroom and checks her back. There was a red mark on the lower part of her back where she got hit. She lowers her shirt and washes her hands before leaving the bathroom. She walks into the store and behind the counter to grab some Goodies powder aspirin.

She rings herself up and charges it to her bank card. She grabs herself a drink from the fountain and takes the powder. She knew it wouldn’t kick in for at least thirty minutes.

By the end of the night, Jada is tired and sore. All she wants to do is go home and soak her feet. She also wanted to get away from the customers who came in and talked to their friends about how their Thanksgiving was.

By the time she had the store locked and the money counted. She leaves the money out for Bruce to double-check. She locks up and walks to her car.

As she drives home, she thinks about Christmas. She figures she’ll have to work both days, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

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Yeah! Holidays Suck!!

Growing up in a religious community in the 1970s and 1980s that used to double the main »christian« holidays with church services and extensive family [and clan] gatherings/reunions, I became disillusioned with the whole hypocrisy of the reasons to observe these “days of celebration”. For me they mainly marked days I was free of the mobbing and bullying environment called school. By the time I was in my teens, I tried my hardest to avoid most of the family gatherings. I much preferred the company of The Reader's Digest, National Geographic and The World Book.

By the time I reached adulthood the commercialization of the holidays had reached such epic proportions that by the time we reached T-2 weeks to the holiday I was so fed-up with the seasonal “elevator music”, ads and decorations, that it required huge efforts to hold on to my sanity. Not to mention all the excesses of food, drink and materialism. And the christian values shining by their absence.

The last Christmas celebration I participated in was in 2012, when my father insisted on a family retreat due to a diagnosis of terminal cancer. In the years prior I had refuse to participate because of the hypocrisy of commercialization and a lot emotional abuse. Even though my father intended to leave us with good memories by insisting on a family retreat and celebrating Christmas with the whole she-bang of presents big meals, for me it is a memory filled with trauma and emotional abuse.

Then there is also the societal practice of using the holidays as a convenient excuse for excessive alcohol consumption and the abuses associated with drunkenness, like physical violence, rape, murder, traffic accidents, etc.

Since I went freelance for the last time about 20 years ago, holidays (and Sundays) are just like any other days for me. Work or play, it all depended on the flow of clients and jobs.