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Positively the Last Ever TGIF

I’ve tried not to think too many “this will be my very last…” thoughts. I don’t do finality. Or change; even change from bad stuff to good stuff gives me the shivering willies. But, well…this will be my last TGIF. Next Friday, I’ll be unemployed and headed to Nashville to visit my dad, and whatever I do to earn my keep in the UK is unlikely to involve a traditional five-day workweek.

This will be my first significant period of unemployment since I was 15 and shelved books in a university library. I have baked pizza and I have slung doughnuts. I have worked freelance and I have punched a time clock. I’m not a big fan of making things mandatory, but paying your way working shit jobs for a few years is an enormously educational experience. I could think of an awful lot of people who would benefit from this education, many of them in Washington at this moment.

By shit jobs, I mean jobs that don’t pay for shit. I actually loved my minimum wage jobs. They were fun and physical and no big deal if you screwed up. And every day started anew; no leftover junk from the day before. If I could live on that kind of money, I’d still be doing them.

I have, however, held two jobs I absolutely hated, in succession, the Summer before I went away to college. That, too, is an educational experience.

The first was drawing pastel portraits at Opryland. I was in the New Orleans section. A live band would march down the street every half hour playing When The Saints Go Marching In until I sincerely yearned to be hauled behind them in a coffin.

I’m not good at quick sketches. Or portraits. Or pastels. I always loathe doing work I’m not good at. Also, you have no idea how many people with serious facial deformities elect to sit for their portraits at these things. There is no perfect way to say, “So, first trip to Nashville? You want the portrait with the hairy mole covering most of your forehead, or without?”

I think I lasted six weeks in Dixieland. The next job was my official Worst Job Ever: driving an icecream truck. The guy didn’t want to give me a chance. He told me it was no work for a girl; that I couldn’t handle it. That did it. I had to prove him wrong.

The physical part — loading the van in the morning — was tough, but I could manage. The driving an unairconditioned Chevy van around Nashville in Summer during a heat wave? Not so much. I’d wet down bandannas and freeze them in the icecream freezer and hold them to my fevered brow.

My territory was considered excellent: it was extra slummy neighborhoods. Rich people think icecream should be a rare treat. Poor people will spend their very last buck buying the kid a creamsicle. Of course, the occasional driver gets mugged at knifepoint in those places, but wuddryegonnado?

One day, it reached 110° outside the van, and I went home and collapsed under the aircon with a headache like an icepick to the eyesocket. I quit the next day. Told my boss that an aunt had died and left me a small legacy, so I didn’t need the work any more. I am a lying sack of weasel, but I suspect he figured out that I was, in fact, a girl and I could not, in fact, handle the job.

So…you? Worst job? Best job?

November 14, 2008 — 12:33 pm
Comments: 78