Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Worst/Best Job Ever

For one sparkling, muggy, Northern Virginia summer I had a cushy summer job. The summer did not start out this way. I began by working at my local Target where my starting pay was 50 cents less than my younger sister (with no job experience) at CVS. Managers, that had the mental capacities of chimpanzees, told me to “straighten up my lane” or other such bullshit things that made it appear like I was doing work. One day when the store opened I brought along a book to read during down time. There was a ton of down time in Target at 9am on a Tuesday. But, alas I was scolded for reading when there was no one in the store and that I “should get back to work.” This was pretty much the last straw.
The following week, still working at Target, I had gotten another job working for the homeowners’ association in my town. This association picks up trash from dumpsters at public pool, does minor construction on pathways, cleans tennis courts, and cuts grass along medians and streets. Before starting at this new job full time I needed to muster up the courage to quit Target. This courage came in the form of a phone call from my best friend Dan. Dan called asking me to go with him to see the third installment of the American Pie trilogy. Now, I loved American Pie as much as the next sexually awkward teenager, but quitting my job to go see the third seemed to be asking a bit much.
On the other hand, Dan is very persuasive. All he had to do to convince me of going was to offer me a free ticket and some candy. Yes, I will quit any job for a movie so long as you pay for me and buy me Sour Patch Kids at the theatre.
My job at Reston Association (RA) started out consisting of me being at work by 7:30am (which I despised) and taking “orders” from a crack-pot middle-aged gentleman that didn’t like hearing he was wrong and doing minor/light construction around town. Most of what we did on a day-to-day basis was “backfilling.” This basically meant shoveling dirt from a dump truck next to a pre-existing path so that grass could grow closer to the path and there would be less chances of sprained ankles from possibly falling of the paths. This job sucked. I became very well adept at shoveling, mixing cement, driving large trucks with larger blind spots, and digging holes for posts. Work could only get easier. Thankfully it did when one of my best friends (working in a different “department”) had a run-in with a large yellow cement post at the drive-thru of Taco Bell. He left a large dent in the driver’s side rear quarter panel and was not allowed to drive the rest of the summer. He and I switched jobs, which he had been raving about the whole summer.
This new job was the zenith of any summer job I will or ever had. I was responsible for cleaning and sweeping our two sets of pseudo-clay tennis courts in town. I got to ride these cool tractors with brooms attached to their backs and blow leaves. The catch came in the fact that my new boss was very trusting and good-natured. I would get to work around the same time, tell him what I planned to do and went on my merry way. I cleaned both sets of courts, that took about 90 minutes, and I then proceeded to go back to my house. At my house I lied down on my couch and watched some early morning news and eventually fell asleep from around 9:30 till about lunchtime. My mom would come home from her part-time job and ask if I was supposed to be working, and I explained that I was “working.” I’d eat lunch with my mom, and then hop back into the company truck and drive around for the remainder of the day listening to the radio. All this while getting paid a hefty $9/hr. for doing not a whole lot.

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