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Friday, February 16, 2007

An ode to my sanity

"One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important." ~Bertrand Russell

So the other night I had a bit of a crying/screaming* fit and it was a lovely throwback to the tender age of four. There might have even been some laying on the floor and kicking of my arms and legs and flailing. Then I had some thin mints and did some yoga and suddenly I was rational again. Amazing how that happens.

* crying/ screaming = saying fuck, a lot and hanging up on el Madre.

The truth is that I was and am suffering from a severe case of ‘oh my holy fucking shit’ syndrome. Symptoms include severe swings between ennui and eating macaroni and cheese in while watch Oprah and sitting on my ass furiously typing and hoping and then typing some more. Then my eyes started to burn and I thought they would fall out of my head if I kept scrolling up and down on my little Bordeaux and/or I’d go blind. So! In lieu of me going blind and/or postal I did the most rational thing I could think of: ignore everything else except for my blog. Duh.

Did y’all know that if you ask the internet for help, they will help??? Especially if you write that you are about three seconds away from a straight jacket embroidered with your initials. Oh they will. Ergo, a few of them, whom I now would like to make out with decided to lend a helping hand at guest posting, while I try to just be…

And so I present to you an entry by the lovely Isabel, of Hola, Isabel

Look at me; first time guest blogger, long time fan. Heather, thanks for giving me the chance to guest blog at your shiny site. I never thought I’d see my words posted next to pictures of the glorious Miss Foxy Brown. I like it.

So let’s get right to it.

Let me tell you about the time I stayed at a job about 2 years longer than I should have.

My family moved the summer before I graduated from college. By the time I graduated and moved back home they were settled into their new town. My younger brother and sister were enrolled at the local high school and doing just fine. They didn’t move far away. Really only about a 20 minute drive from the town I had grown up in. The town where all my high school friends still lived (you know, except for the ones that moved away to college to). So while I wasn’t really that far away, I still was far enough away that life wasn’t going to be the same for me.

I decided that I needed to make the best of the situation. I needed to make some new local friends. I figured the best way to do this was to get a job which would force me to meet new people. A job where people my age worked. A job where I could be surrounded by people my age. Preferably hot guys who were my age.

I kept my eyes open for a job like this every weekend when I came home to wash my laundry and eat my parents food. (Dude, I was a poor starving college student. Of course I came home on the weekends to do my laundry. Plus, my Dad would always fill my car up with gas. Thanks Dad.) I finally found what I thought was the perfect job at the local convenient store. I had been in there a ton of times and realized that all the girls that worked there were super cute. And super chipper. They wore cute little uniforms with the store’s log on it and had cute hair. Plus, all the hot guys from town were always in there getting sodas, chewing tobacco and filling up their trucks. And there was a drive-thru window. How cool is that?

I had a few more months before I graduated, so I kept scouting out the joint. By the time I moved home, I was sure this was where I wanted to work. Lucky for me they had a “Help Wanted” sign in their window. I promptly applied and got called in for an interview. I was pretty confident that I could get this gig. Being fresh out of college, I knew I needed to wear a skirt and look all professional. (For a job at a convenient store? What in the hell was I thinking?) Anyway, I showed up for my interview in a nice skirt. There were about 8 other girls there for interviews. I got a little nervous until I looked around the room and realized I was the only girl there not wearing cut-off shorts and a tank top. I wanted to scream; Hello, have any of you ever heard of job interview etiquette? I guess not.

I had noticed that this convenient store only hired girls, and cute girls for that matter. I felt pretty confident about how I did in the interview, but what if I wasn’t cute enough to actually get the job? What if they had interviewed some other girls that I hadn’t seen? Girls that were cuter then the ones I had interviewed with? And what if they actually liked girls who wore cut-offs? I started to psych myself out.

Whatever. I got the job. I started the following week. They gave me my uniforms, spent a few days training me on the proper way to fill a refill mug with Pepsi, and I was good to go.

Good to go!

The girls I worked with were all awesome. (Okay, the older ladies that also worked there weren’t as awesome. That’s because, I’m convinced, they were jealous of my youth.) We all bonded instantly. They were really good gals who were funny and made the new job even better. And then there were the hot guys who came to the drive-up window all day. Glorious, glorious hot guys with their youthful bodies and their yummy, kissable lips (and which I didn’t fully appreciate at the time). You would be surprised at how much Pepsi a 19 year old can throw back in a day. And since I was new to town, it was even better. Have you ever been asked out on a date through a drive-thru? It’s exhilarating. Really.

(Okay, not really. Are guys so lazy that they can’t walk inside to ask you out on a date? Yes, they are that lazy.)

I had a lot of dates. I met a lot of the customers. I met my (first) husband through the drive-thru window at the convenient store (I can’t remember, but let’s pretend that he actually walked inside to ask me out). I met some of my best friends working there. Heck, I even got my life in order through the example of the other awesome gals I worked with. So what’s the problem?

The problem is that after I married the hot younger guy, I stayed on at the convenience store for a few more years. I was a married, college graduate who worked for peanuts at a small town convenient store. I filled refill mugs all day for people who were too lazy to get out of their car and come in to get their own damn Pepsi. I cleaned the public restroom after high school students shit all over the walls because they were too drunk to poop in the toilet. I swept the parking lot twice a day because people are slobs and can’t seem to throw their cigarette butts into the garbage cans. I put up with being sexually harassed by the owner of the store (and select customers) on a daily basis. I worked the opposite shift from my husband. I worked every weekend and Holiday. I was forced to wear a “uniform” with a picture of a scantly clad pin-up girl riding a bull. A bull that glowed in the dark.

I shudder just thinking about this. I’m mad at my younger self for putting up with this for so long. I’m mad at my former husband for not encouraging me to quit. I’m mad at my parents for not advising me to get a real job. I’m mad at my friends for not taking me with them when they quit and went on to get better jobs.

I can usually look back on past experiences and see though all the rubbish and be able to appreciate the good that came from the experience. To know that I’m a better person because of it. But I can’t with this. All it does is make me feel ashamed. And while I did gain some new friends, which was really all I set out to do, I also lost a lot. I missed out on chances to spend Holidays with my husband and family because I was working. I missed out on actually working towards a career. I missed out on life because I didn’t make enough money to do anything fun. I even think me working opposite shifts as my husband lead to the demise of our marriage.

What’s the moral of this story? I don’t know. All I know is that I’m giddy I don’t have to wipe shit off the bathroom walls anymore.

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Anonymous chirky said...


1. You cleaned crap off the walls? That's nasty.

2. You wore a uniform with a girl riding a glow in the dark bull?

Oh, honey. Please divulge the name of this convenience store, if it's still there, and where it is located.

Your description ALMOST makes it a tourist attraction.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Isabel said...


I can't tell you the name of said convenient store for fear that they will hunt me down and kill me with the bullets they sold.

(Bullets? Did I forget to mention that not only did they sell soda and candy but they also sold hunting supplies?!)

I wish I was making up the part about the uniforms. I wish. (Seriously, it glowed in the dark!)

11:38 AM  
Blogger Frema said...

Wonderful guest post, Isabel! I'm sorry you had such a rotten experience with this job. But now you have a much better job, and I'm thinking a more mature husband, who wouldn't tolerate his wife experiencing sexual harassment in the work place.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous kerrianne said...

Huzzah! for sanity, and! guest posts.
: )

Isabel: Your story reminded me of the time I was waiting in Starbucks for my babycarrot sister to finish her shift, when a fifty-year-old man and a twenty-something woman walked out of the bathroom they had entered, together, and proudly declared that they had just had sex, IN THE BATHROOM. Both my sister and her shift supervisor looked knowingly at the new guy. "Happy First Week!" they said, and handed him the mop.


1:21 PM  
Anonymous LisaBinDaCity said...

"All I know is that I’m giddy I don’t have to wipe shit off the bathroom walls anymore."

I bet ;-)

7:22 PM  

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