Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Working hard for the money

All three boys are napping (I keep Fisher a couple days a week) and Evany is passed out in her bouncy seat, so I have a few minutes to sit down and blog. Yay! Today was our first day back after spring break and I feel like we should just throw in the towel and declare it summer vacation. Vacation! Oooh, I love vacation.

And hotels. And restaurants. I like food. Which is why cruises are my greatest love. It's food and vacation and a hotel all rolled up into one big, fat, lazy deck chair.

Ahhh, cruises. It's been too long since I have enjoyed a good midnight buffet. Whoever invented midnight buffets has my undying love and affection. It's an amazing idea. That and the ice cream machine.

I spent about two hours with one of my friends from years and years and years ago trying to remember a song we used to drive around town aimlessly headbanging to after work. All we could remember was the word "chicken" was either in the title or the song or maybe we were eating chicken while listening to it. I couldn't remember the tune or the chorus, just that it had something to do with chicken somehow.

And listen, I now know that I should be a researcher for a living, because with no more information that that along with the general year we thought it was from, I totally tracked it down. It was amazing. I had no idea my brain could work that way anymore.

The summer after I graduated high school I worked for a big old company basically filing stuff along with some other college students as a summer temp. It is, coincidentally, how I met the friend I mentioned above. We worked from 6 am to 2 pm every day, which sounds good because you get out of work with a ton of the day still there, but getting up early enough to make it at six is brutal, especially when you've just graduate high school and are staying out way too late every night. We spent all morning exhausted, filing mail and talking about whatever we'd gotten up to the night before, laughing too much, punchy. I remember one morning Keith was an hour late because he fell asleep while taking a shower. Now that's tired.

I spent hours a day making copying, sorting mail, and delivering faxes. We walked around a lot. One day, someone wore a pedometer and we learned we walked about five miles a day delivering faxes. We did everything with the absolute bare minimum of effort. although I did love using those little rubber page turner things on my finger. We talked too loud, slacked off too much, and were basically the quintessential summer temps, living for break time and lunch and quitting time.

Somehow, though, I ended up always getting assigned these terrifically difficult jobs searching for lost files. Now that I think of it, most likely because I was loud and easily distracted and they wanted me out of the way. But anyway, when we'd need to pull a file and it wasn't in the right spot, my boss would send me into this humongous room filled with files from floor to ceiling...a room that someone could probably die in without being discovered for days...a room in which you could scream as loud as you could and no one could possible hear you...and basically tell me to have fun.

I can't even remember the whole thought process, but basically I'd have know what it SHOULD be filed under...such as MEL784639. Or something. And I'd basically have to figure out ways that the letters and numbers could be scrambled accidentally, or how the color coding could have been mixed up with a similar color, and then work my way through all the possible variations, hoping I would find the original file. An L could have been filed with the E's accidentally, pink could be mistaken for orange, and swapping a number for another was super common.

But I'm a little competitive (I hear you guys laughing, people who know me in real life. Okay okay, I'm very competitive), so those files had nowhere to hide. I tracked them down like crazy, like a bloodhound after....whatever it is bloodhounds are looking for. Blood? Anyway, I was good. And it balanced out an otherwise boring job.

My friends and I used to sit around wondering what it would be like to work there for the rest of our lives...this company had a lot of lifers, and we all thought it would be the worst thing ever, that there was no way we could stand to sit in a cubicle all day, or in our cases, deliver things to cubicles all day. But now, after almost six years of being a stay at home parent, there are some days when that job feels like the holy grail. Breaks! A cafeteria! Getting to stop working at a set time every day! Feeling accomplished by doing something as simple as finding a file!

The grass is always greener, though, and I wouldn't give up getting to raise my kids at home for anything. I'll do it for as long as I can make it work. But as much as that job drove me crazy, I remember it really fondly today. I made a couple of intensely close friends there, and through one of them I met the guy we all would have sworn I would marry (but didn't). And I'm remembering all this today because of one song.

I love how music can do that, encapsulate a whole era.
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