Facing Heat

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Central Oregon is bracing for a heatwave next week, predicted to be at its worst on my days off. Oregon has escaped much of the awful heat that already permeates many areas. Our pleasant summer might become less so until fall arrives. Traditionally, the most beautiful weather occurs here in September and October. August usually has a couple of sweltering weeks, but this year’s month could be hotter longer.

Yesterday’s supermarket customers purchased ice cream, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages. Many said they were headed to the coast, others would be camping in area lakes, and all were preparing for hotter weather by stocking up on eats, ice, and liquids.

I practice chatting briefly with the supermarket’s busy customers. They’ll usually share quick recipes, say why they prefer certain wines, guess at the weight of a chosen watermelon, and comment on their too-busy day. Customers dislike waiting in check-out lines, and ours are long. We checkers rapidly try to process purchases, add up prices, collect money, and offer a quick thanks and goodbye.

Other than individuals I already know or those with unique and unmistakable characteristics, all customers look alike to me, with many new faces tending to blur. If a returning customer reminds me of something we discussed briefly, the words might be familiar but not that individual. This could change as I become more accustomed to my work, which I’ve done only for about six weeks.

I want to memorize product code numbers. Those at registers who’ve been doing the job long know by heart most such numbers; they quickly check out buyers. I’m getting faster at check-outs, having learned where to find product numbers on my cheat sheet, but am slower than memory workers. Experienced checkers say memory “just arrives” from handling products frequently. Having never been much of a “numbers person,” I wonder if my brain could store many of them.

All should be well by keeping my line moving with brief, comfortable chats. Achieving more would be gravy.

Dear Friends: Always the heat is on, one type of it or another. Diana

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