I haven’t had to work in a jewerly store as a goldsmith for a couple of years, but after 18 years of doing it, you get in a rut. I still get bitter about Christmas. My wife gets mad at me for not being more festive about this holiday, but a holiday focused on unmitigated greed and conspicuis consumption gets my dander up.
I have dreams where I am sitting at the bench and every half-baked repair I ever did on some piece of really crappy 10k mall jewelry is back for another repair. Last night was a doozy. Maybe I was paying a pennance for past sins, but I’d swear I was there.
I dreamt I was sitting in a store in the mall and It had all the key players in any properly staffed mall store. It had the middle-aged store manager who wants to be the upwardly mobile district supervisor, the young assistant manager who is single and has real slick hair, and cheap suite then we have the older sales lady who is a born-again who is constantly dropping religious flyers around the store trying to save souls, and what store would be complete with out a couple of 18-20 year old fluzies with low-cut sweaters and tight skirts circling the floor looking for commissions, and the token young salesman with the fake CZ earring and the counterfeit Rolex hoping to look like a player. The worst part is, I have an apprentice who has every flap of skin on his skinny, tatooed body pierced with some device. They keep him in the back with me ’cause he is an angry little cus.
So there I am with a massive pile of crappy jewelery piled high and job envelopes everywhere and not a clue as to what goes where, and thinking it doesn’t matter, it is all crap. They get what they get and they better not pitch a fit. This is not like a normal dream. I am thinking as I am sitting there, “How did I let this happen? What did I do to end up here?” The incessant holiday music is killing me and my apprentice is so jacked up on candy canes and energy drinks he is more useless than usual, and as I sit there having an imagined or dreamt panic attack I make a pact with myself that this will be my last mall Christmas. It was so vivid I remember the fluzies coming back asking me stupid questions, just like they did in the real world. Stuff like, “Can you size this ring up to a 22?” or “Is white gold platinum?” and even their tight fuzzy sweaters weren’t having the usual effect on me or my attitude. Thank God it was only a dream. I woke up and stared at the ceiling for a few minutes and realized my hands hurt and my jaw was locked, just like if I had been there.
Every year Christmas gets better and the old ones are a distant memory. I only had one Christmas order this year. Merry Christmas.