Odd Jobs

Yes, I’ve had many. The first my parents let me take was at age 15, teaching gymnastics. I did it for young kids to pay for my training by an Olympian coach.  I rarely saw her so helped kids in the neighborhood with another coaching job.

During college I resurfaced clay tennis courts, and took reservations for an historic wood hotel. Not at the hotel, in a cleaned-out storefront with no heat in mid-winter, no computers, just a phone and pencil and blueprints of rooms.

For a few weeks I helped a state help potential high school graduates who could not complete their $200 state scholarship application without multiple errors. I corrected their applications. My school had one error. Many schools had so many errors I knew there was a gap in education. I justified that role by trying to help education, yes I tried, not hard enough to bridge the gap. My boss, Ned, stuck to schedule and wouldn’t let me take no lunch and take a longer break. It was for a job interview, but I didn’t tell him that, and quit at break time and landed a job working for the speaker of the house as an analyst for several areas in which I learned expertise. And no, Ned, I didn’t have to put my name on every pencil and guard them with my life because I had 34 million lives in my hands every time I picked up a pencil or pen. I made a lot more money, too.

Out of work a bit a friend got me a two-week gig. It was this Indian couple who sold Pashmina scarves. It was at their home and they were preparing for an outdoor presentation. Everything was done in their bedroom, creepy. We did the event in rain and cold and the wife even lent me a scarf to keep warm. I left with them owing me $300. The whole situation was too scary to confront.

Returning from a culinary apprenticeship that was wonderful, I got work at a great hotel. I had to walk in through the basement, put on the pants and jacket of a 300 lb. man who was fired the day before, didn’t know I had to punch in (never have, never will) and spent the day, after spending all my savings on cooking school, scraping off dried cheese from onion soup bowls after they’d gone through the dishwasher. Eight hours. I went to interviews and got a job the next day so quit on the spot. No sink, no hand washing. Canned everything, I will never stay at that hotel.

For several years I hung coats, passed hors d’oeuvres and gave out name tags. This is a good job. They wouldn’t hire me because I didn’t qualify for work study. I could volunteer, though. Volunteering is another long story but I’ll give you a prequel.

After preparations, coats, name tags, food and drink and clean-up my roommate and I were taken out to a local diner by the development director for french fries and soda or coffee. It beat anything we would have had in the cafeteria hours earlier.

Don’t worry, my volunteer exploits will be lurid and there’s a potential crime involved. Cheers! Dee


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