Sunday, April 6, 2014

Decaf

On Friday my friend, Janet, came over for coffee, pastries and some catching up.  We used to work at a lighting shop years ago and she recently asked me to write a reference letter for her.  I've never done that before and so I asked The Big Daddy what I was supposed to say. 

"Do you like her?" he asked.

"Yes," I responded.

"Here's the rule about that.  If you like the person you write a lot.  Everything you can think of that will be useful in a job.  If you don't like them you make it short and sweet.  Their possible, future employer will get the message."

I can't say it was a stellar recommendation because the line of work she's looking for is completely different than what we had done together.  I did my best, but what I like most about Janet wouldn't quite work in a reference letter.

Her and I have probably worked a hundred different jobs in our lifetime.  We've done everything.  "I get bored," she said.  "I need to move on after awhile."

Me too, friend.  I'm a mover onner which isn't exactly what most employers are looking for.

I have often felt like Lucille Ball working the conveyer belt at the chocolate factory.  I have no idea how I've gotten myself into some of the employment opportunities presented to me except for an ever present attitude of "what-the-hell-why-not."  Qualifications be damned.  I've got charm and when it's firing on all cylinders I can get my foot in the door.

When I got hired at the lighting shop I thought it was about picking out pretty lamps and shades.  That was some of it but it was also recessed lights, ceiling fans, puck lights, rope lighting. sconces, chandeliers.  There were thousands of bulbs in the back room.  We did lamp repairs constantly and to this day I can wire my own lamp and hardwired the chandelier in the dining room.  I was usually so overwhelmed that when I saw some old lady coming in with a hideous brass lamp I ran to help her because I knew she'd take an hour deciding between a white or ivory shade and I'd be off the hook when the electricians came in.

******

The guy who hired Mark was married to the loveliest woman who owned a catering business and she asked if I might be interested in working some parties.  The pay was $25.00 an hour.

$25.00!!!!  Sign me up.

It was without a doubt the most grueling exhausting work I've ever done.  Hours running around with trays.  Loading, unloading, cleaning.  You earned every cent of that hourly wage.

At one party I was serving coffee and a woman asked me if it was decaf.  I had no idea and went in the kitchen to ask Dorothy and her daughter.  "What's she like?" they asked.

"Oh, kind of an older woman," I replied.

"Older like in her sixties or older like more than seventy five?"

"I'd say she's more like seventy five."

"Then it's decaf," they said.  "Old ladies always want decaf at night."

******

Somebody got their buzz on and couldn't sleep that night and somebody else got booked for another party.  There's winners and losers when you're faking your way to the next paycheck.

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