HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VEXATION
Recently I was inspired to write something compelling about my summer job, before I remembered that there is nothing compelling about it. Nonetheless I forged ahead, for when push comes to shove (usually around 3 P.M.), there is something within me bigger than myself*, something which will always drive me, against all odds, to make stuff up.
Being a summer gig, mine has lasted only 2 1/2 months, but bear in mind this is equal to 387 Customer Service years. Customer Service (motto: “Smilingly Refunding Your Befouled Froot Loops Since 1805″) is my position at a major New England grocery chain that, in the interest of artfully veiling its identity, I will refer to only as “Scarf ‘n’ Barf, the major New England grocery chain”.
Don’t get me wrong. As Customer Service, I have had the opportunity to perform numerous vital functions, such as:
1) Taking back fetid seafood,
2) Taking back REALLY fetid seafood,
3) Announcing over the speaker to various managerial beings with names like “Ted” that they have a call on “405,”
4) Directing customers to the restrooms, and
5) If restrooms are full, directing customers to the Fresh Maine Lobster tank.
I suppose one could argue that some of the exigencies involved in my job would serve as valuable exercises for those with severe antisocial tendencies. Unfortunately, these I do not have.** Not to toot my own horn, but as a 14-year-old in Florida, I trod the boards as Maisie in what was scientifically proven, in extensive laboratory tests, to be the world’s worst production of The Boy Friend***. This was before a nightly audience of 475 senior citizens bused in against their will, such that 474 were justifiably disgruntled about missing "Wheel of Fortune", and the other one (Lester) was asleep.
Still, early on in my current gig, I tried to convince myself it would serve as excellent practice for more advanced theatrical endeavors down the road. Think the scene in Hamlet where Hamlet informs Ted (official title: Perishable Manager****) that he has a call on 405. But this is not how things turned out.
My job takes place behind the Customer Service Desk, which I originally thought was a sensory deprivation chamber, but it is in fact so much more. It turns out my work area is filled with the odorless, colorless Rapid Neural Degeneration Gas (RNDG), the likes of which not even the presence of an adjacent Starbucks can combat. I present my evidence in the form of this authentic transcript (sponsor: Pedigree) of my cerebral trajectory during work:
Typical thought 5 minutes into work: Of course! The definitive cure for cancer is painfully obvious! It’s (THOUGHT INTERRUPTED BY CUSTOMER WISHING TO CASH “BINGO MANIA” LOTTERY TICKET).
Typical thought 10 minutes into work: Why do customers act as if signing up for a Scarf ‘n’ Barf Rewards Card is a major milestone in their lives? Is it a major milestone in their lives? IS IT???!!!
Typical thought 15 minutes into work: Hey! That girl over there is a girl like I’M a girl!
(Curiously, my coworker, the Evil Presence, thrives in the presence of RNDG. But then the Dunkin Donuts vs. Starbucks issue is also a major source of turbulence in her weltanschauung.)
So I am eager to leave my job, and not just because it could be performed with equal finesse by — and I say this as a Loyal Member of Your Scarf ‘n’ Barf Team — the Fresh Maine Lobster. I am eager to come to Aarkvard, and not just because of the myriad, unparalleled intellectual opportunities that await me there. These eagernesses stem from a much weightier, more intricate issue, which I shall call, for lack of a euphemism, “my Scarf ‘n’ Barf shirt”. This garment has the same general appearance and consistency as a shroud, but less sex appeal.
Thus, needless to say, my mental state has been such of late as to render me unable to create anything nutritive (or non-phlegm-based), but I have learned Core Values, such as The Core Value of How To Receive Your Paycheck. Also, it has given me an idea for my own grocery store, where you would never have to smile at anybody or take back anything, and could basically just be an evil bitch. I even picked out a name for it. The Evil Bitch Grocery Store.
I realize this missive has smacked of negativity, rather in the same way the Kalahari smacks of sand. So I should close by reiterating how much I am really, really looking forward to coming to Aarkvard and meeting you. Who knows, I may even smile at you. But try and make me take back your Froot Loops. C’mon. Make me.
*It’s a chromosome. If you stretched it out it would reach to the moon.
**Or I didn’t, until I started this job. Coincidence? You decide.
***It is documented that several scientists contracted herpes merely by sitting it out through Act I.
****Nobody else thinks this is funny.
© 2007, Nicola McEldowney/The Snark Ascending