NOTE: I do not actually have a favourite aunt! But there is one that we CALL “my favourite aunt”! I love both my aunts equally.
Christmas Eve. The year is now forgotten.
I always worked Christmas Eve. It was usually a fun day, people were usually in good spirits. There’d be the odd disgruntled shopper who was upset that you were sold out of Shania. Most people were pretty cool and didn’t want to act like a jerk at Christmas to a stranger.
It was getting close to the end of the day. Everything had gone pretty well. I was dressed up in suit and tie. I always did, on Christmas Eve. It was a tradition my boss had started, but I was the only one who carried on with it. (The only thing that bugged me: He made me wear my big, ugly store tag with my suit and tie. This thing was huge, like the size of a post card, laminated, hanging from a string around my neck. The idea was, how were people to know that you worked here if you weren’t wearing your tag? Well, hell, maybe the guy wearing the suit and tie behind the counter knows?)
I was tired, but my Favourite Aunt from Calgary was coming to town! I’ve written about her in past chapters. I only get to see her about twice a year, but it was always nice to have her around at Christmas. It didn’t happen every year.
The previous evening, the 23rd, had been marred by a last-minute crackhead woman trying to sell us a garbage bag full of crap CDs at closing time. By comparison the 24th was a cakewalk. Until 5:00.
An hour before closing, I got a phone call from a calm sounding but clearly upset woman. I can’t remember the scenario anymore. All I can remember is that it was a no-win situation. We’d messed something up that couldn’t be fixed. We probably promised to hold something for her that was clearly gone. I can remember that it was for her son, whatever the missing item was.
I apologized, I tried to explain how something like this might have happened, but my apology was not going to be enough.
“That’s not a satisfactory answer,” she said. “You’re going to have to make this right.”
I was tired and there was an hour until closing…and now this. Jesus Christ!
Suddenly, a giggle…a snicker…a laugh.
The woman on the other end of the phone goes, “Michael. Don’t you know who this is?”
I didn’t know whether to be relieved or pissed off! It was Aunt Lynda. My Favourite Aunt.
“You handled that very well,” she added helpfully.
“Thanks a lot!” I said. “I nearly had a heart attack!”
“Oh you’re welcome,” she said, and giggled again. Aww hell, it was nice she was back in town. And it was also nice I wasn’t in shit. If something like that had happened an hour before closing on Christmas Eve for real, that would have haunted me all Christmas, I swear to God.
So, to my Aunt Lynda, who is actually in town again this week, this one goes out to you! It’s good to see you again!