She's making sandwiches at Subway now.
I bet she's glad no one plays Nascar on her antique rocking chair any more.
I'm guessing she doesn't miss that unmistakable odour of excrement a-la acid; a specialty of the teething toddler.
I'll go ahead and assume she doesn't mop her floor every day any more, nor shop for stain-guarded couches every fourteen days or so; leaving her stained- sproinged- spring sectionals on the curb for rodents to nest in. Probably no one leaves gifts of head lice and/or pee pee on her bed springs either.
Having wet my feet in the market place with the cushion of youthful stupidity, I managed to figure out a number of ventures for which I am ill suited.
- Anything involving public manipulation of numerical figures. For example. When I was a young University student, I took a job at Cultures Restaurant in the Portage Place mall. It was perfect for me. I was a
preppy girlprep girl. They put me in a completely deserted portion of the mall; up an elevator, down a hallway, and behind a door. I had a radio, a walk-in cooler, and a binder full of recipes. All I did was flip through those instructions and make up all those mixes. Muffin mix. Biscuit mix. Salad dressing mix. It was perfect.
- I messed it up. I must have smiled and given the impression that I was good with the public. Besides. My boss had a crush on me, and I guess he didn't like me tucked up in a second floor closet, singing along to the radio with nothing but the cranberry muffin mix to accompany me.
- I did okay behind the salad counter, dishing up leafy greens. I got really good at saying; "Would you like avacadoanddilldressingandpinenutswiththat?" Which must have led google-eyed boss man to believe that I could operate a cash register.
- Here's where it all went terribly, terribly wrong. Imagine a line up, ever growing longer. A large woman wielding a spinach salad snapping and cracking at me because of whatever I had erroneously punched into that blessed machine. Which only made my nervous fingers flail ever so much more vigorously at the number pad before me.
- I should have been re-delegated to the cranberry closet, but I suppose lusty eyes wanted me within his range of vision, so I got planted safely behind the spinach once again. Reacquainting myself with the pine nuts. The avacado. And the dill dressing.
Lesson learned? never, ever attempt a profession that involves manipulating those mysterious numerical symbols while the general public looks on. Never.
I wasn't much good at office work either. I'm afraid of the telephone, and I'd tell them anything at all, just to get off that evil thing.
- You want the Doc to call you? At home? No problem. I'll get him on that, just as soon as he's through with that double penectomy in the back room. He won't mind a bit.
- What's that you say? You've been sitting in the waiting room for two hours now? gosh. Must have gotten distracted by the design that blood spatter was forming as it crept across your abdomen. Such a great concept for a quilt project..... Sorry... I'll see if I can locate your chart here.....
Yeah... maybe a good idea to seek employment away from medical liabilities and the phone. Never did get the hang of that "hold" button anyway...
The nursing home worked out pretty good. Minimal paperwork. Zero telephones. (except when I stealthed behind the nurse's station to sneak in a phone call home. We lowly health care aides were banned from the wonders of communication unless we'd stuffed our pockets with quarters to use on the pay phone on our too-short, too-infrequent breaks...)
Problem is, I was too happy for the place. You had to be hard. Bitter. Angry.
And every single break, you had to scowl into your weak coffee and count the days, hours, and minutes until your "Magic Eighty". (Numerical. Confusing.)
But. I did get that this was the day that these women had given themselves permission to become happy. To quit working, lose that pesky 99 pounds, start smiling, and get to living.
I wasn't much good at remaining miserable for another twenty odd years. I didn't really get the point of complaining about every aspect of the job, living for coffee breaks, and then spending coffee break living for the day when you wouldn't have to take coffee breaks any more.
Then I re-met my muse. Munchkins. I noticed that it involved all the stuff I'm good at, and pretty much none of the stuff that gives me hives. I didn't have to put up with any old biddies whining about their jobs and their unfulfilled lives. I didn't have a nurse superior breathing over my neck and suggesting that I go scrub urinals when my leathery residents were done being bathed. No creeper boss checking out my behind while I'm ladling avocados and dill. No sitting indoors writing up blood test requisitions while the sun and wind danced outdoors in my absence.
We spend a lot of time outdoors, here at Joycie's house. We never use cash registers or medical charts. One of our favourite things to do is going for a walk around the neighbourhood. There's nothing particularly special about it; just an ordinary walkabout. But we love it.
Today we skirted around a large truck, and a group of men with a long hose. Another man was donning a body suit and lowering himself into a hole in the ground. An unmistakable odour wafted over to us where we watched from the safety of the opposite sidewalk. It reminded me of my dad cleaning out the sewage pit in the hog barn and hauling the waste away in the "honey wagon". (Hunny wagon? Hunn-E wagon?!) It was clear that the men were pumping waste out of an underground sewage storage.
On our return from walking to nowhere in particular, we passed by the men again. Everyone loves seeing a bunch of kids walking around. It seems to make people happy and disarmed. I commented to the big guy in the coveralls that the kids had thought it was pretty cool- seeing a man drop beneath the surface of the earth like that. What he said made me glad all over again that I'm not shutting down to make sandwiches, return to the nursing home, or face my fear of cash boxes.
"Kids. This is why they say "Stay In School"! Did you see how dirty that guy got? Stay in school or you might land up in a big truck pumping poop when you're a grown-up!"
Yup, the job market can be a harsh pill. Wonder what those guys did before they figured out what they were good at?