Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Biggest Loser

I recently found myself in an uncomfortable second floor office at the local Linen's 'N' Things. I really hope that if I ever find myself there again, its because I have been shoplifting.

As I heard the words: "Here we do it all. We don't have a janitorial staff-- per se... so associates may work on registers, but they may plunge toilets," my attention shifted from the fact that my toenails were still neon orange colored from Halloween, to the fact that I had voluntarily applied for this a job in which I could have the distinct honor of turd wrestling....

Well, I did waste the time out of my day to go to the interview... I felt I may as well swallow the disdain and the cynicism deep into the shallow end of my intestinal track where maybe, before the day is done, one of the associates can plunge it out of a toilet.
As I answered the mundane text book questions they ask you at all jobs that require little to no brain power, yet the patience of a pack mule, I had to force myself to tear my eyes from the wall or floor or ceiling to focus them on the face of my soon-to-be mentor. A mental image of him walking from the bathroom with a newspaper tucked under his arm and me headed in after him in my red LNT apron, wielding a plunger danced in my head.

"Now Jennifer, sell yourself to me. Tell me in your own words why I should hire you."

Brain says:
"Well, sir. You should hire me because I'm just stupid enough to apply for a job where I may get to plunge toilets for minimum wage. I would much prefer to unclog crap from toilets here at Linen's 'N' Things than at Rudy's Barbecue where I would be making three dollars more an hour. But hey, where's the the class in shoveling pork? Aside from my low sense of self-worth, I am skilled at avoiding your customers on the floor by blending in with my surroundings. As a short person, I can duck behind items and weave my way in and out of aisles without being noticed so that I never have to talk to a single person during my whole shift! I am a fast and accurate cashier, though, I would hate to be unavailable should a mountain of feces need tackling in the men's room. I can spell my own name and tie my own shoes and don't let that expensive Bachelor's degree fool you-- I can fold towels in three different styles for showcasing excellence. Finally, though I am clearly going to dread coming to work for you, I will make up little games in my head to pass the time and my 20 hours a week will just fly by. I am also prepared for you to completely abuse my part time status by working me on the worst possible days such as weekends and holidays."

Mouth says:
"Well, sir, I am a fast learner and experienced with your customer base as well as your merchandise. I have been trained to run a register as a cashier as well as a Front End Supervisor who handles the training of the other front end staff, the book work, and the cash deposits. I have worked in receiving and damages as well as on the floor and I am certain that I would adapt quickly to your policies. I have open availability including weekends and holidays, I am well-mannered and punctual, and apparently I'll work for seven dollars an hour.

Oops that last sentence was supposed to go into column A.

So. Get this. They take my name and social security number and tell me that barring any unforeseen criminal background incidents, they would like to start me on Friday.

As I walked to my car, I tried not to bust out into a hip hop dance at the idea of comparing vegetable peelers for old ladies, explaining what the expiration date on the coupons mean, and of course-- plunging shit. But before we can truly celebrate this momentous detour backwards in my life, I get a phone call saying that they would like me to come in for a second interview?


Let me paraphrase this for you.
Seven dollar an hour job... poopy toilets.... Bachelor's degree.

They need to interview me... again? Really? Am I not going to fit in with the 14 year old pregnant girl, the manager whose belly hangs out of her button down shirt and the male cheerleader fluffing the bed linens? Do you have serious doubts as to my ability to up sell blender attachments?
As much as this is a painful moment in my life, I don't feel like I'm too good to work a job like this... I don't feel like it's beneath me... I do feel like I am plenty qualified, Bachelor's degree or not. I'm not taking this job because I can't get a job in my field, I just turned one down... (yes, I turned down a job making several multiples above the $7/hr mark so that I could prove myself to some guy who goes home and watches reruns of the Jeff Foxworthy show.) In fact, I don't even need this job. I have a loving husband who has begged me NOT to work during this time. But I'm in the middle of a certification program that requires all my focus and I just wanted to be doing a little bit, just a small fraction of earning power to bring to the table until it is done. I wasn't excited about it... who would be... but this is ridiculous. I do have enough self-esteem to tell them exactly where to put the plunger.

So, to recap: I am currently the biggest loser. I will plunge for less than a ten spot.

Here's to all of your success and gainful employment.

The Soup Has Eyes

For me, the dilemma with taking classes has always been that I have to readjust eating schedules. If I'm not confined to one space for several hours at a time, it doesn't really matter... and I know that it seems like I give this way too much thought, but hear me out.

Occasionally, I can get extremely light headed and weak without warning if I have gone for more than four hours without food and my blood sugar gets too low. I'm sure this would send up red flags to any other person, but to me, it really just means that I need to be able to drink a Coke at a moment's notice.

When you're in class for the better part of a day, its not that easy. So I always try to make sure that I eat something before I get there. Never being one to get up early or leave myself any extra seconds, the options for today were to run by McDonald's or Whataburger (I just can't bring myself to go there...) or try to find something near the school that will slap something slightly more healthful on a plate for me.

Today's culinary adventure took me to a little Japanese restaurant and sushi bar. I went there knowing that if there was nothing on the menu that I recognized could be safely eaten before a four hour class, I could always fall back on a nice plate of California rolls and Sashimi. Feeling adventurous, I decided to give the Cham Pong soup a try.

The description was that of a spicy noodle soup. Mmmm.

So imagine my surprise when they placed before me a GIANT bowl (preceded by a variety of appetizers that I tried but had no clue what they were) of tentacles. It was loaded with all kinds of seafood that I have never in my life had the opportunity to try. I'm not sure if I feel bad about that either.

So, I poked around, realizing that I had infact ordered a spicy deep sea treasure trove of food for the brave. With a flick of the chopstick a crayfish popped forward and looked directly at me as if he was ready to challenge me to a game of Texas Hold 'Em. Are you supposed to eat food that still has eyes?
There were tentacles with little suckers on them and even clams.

Long story short... I'm starting to see what all those vegetarians are all about.

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