There’s something about working at the Home Depot that reminds me of prison. I’ve been watching that Netflix show “Orange is the New Black” which I love, love, love and if you don’t know what it’s about yet, get on it now. Women in prison, what could possibly go right? It is so good, I’m on the second round of viewing. I don’t get it when people say they “don’t have time to watch tv” and you know who you are. I have a 40ish hour work week where I can’t even cheat on that because I have to punch a timeclock (this goes against my nature) and I have managed effortlessly to watch 13 real hour-long (no commercials on Netflix, yo, this is the new world and me likey) episodes in 3 days, settle down and keep up and stop picking weeds from your garden. Jesus, it’s not that hard to sloth.
Anyway, the Home Depot. like my new favourite show, is also a community of orange-clad motley weirdos who only have each other to bond and form cliques with. Who works at the Home Depot? Everybody and anybody from every walk of life and in spite of the rigorous screening process they take to hire you, there is no typical Home Depot
inmate employee. The one thing they have in common is they all shuffle around in their steel toe boots with a kind of quiet disgruntled resignation, and some less quiet than others. Those are the “rude ones” you guys complain about on internet forums. It turns out they are not rude per se, they have just done hard time, probably a half a shift of pack down right before a power hour and a quick Harveys lunch. You try doing that grunt work, bitch, and see if you can smile and gives two shits about some kind of crack you need to seal to keep the ants out of your filthy kitchen. I’m not like that yet, by the way, I am all sunshine and helpfulness even though I don’t know what the fuck I am talking about because I have never even used a caulking gun. Why don’t you hire people to do things anyway? Honestly, I can’t imagine what makes a person wake up on a Saturday morning and say to themselves: “I am going to the Home Depot and pick up a kit of 2-part epoxy acrylic floor covering and paint my garage.YOLO!” Do you even understand how to do this? This is something you need to google, you don’t just ask some Home Depot ho with a training badge on their apron if you need to prime first. It is hard! It is science and artistry combined! Hire someone and go watch Netflix. That is my one piece of advice as a Home Depot associate to you dumbass DIY-ers with too much time your hands.
Back to my analogy, just like in prison at the Home Depot, the weak ones will be exploited. I’m sure every department has a scapegoat, the one where teamwork just doesn’t apply. It’s the one fellow employee you do not help because he/she has been a douche/douchette and you overlook the greater good, like stellar customer service and product waste so you can gleefully watch them make a mistake and then have reason throw them into the fire and toast marshmallows over their corpse like a primal savage. It’s the social behaviour you learn in kindergarten that applies in every group scenarios I am sure. Our misfit is a middle aged Indian man named Anil whose name has become synonymous with blundering asshole. I hated him at first because he 1) laughed his microcephalic head off when I made minor rookie mistakes in training and 2) he once douchefully pushed me aside when I was in the middle of filling an order on the computer. Also I enamoured by Indian people and I especially think their accents are the most charming of all but his voice has a grating quality that needs to be silenced with duck tape.
Last week, now known as Blue Monday, he took an order for two gallons of “Laguna Beach” that contains 3 ounces of cobalt pigment which is a shitton of deep blue FYI..,It could go along way filling up pails of Boothbay Harbour, Alaskan Wildflower, Cerulean Blue, et cetera. As an aside, I really want to be the one who names the colours, I would be much more creative. Blue Balls, I would call a colour just to see if anyone would notice. Well wouldn’t you know it, he forgot to put the second can under the dispenser so we were all covered in blue days because he failed to clean it up and oh, how he laughed that high pitched crazy-assed cackle when the puddle started dripping off the counter onto the floor. This is a typical Anil day.
Behind his back, this how we talk:
“He doesn’t listen to women.”
“He doesn’t listen to men either, don’t kid yourself.”
“He doesn’t listen to customers which is why he makes so many Oopsies.”
“Apparently his family died in the tsumani but when he told me the story, he was laughing though, so he might have been lying.”
“He always laughs, that’s his M.O. and that’s an awful story, now I feel bad for him.”
“Don’t feel bad for him. He keeps throwing my water bottles away.”
“No, I definitely feel bad for him, why would lie about his family?”
“Because he lies about everything, he doesn’t even punch out at lunch.”
“That’s just fucking horrific, I am enraged now.”
“I can’t believe he forgot to put the lid on the can before he put it in the shaker.”
“What a feckless maroon.”
“I still can’t believe he forgot to put the can under the dispenser.”
“Everything is still blue.”
“When I went to the bathroom this morning, there was blue in my poop.”
“Oh my god, TMI!”
I don’t care what the other inmates say, I still feel sorry for him. What if he really did lose his family and he smiles the way primates do to diffuse a threatening situation? That is why I smile at work, I am actually deathly afraid of you customer-types. What if you are like that old lady who seemed so cute and harmless in her motor scooter wearing a fright wig that looked like Golde’s from a high school production of Fiddler on the Roof? How comically sweet was she motoring down the aisle until she started spraying black lacquer Rustoleum all over the place and screaming: ‘I DO NOT HAVE RUST! YOU WHORE! YOU SOLD ME THE WRONG CAN OF PAINT!” Oh, and how I grinned from ear-to-ear my primate smile as I darted down the hall to hide in hardware only to curl up in fetal position behind the WD-40 display. Please shoot me if I become one of those self-entitled old ladies with a temper that could out-do a toddler on a sugar high. What if all of Anil’s weird and socially inept behaviour is because he is lonely and hurt inside? What if he lives alone in a one room basement apartment all the way in Scarborough? It makes me sad to think about him beyond the orange curtain. I mostly took this job as a stress-free distraction that I wouldn’t bring home with me at the end of the day with me and bonus: lifting up all those paint cans is like hours spent at the gym that I don’t have to bother with because all the men at the gym are married and what a waste of time that is. All the men who shop at the Home Depot are married too, by the way, so much for any collateral benefits. As my daughter astutely pointed out: “Single men are too lazy to paint.”
But I am really obsessed with Anil, I try to imagine his life and why he is the way he is. Yesterday, he was setting up a can of paint under the dispenser and it was obviously askew and ready for disaster. One of my fellow in-mates nudged me and pointed it out before yet another accident was about to happen and he whispered “Shhh, don’t tell him.”
The colour was “Raven Feather.”
“ANIIIIIIIIL!” I screamed, “The can isn’t under the dispenser!” And the disaster was diverted. I’m not a hero, I just didn’t want to be pooping out black for the next week. And oh how he laughed at what could been known Black Tuesday. I hope he doesn’t think I like him.