After babysitting and leatherworking, I was ready for a real job. Fortunately for me, my older sister was the manager of Pegasus Records and she hired me--effectively giving me the coolest job I have ever had/will ever have in my life. Pegasus used to be an independently owned record store over in the plaza behind Panda Express. I worked there from about the age of 15 until I graduated from High School and started college. During that time our Pegasus was sold back to the chain and we moved over to the University Mall. It was next to Meier and Frank and I think there is some sort of scuba store there now. It was a sweet location--especially at Christmas time when the Talking Christmas Tree was soliciting customers.
At any rate, this is the job I held during my formative years. We sold records, not cds (in the beginning) and looked up artists in a HUGE book at the back of the store. There was no computer. The most complicated mechanism in the store was the honor box full of nut rolls. It was a magical time and everyone loved my sister because she knew everything and had the power to "special order" anything. We just threw away the "special orders" that were lame. Our mailman, Cam, had long hair, always wore shorts, loved the Ramones and would spend hours on the Fed's dime chatting it up and going for Spicy Enticers from Sensuous sandwich.
At times it was heartbreaking: charming long-haired boys turned out to be shoplifters, Christmas was exhausting (how much Narada can a person stand?), and the move to cds was difficult. But for the most part it was the stuff dreams were made of: a handsome customer had flowers delivered to me (said customer turned out to have a lisp), a singer in a local band bought me a puppy and wrote a song about me, the owner of the store was in the U2 video, Where the Streets Have No Name. Dreamy, yes--but every word of it true. And the icing on the cake: promos, posters, concert dates. The bad news? Every job since then has been severely disappointing.
From there I went to Sundance Ski Resort. This was during the Ghost era for Demi Moore. I followed suit and cut my hair very short. And so began my granola period. I worked as a busser in the Tree Room--a pretty good gig, but very hard work. And that buffet on Sunday--I hadn't counted on working every Sunday. Sundance is a beautiful resort and you should visit if you can, but the restaurant was an unsavory environment. It has been my experience that restaurant people usually are unsavory. There were a few decent "career waiters" but by and large I worked with losers who got wasted every night and delighted in their attempts to get me wasted. Don't worry, except for an accidental swig of Jack Daniels in my coke (whoo! they yucked it up over that) and the spit-out wine Carly's grandma tried to force on Heidi and me at the cabin once I have always remained true to the faith--at least that I can remember the next day.
In the end I realized that trays are heavy. So I quit. In an incredible turn of events on my last day of work I cut my finger open and ended up receiving workman's comp. It was my index finger, and it is still disfigured. I had to have physical therapy just for my finger. I would go in, get it massaged, soak it in the whirlpool, stick it in the warm wax for a while. It was ridiculous (as am I). In fact, I am so ridiculous that I talked the therapists into letting me put my feet in that wax. Then it would set up, and I would peel it off and put it back in the big heated container--all with their blessing. Note, they reuse that wax over and over and over. It is my general practice to leave things just a little better than I find them, or soil them by sticking my feet in.
Having regained my strength and mobility, it was time for a new job. I was fresh from food services so I decided to stay in that field. But it occurred to me: there's no way I could ever have as cool of a job as Pegasus or Sundance, so why even try? And so I took a job at the hospital. I started in catering, but quickly moved into being what was essentially a full-fledged lunch lady. I was a college student at this time and I worked 20 hours a week but only on the weekends--my shift started at 5am. If you know me, that alone is funny. Let me add this as well: I wore gray elastic-waisted pants, your basic lunchlady shirt, and a blue hairnet.
I worked with handicapped people. A boy I was dating at the time got me my own little razor blade knife for use in opening huge boxes from Sysco. I spent much of my time in walk-in freezers and used machines to grate enormous piles of cheese. I made up trays of food for people with diabetes, (which is a lot of pressure!), and made Jello cubes by the 30 x 45 inch panful. I also stocked all the freezers and pantries from a warehouse. I don't know what they were thinking when they gave me this job. You wouldn't know it now, but I remember a time when I did not weigh enough to give blood. This was during the time I worked at the hospital. I had a hydraulic-type dolly to transport flats of soda, huge bags of flour, and various canned goods. This dolly is the sort of thing you see them using at Cosco to move goods up and down off the shelves. When the shelves were stocked and I was waiting for the next mealtime rush, I would go into the warehouse, lock the door, curl up on a big bag of flour and go to sleep. (I know it sounds like I made that up, but it's true.)
I have many vivid memories of the people (all of varying mental capacities) and the machines. In particular, I'll never forget when my gross boss told me intimate details about herself, her on again off again boyfriend, piles of laundry, and their love life. At the time I remember thinking, "Wow. When I'm older that will probably seem normal to me." It's not. Of my time at the hospital all I can say is, I can't believe I did that.
After tiring of the 5am shift and actually pretending to forget about daylight savings and going in an hour late and acting like I thought I was on time once a la George Costanza, I realized I couldn't keep it up much longer. And still, though I was done by early afternoon and could go to church, working on Sunday sucked. Stay tuned for the next installment in this series.