November 09, 2004

Working Girl

Ah, yes. So we find ourselves again together, glasshoppah.

Have I even started on all the fucked-up jobs I've had in my short, happy life? Well, I have; I am the only child of wealthy parents who were determined not to spoil their precious, darling, perfect, sole-bearer of the bloodline. I became familiar with the word "pressure" at a tremendously early age, and have almost, since then, managed to totally perfect the act of just-squeaking-by. Not Living Up To Her Potential, yet Playing Well With Others. I'm a slacker, no matter how hard my parents tried to bring me up as the best sort of political trophy-wife. My folks have always showered my worthless ass with Nice Things - the best of brands, the Newest of the New - but have never otherwise given me a dime. When one is trying to pay the rent, all the Chanel in the world won't help you. Unless one sells it, thereby risking the wrath of She Who Must Be Obeyed, one's mother. I've worked a lot in the past twenty years...with such a minimum of effort.

My first job ever started when I was fifteen. My father (lord bless and keep him) signed for my work permit, but the only place that would hire a fifteen-year old was a fast-food restaurant. The choices were limited in my small, southern town, so I opted, as is my wont, for the path of least resistance: I went to work at a Captain D's. Oh, yes, my lovelies - wait, that should be "me hearties" - I sweated the polyester suit, I worked the captain's hat. With my hair up in a perfect French twist and my grandmothers pearls around my neck, I worked the counter at the Captain's for almost nine months. Let me tell you, that was the filthiest place, food-service cleanliness code wise, that I have ever been - and I've been in some filthy places. Shortly before I quit, they tore out the insides of the old D's, to remodel...and thousands and thousands of cockroaches fell out of the kitchen walls and onto the floor, cascading out like something out of a horror movie. Nas-T. I fled that bitch for the Red Lobster as soon as I turned sixteen.

The Red Lobster was a whole other kettle of fish. In the year and a half that I worked there, I managed to acquire a taste for cigarettes, marijuana, and quaaludes. I didn't know it then - because we didn't have "hostile workplaces" back then - but I was running from some SERIOUS sexual harrassment on every single shift. You had to watch your ass, or one of the waiters would grab it. You had to be sure that you took a buddy back to count out your cash with Tom, the manager, at the end of a shift, otherwise, he'd try to close the door and hump you. Moreover, one never, ever, ever, went in the kitchen when the cooks were doing their closing routine - or else you might find yourself in for a rough patch of Jungle Fever. It sucked. I hated that place - I did more screaming, hand-smacking, cheek-biting, and overall bitching there than I EVER have since. I had to; only the strong survived. I was virgo intacta when I left that joint - but there were some cooks missing some digits.

Later in my high school days I worked the front desk of a dry cleaners run by a pack of newly-minted citizens, fresh from the Black Hole of Calcutta. It was an okay job - I had to get up early on Saturday mornings, but I was there by myself all day, and so could toke the one-hitter in the bathroom, at my leisure. Other days I worked two hours after school, from four to six, bagging and tagging the clothes that people would leave to be cleaned. I fancy I was a good worker; I was pretty stoned, so I can't say with any certainty, you understand.

One Saturday I dragged my wake-and-baked skinny ass up to the cleaners, and the owners - whose English was an unintelligible gabble to my untutored ears - were having some sort of bizarre religious ceremony there. They'd brought the whole family, and were dancing around a picture of an elephant fucking a brown lady, whilst intermittently smashing fresh coconuts on the floor. There were candles and incense and weird mosquito music was playing in the background. I couldn't understand what the hell they were saying, but I gathered that there was some eye-rollin', hand-raisin', Hindu evangelism at work there. THAT, I understood. I've seen them hill churches. I was wating for them to pull out the snakes.

I bailed. Went home and went back to bed. Just too weird.

I've been a dog walker, a pastry-chef, a cocktail waitress in a titty bar, a food waitress, a lounge singer, an unpaid musician, a phone psychic (long story, and entirely different blogpost), a museum historian, a photographer's manager, a market analyst, a traveling salesman, and a tech consultant, with weird little interludes of part-time extraness thrown in. I have had some fucking odd jobs, people. Hell, the job I have now is weird.

But we won't talk about that just yet. I have years fucked-up shit to get off my breast before we even go there.

Posted by Queenie at November 9, 2004 07:41 PM
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