Friday, February 1, 2013
I'm Officially an Old Lady Now
When I first went back to work part-time in 1979, when my son Matt was six months old, it was one of the first times, really, that I worked with anybody who wasn't a relative or my best friend. Having been a full-time mom for two and a half years, though, it was heaven getting to interact with actual grown-up people.
I dipped my toe back into the working world by starting in retail. Everybody should work in retail at least once in their lives. It would teach them a bit of humility and humanity.
Everybody I worked with worked part-time. Do retail establishments even hire full-time people? I'm guessing no. We had no benefits; no insurance; no paid time off. We stood for four to six hours a day (or, in my case, night) in high heels, clenching our jaws into a hideous facsimile of a smile, while bitchy customers....well, bitched.
I am always nice to store clerks, and to customer service people. Why would one want to piss them off? Will that ensure better service? From experience, I will tell you; no.
Because we all worked for only part of the day, we arranged coffee (and, frankly, smoking) dates with one another. Sitting in a booth at the Village Inn, we spent hours airing our grievances about store management; while flipping the lid up on the plastic coffee decanter and refilling our cups. The waitress eventually got sick of us just sitting there; and she'd finally just breeze past us; and not ask if "everything was okay", because she just wanted us to....GO ALREADY!
I made friends with all kinds of ladies. Women, like me, who had toddlers at home. Moms whose kids were all in school, so they were earning a bit of extra money to fortify the household piggy bank. Divorced ladies with sad stories.
I got to know a really kind, older divorcee, whose life had been a wringer of tears and betrayal. She'd survived the ravages of three marriages, and now she was again on her own; robbing from Peter to pay Paul the auto mechanic, because, once again, her car had broken down.
So, I'd drive over to her apartment and pick her up; and we'd have coffee together.
As she sat in the passenger seat of my car, I watched her file away bits of paper; coupons; a dollar bill or two; neatly inside her giant cave of a purse. If only my files at home were that organized!
I thought; this woman has her entire life stored inside her purse!
Well, I'm that woman now. Only not as neat.
My friend Barb, taking pity on me, gave me a wonderful purse that she no longer used. It's not all that big, but I am amazed at what I am able to store inside it! Amazed; yet sheepish.
There was a time when I carried a checkbook and a pen and perhaps a comb in my purse. Now I have everything! Cell phone, checkbook (that I never use; but I still feel the need to have it handy); my wallet with all my necessary bank cards and store rewards cards; packs of cigarettes (naturally); a hair brush; lip balm; three sets of keys; my stupid work badge; little reminder notes; year-old packs of gum; my husband's eulogy that he wrote for his mom (I don't know why I have that in my purse, but I'm keeping it).
I could last at least five days just on the contents of my purse (five days only, because once I ran out of cigarettes, I would commence to attacking people at random; and then they would have to kill me in order to save themselves).
So, yes, I have become the old lady whose life is encapsulated within her leather bag.
The sad part is, I'm not even one bit embarrassed by that.
(A blast from the past, but oh so timely today): Yes, that's right. After careful consideration, I have decided to run. Oh sure, you...
Well, I did it. Not only did I accomplish the goal of writing 14 songs in 28 days, but I actually wrote 16! So, here you go. They'...
What? Ray Stevens? The guy who did Gitarzan and The Streak? What do you mean, a genius? Isn't he just kind of corny? I sometimes thi...