milkshakes

After chatting with a good friend (text messaging, because, hello, introverts), I was going to write today about my “career”, the various jobs I’ve held, how I moved from one to the next, and why I didn’t go to college after high school.

So my job title has the lofty words “Vice President” in it, so, yeah, technically that’s what I am. I also don’t have a bachelor’s degree. I do have an AA I earned back in 2000. But that was 12 years into my career path. More if I go back to my first jobs.

I had a couple of jobs in high school. Some babysitting, of course. Another job was more of a “real” job, in the sense of an actual wage and paycheck. It was going door-to-door for an interior design firm and leaving flyers attached to the doorknobs, targeting new and well-to-do subdivisions. They paid by the flyer, and it probably was less than minimum wage, but I was able to bring my walkman with me and listen to music as I walked around, and I kind of liked the isolation of it, not having to deal with co-workers for the most part, except when I had to go to the office to grab the case of flyers.

And then there was a two-week stint at an ice cream parlor/cafe. The entire two weeks was one anecdote after the other of me not doing things well enough for my manager, and her getting more and more irritated with me, and me with her. There was the time I tried to wait the few tables in the cafe but was too slow for her, and the time I hadn’t stocked things in the freezer to her liking, and as she was inspecting my work, I felt the impulse to lock her in the freezer. I stopped myself.

The two weeks ended on a day that was 100+ F outside, and me working the ice cream counter while the line went outside the door.

She showed me how to make the milkshakes, a fairly simple process of adding the ice cream and milk, if I recall correctly. When the day first started, I would scoop out the appropriate amount of ice cream, add the measured amount of milk, and voila, a minute later in the blender, milkshake. There may have been more steps. It was 35 years ago.

But the day was heating up, the line was growing, and I started to get a bit more sloppy about measuring, but always erring in the customers’ favor. My manager noticed this. She yelled at me in front of the customer, not only attempting to humiliate me, but also inadvertently letting the customer know she was upset that I had added too much ice cream in their order.

I don’t do well with being yelled at. Who does, really? I asked her in very calm, calculated tones, if she’d rather make the milkshakes herself, and continued without letting her answer, that at that moment, I was more concerned with getting through the long line than with whether or not I was putting an ounce or two more ice cream in the shakes than she wanted.

I could see the customers near the front of the line watching us intently. The one whose milkshake I was making seemed to like the idea that I was adding more ice cream. One of the customers further back in the line threw his two cents into the conversation, yelling for us to just hurry up and make the damned milkshakes.

My nameless manager (seriously, I have forgotten her name, but I’m guessing Karen) came behind the counter and showed me again how to measure the ice cream to get the right amount. I repeated that I didn’t have time to bother measuring that carefully because the line was out the door. The customer I was serving chimed in that he agreed. Another customer heckled her, as well. She said something back to them, and I honestly don’t know what she said but I know it was along the lines of her being right and me being wrong. Between us not getting along, the heat of the day, the noise, her pickiness about exact measurements, it all just got to me. I took the milkshake I had just made and threw it in her face. Then I took off my apron and walked out the door.

It was a defining moment. One I have never, ever regretted. One I’m possibly a little too proud of.

I never got my final paycheck. I should have. I could have. I didn’t bother.

My story starts before this, actually. The story of why I didn’t go to college after high school. But as I was thinking about my jobs, this is where my thoughts took me for tonight.

That was still in high school though. I graduated high school in 1987, somewhat miraculously, if you ask me. I mean, I failed P.E. twice, got Ds in a lot of my classes. I cut school more than I went. I hated school. Heck, at one school, I started a fire in the garbage can on the last day of school. Because I had a special hatred for them. I laugh about it now.

But even before then, it all really starts in 1979. The year we moved to the United States.

See, I didn’t want to go. I had just turned 10, and I didn’t want to leave everything I knew. I wanted to run away from home. I kept thinking about running away, all the way up until the day we moved. I tried hiding in my grandmother’s basement, but they found me. I tried hiding in a cabinet in my aunt and uncle’s house, but they found me. I tried running off into the woods. Not enough woods in a walled-in city. And so off to the U.S. of A. we went.

I went through the rest of school, three different middle schools thanks to all our moves, as well as high school, with one goal in mind, and one goal only: getting away from home. So from 1980 through 1987, that is all I concentrated on. Get the fucking diploma so I could get the hell out.

There’s more to say, but I’ll save it for another post.

Good night, all. Much peace and love to you all.

“After secretly picking up words drifting in void, I now fall asleep in this dawn. Good night.”—BTS, Blue & Grey

1 Response

  1. That’s amazing. I’m in awe. You do things I never could. <3

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