so. i’m working.
and i have been for two weeks. i took a job at a branch of a place that i worked right out of high school. we sell magazines and newspapers and imported cigars and american and foreign cigarrettes and lotto and coffee beans and coffee to go and cold drinks and cards and candles and candy.
this means that most of my day is spent counting out coins, or being heckled by strange lotto addicts, or grinding coffee, or handling magazines that i wish i didn’t know existed, or carding 19-year-old cornell students, or vacuuming the decades-old carpet with the decades-old kirby.
and it’s weird, because i’m sort of okay with it. sometimes i have a bad attitude about the whole situation (waking up at 5 am? on a saturday?) but for the most part it’s better than not working, and just complaining about the lack of jobs in the area and watching movies from the library (i pretty much went through their whole collection).
and i’m sort of not okay with it, in the way that i know that the new playboy is $6.99 before i check the price, or that a pack of Marbs is $5 even, USA Golds are $4.15 and Newports are $5.05 and most of the rest are $5.85. or how i have the price calculated on a stack of papers before it hits the counter (on saturday, NY times+ithaca journal+post-standard+financial times=$4.75). or how i know that a scoop of coffee beans is roughly a half-pound. or that 2 rolls of nickels, quarters, dimes, and pennies equals $35 without even thinking about it.
but i’m meeting lots of people, which is great with me. my co-workers are bright and fun and funny, which was a surprise. we talk about anything from baking to chimpanzees to computer science, and there is never a dull moment.
sometimes there are terrible customers, customers who may forget that the person behind the counter is just that, a PERSON. for example, on friday a man who was ordering lotto numbers ordered the same number twice, and when i tried to clarify he told me DON’T SPEAK, DO NOT SPEAK, JUST STAND THERE AND PUSH THE BUTTONS I TELL YOU TO PUSH. and i thought, “nobody should be treated like this, ever.” but i didn’t speak, except to say “one-ten,” which was his total at the end of the transaction, and then i felt sorry for him, because here he is on a friday night belittling an intelligent woman just because she is standing behind a cash register and THEN he is spending over one hundred dollars on lotto and trading in eight dollars worth of winnings.
and i have three job interviews next week, which is the best part of all of this. because, even though i can do it, and i will do it… it doesn’t mean i should do it for any length of time. it is good because it gets me out of the house and into the city and it makes me feel productive.
but i’m worth more, and i know that.