Thursday, February 02, 2006

uniformed girl

With only a few days left at my little gray cubicle before entering the Big Bad Chocolate City and at least, once again, being reigning queen of my own personal space, yr girl reflects. (I will not miss this building, nor my job, but I will miss my officemate. He is 24, and employs the word "DUDE" as a noun/verb/adjective/whatever more than even *I* thought possible, which is pretty incomprehensible. I like him a lot though, and find his obsessing over Suzuki motorcycles charming. We make a cozy little pair, he and I: Me in the corner, blogging on the dime; him searching for housing options online, asking opinions every few minutes about mortgage payments and condo fees. As of yesterday, the new plan is to make his Persian nana sign up for a new senior independent living space in Ballston, and then he would move in instead. "Dude. You get 30 meals a week, and the rent is cheap!")

This certainly has not been my favorite job, but I've had worse. That being said- I've had jobs I've loved, too. For many a stuffy VA summer, I lifeguarded with friends, getting tan and eating free pizza; duct-taping younger workers to hot dog carts and then pushing them down the handicap ramp into the pool. I worked at a construction company; I had to be at work V. V. early and the owner insisted on playing Mix 107.3/adult contemporary radio all day, but he had a cat named Alex who would sit on my lap as I typed up invoices and played Solitaire. I've travelled extensively to Vegas on a company payroll, sharing a moment with Britney Spears at the MGM Starbucks during the American Music awards. But the following? Oh mama.

1. Frame Designs

My very first job was in a frame shop. I filed things, and shrink wrapped those Magic Eye posters, which were all the rage and really the only reason that shop stayed in business as long as it did. I almost died there after being electrocuted by the stupid shrink wrapping machine, which had a wire that wasn't grounded. It touched a bracelet I was wearing, and I think my heart stopped briefly. I sported a cool looking burn on my wrist for a few weeks. Other things I remember about that job: I was taking drivers ed when I worked there. Also, my boyfriend would come by and sulkily wait outside for me, and then he'd take me to a convenience store to let me get lunch: a Diet Rite, a bag of cheddar cheese and sour cream potato chips, and a Weekly World News (Bat Boy, aliens, etc.) that I would read aloud to my coworkers as we listened to Don & Mike. Anyways, FD: where lives go to end via electricity.

2. JR's Festival Lakes

JR's is a "corporate picnic site," a giant swath of land that, back when I was a wee lass, was located approximately in the middle of nowhere and accessible by only a gravel road. At least twice the summer I worked there, I witnessed massive DUI/DWI vehicular accidents on that road, as VP's of "Fill In Corporation Name Here" started drinking at their annual company summer picnics at noon and then peeled out around 6, sweaty and red faced in golf shirts, with their kids and wife piled in the passenger seats. Now, it's sandwiched between several townhome communities and a shopping center with outlets and a Home Depot. The theory with JR's is to hire high school kids for minimum wage to wear khaki shorts and purple polos. Employees do everything from haul kegs from picnic site to picnic site on golf carts, serve hundreds of people sterno-warmed barbeque and fly covered potato salad, while wearing hair nets, babysit kids on moon bounces, and, my favorite, MANUALLY PICK UP GOLF BALLS AT THE DRIVING RANGE. Those state-mandated breaks were a joke, and never happened. The only reason I lasted an entire summer there was 1. I really only worked weekends, waitressing (see below) during the week; and 2. I worked mostly with Loudoun County's juvi program, kids on parole, who would abandon their moonbounce duties and sneak off to smoke. They told terrible stories of robbing their moms and underage sexcapades, which fascinated and scared me. 3. I once saw a guy named Bill flip a golf cart into the lake while high, and then run off into the woods. When supervisors breathlessly arrived on scene to ask where he was and exactly what happened, I shrugged, and made a friend for life in Bill. At least until he got fired two days later.

3. Sommerset

I waitressed tables during the week in the dining area/restaurant attached to a retirement home. I made minimum wage, and no tips, but this place would hire ANYONE, and back in the day, there was no mall, and no jobs for people ages 14-17. Imagine waitressing in a place where cockroaches were the size of possums, the still-on-parole "chef" sold weed out on the loading dock in between serving up lima bean casserole, your customers always stole the silverware and Sweet-n-Low packets and made constant racist remarks, and at least twice during your shift, an Alzheimer's patient would start to cry because she would think you were her mother/daughter/sister. It was the hardest job I ever had, but luckily my best friend worked there with me, otherwise there probably would have been blood. Also, I once went throught the "out" door, and knocked the everliving shit out of a girl I didn't really like, who dumped her tray of food all over herself and then started screaming at me. It was satisfying.

I have not yet learned at my new job, which starts next week, if I have to work with hot food items, or Magic Eye posters. My guess is no, but I'm not holding my breath just yet.


Matt said...

We had a corporate picnic place like that nearby when I was in high school. I think I was the only person in my class who didn't end up working there at some point.

I think my favorite high school job was as a camp counselor. 8 weeks in a canvas tent in the woods, for a grand total of $500 in pay. In retrospect, I was given an absurd amount of responsibility for a 15-year-old, it wasn't the best managed place. It was a great summer, though.

The Governess said...

I was Chelsea Clinton's camp counselor. At a yearbook camp. Yes, yearbook camp. I said it.

tom said...

So spill it: how are Chelsea's yearbook skills? Hold nothing back!

The Governess said...

I do not recall her cropping skills or how well she weilded that orange grease pnecil (although, now that I think about it, I'm sure that hoity-toity school of hers had a yearbook staff that used these crazy things called "computers." PAGEMAKER!!!!!!!!)

I do recall she had a lot of overprotective blonde freinds, and that the Secret Service camped out in the dorm lobby with the vending machines.

the Nabob said...

I do believe everyone in this town has a Chelsea story.

With Dan's story about playing Asshole being the best.