My day began as it had countless times before, bursting through my front door in climate-inappropriate clothing and stomping down the stairs. I didn’t have to stomp but I enjoyed it. The creaking of the wood reminded me of the time that I stomped right through one of the stairs and blamed it on wood-rot to my landlord. He and his elderly father (both Chinese) spent the better part of the next Saturday repairing it while I stayed inside playing video games on the government dime.
I had woken up that day at around 2 PM although I hadn’t actually bothered to check the time. I knew it was late because the squirrels I feed were screeching at me while I made my way down to the front lawn, peanuts in hand. I threw one in between two squirrels, one grey and one black, and watched them chase each other over it. Eventually, the black one scared off the grey and triumphantly devoured its reward. I threw a bunch more peanuts up in the air, invalidating their struggle, with several loudly landing on my roof. They say you’re not supposed to feed wild animals or they’ll get dependent on it. I say animals should worship men as gods.
It was -14°C and I was in a t-shirt. My little viewing session of the neighbourhood rodents had left my arms numb, so I was now essentially immune to the cold. I decided to take a walk to the convenience store (also owned by Chinese people), which is the only business around me that doesn’t get too picky about masks. Maybe they do but I’ve never understood a word they’ve said to me. I’d probably hear them better if they weren’t wearing masks. I walked down the driveway and saw a delivery truck pull up across the street. My neighbour gets half a dozen deliveries a day, left out in the open all over their front porch. I bet it would be really easy to steal one or two or all of them but he’s a repairman and I have no need for replacement dishwasher parts. Turns out being a repairman entails ordering shit other people could just as easily order and looking up .pdfs on Google about how to take apart a machine. I think he probably makes over $100,000 a year.
To his left is the house where domestic disputes are heard all across the block. Husband and wife in full-on shouting matches. Barefoot on the front lawn while their shirtless children drive ATVs in circles on their property all hours of the day. I’ve gone out to read and work out at 3 AM and seen one of the kids still driving his ATV. I have no proof he’s ever stopped. I think that family probably makes more than the repairman.
The trek continued as I made my way to the major intersection with no legal way to cross on foot. Jaywalking is one of life’s simple pleasures. Seeing the rage on drivers’ faces as you casually stroll down the busy street, taking time to enjoy the cool winter air and the pleasant melody of honking car horns. One driver tried to play chicken with me once but you’d have to be an idiot to think you could get away with brazenly hitting a pedestrian. I just smiled and waved as if to thank him for stopping as he came to a screeching halt.
This time another man was crossing from the opposite side as well. I nodded at him and he nodded back. Good. Men who don’t nod back aren’t human. If you did a survey on men who know what I’m talking about and men who don’t, the ones who don’t would probably rank really high on the autism spectrum or have some kind of sociopathy. Yes, fellow man, I am acknowledging you. We are not enemies. 20,000 years ago I might have killed you on sight had you not nodded back. Today I probably would have just spat on the ground once he passed me.
I arrived at the convenience store. The sign reads “[REDACTED] Corner Store.” The building itself is very clearly just a house that’s been sectioned off, with one half being a store and the other half being their residence. The property is littered with random sheds, dilapidated vehicles, and picnic benches. I have never seen anyone have a picnic there. I briefly wondered what it’s like to live in a place where random people burst in at all hours of the day, with a bell on the door telling you to drop whatever you’re doing to sell them shit. Somewhere in this house is the most stressed out dog in the world. Every time I go here I can hear it furiously barking, the dog more aware of how bizarre this arrangement is than its owners. It sounds like a German Shepherd. Chinese people love German Shepherds. And Huskies. It’s a status thing for them.
The owner greeted me. I said “hey there,” in acknowledgement and went on pretending to browse. I knew what I was there for but it seemed polite to act as though I could have bought anything. It clearly had the opposite effect as she stared at me intently, probably thinking I was looking for something to steal. I was, actually, but it’s more fun to think about stealing things than it is to actually steal them. I probably could have taken anything I wanted and there was absolutely nothing she could have done to stop me. The dog knows what I’m thinking and barks louder.
I made my way to the cooler, to get what I actually came for. Soda is not something I buy very often, but this particular day seemed to call for the black cherry soda I’ve had a couple times from this store. I like it because it comes in a glass bottle and cherry is top 5 flavour for beverages in general. I grabbed one (the last one) from the cooler and brought it to the counter. I also grabbed one of the pepperoni sticks sitting by the cash register, thought about it for a second, and grabbed two more. Placing everything in front of her, she began to ring them up. You can pretty much guarantee that convenience store owners will upsell everything. If the MSRP is 99¢ you can expect to pay $1.25. I was livid I’d have to break a $10 bill for this.
She asked me if I was cold while she bagged up my purchases. For a second I had no idea what she was talking about before I remembered that most of my upper body had no feeling at this point. “Ah, not so bad,” I said, throwing my change in the bag (didn’t feel like fiddling with my wallet). I turned around and left. I didn’t notice it on the way in but there were a bunch of bongs sitting by the door with a “19+” sticker sitting beside them. I thought about how it would feel to grab one and smash it on the ground, and then how it would feel to smash the bottle of black cherry soda I had in this bag. There’s no place in this world for people who act like that, however. Not yet. I left, grabbing a sizable icicle off the canopy over the door and threw it at their parking lot as hard as I could. It shattered into a million pieces. She was still looking at me through the window.