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I’ve been thinking about liminal spaces a bit tonight. And truck/rest stops are often considered to be liminal spaces. Having family a few states over, I’m no stranger to family road trips and, by extension rest stops. There is one thing about them that I’ve thought about for years

People work there.

There are people who are not just passing through, but show up day after day, clock in, work for hours, and then go home. Where do they live? What are they like? Are these liminal spaces no longer liminal for them? Its a set destination for them now.

What sort of weird shit do they see every day that they just sigh and return to mopping the floor? The unusual that is just another day on the job. That weird otherworldiness at 3am but whatever I’m on a break. 

Perhaps they are immune to the effects of the passing spirits mixing with the mundane, cause how can you be in a liminal space if its your job? Maybe they are special caretakers that keeps the spirits moving on their way, giving directions to things no one else is supposed to see.

Either way they aren’t paid enough to deal with this shit.

so i work at a highway servo in a small rural town and i’ve done so for about a year. and 100% the creepy shit doesn’t stop, but you do sort of become resigned to it. like in the beginning i once screamed because saw myself in the mirror behind the milk and thought it was not me. but here’s some stuff i guess:

we keep the doors locked because crime exists so they make a beep sound when someone’s waiting to enter, but the amount of times i have checked the monitor and there has been nothing and no one there is not enough to say ‘general sensory problem’ but just enough for my anxious personality to be wary of the ghosts.

occasionally i discover large strange bugs i have never seen before that apparently only exist in the dead of a hot summer night. i also watch a lot of spiders crawl across the outside cameras.

once a man came in around 2am – no car, just wandered off the highway – and took every sausage roll and walked out without paying. which okay, theft happens. but he did it, looking into my eyes, and did not say a word as i called after him. he just walked in calmly, looked into my soul, remained entirely silent, and casually robbed the place. i was shook.

a cousin of mine who had been missing for three months once showed up.

and there’s this totally dead period between 3 and 5 where i usually mop the floors. which is why its weird when i find footsteps in my clean floors after ive finished.

plus, time passes differently in the freezer room . i fill up four full fridges worth of coke and red bull and other assorted soft drinks in fifteen minutes – like i’m not trying that hard its really not possible. and i know that because when i do the three fridges that cant be filled from behind, it takes me more like forty minutes or more.

i get strange customers who come in asking for directions with out-dated melways who don’t own phones and seem misplaced in time somehow but are always so very thankful. sometimes they ask for directions to places ive never heard even tho i’ve lived in the area my entire life.

or i get the same person at the same time to get the same thing every day. they have the same greeting and we have the same conversation like we’re stuck in a time loop. these pod people always come between 4 and 5am.

and i can safely say, you will never know fear until there is a 3am power outage in a storm and you are blanketed in absolute darkness so suddenly your heart stops beating. and then you have been outside in said storm taking out the rubbish and become soaked through like a drowned rat with only the weird glow of ur phone light with a painful 3% battery life to guide you.

overall its just a strange environment: deathly silent, with flickering fluorescent lights and grime in the back store that no matter how hard i try to clean never comes away and footsteps in the newly moped floor even tho there hasn’t been a customer and this room at the back entirely empty save only for ancient promotional material for products i’ve never heard of that makes me feel uneasy.

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