Friday, January 20, 2006

Work Isn't Working For Me

Yeah, I don’t think I like working.

When I was a wee girl clouded by naivete and visions of sugarplums in my future, I proclaimed, "I will always work! I will keep my last name! I will never be a housewife!" Now that I am a more mature (it's relative) been-there-done-that once-around-the-block kind of girl (and yet, I'm still not "[anyone] from the block") - the novelty has worn thin. I see through that pipe dream. Today I say, "When can I stop working? I will take his name! I will keep a great house and bring him slippers and a cocktail everyday! And I'll still balance the checkbook."

I should have known that work was not all it was cracked up to be when I was 14-15 and decided that NOW would be a good time to get that independent thing rolling. Yes, it all goes back to one hot Florida summer day during my daily bike journey to get the sweet treat when I saw the call of “help wanted.” You know, when ice cream talks...Frankly, this work thing sounded like a great idea to me because it would be money in my pocket - I wouldn't have to ASK for the Jordache, Guess or Esprit. I just didn't realize the, you know, work part of it. To put it in the persona of Will Farrell as George Bush, "Um, you know, uh, uh, work It's hard..."

Because little did I know that the little Tastee Freeze was run by the Wicked Witch of Dairyland. She was meeaaannnn! I missed that broomstick she rode in on. I mean, when I ordered my daily cone from the lady she was sweet like the ice cream. Birds danced around her head. Who knew she had a sinister side who hoarded all the secrets to the Milkshake Machine from the lay people in the valley yonder. The old lady was on a power trip. Because it went something like this:

Me: I want to work!
Mean Old Lady: You have to work hard brat!
Me: Um, how does this milkshake machine work again?
Mean Old Lady: You dumb idiot, don’t you remember anything? I’m not showing you again, stupid girl.

And so I had to figure it out on my own. Except I never really did. Now, I don't have the transcript of the conversation obviously but that really was the gist of it, I am not kidding about that. She was pretty demeaning. I was practically in tears. And so she would laugh at me. She would watch me and laugh and then finally get all frustrated and grab the container from me. And STILL not show me how it was done. I had ONE shot to learn that milkshake contraption. I don't remember why it was so difficult and I am sure it wasn't but I just wanted another looksie, another tutorial! And she wouldn't give it to me! (Why is that Suicidal Tendencies song going through my head right now? Go back and read the last two sentences then.....Now you got it. Institutionalized. Driving me crazy is right.)

I didn't last another day. It was a horrible experience and when my dad picked me up that evening I was in tears and I never went back to that horrible place. I had to find my cones somewhere else. I think I moved on to the potato logs at the the store, called The Store, across the street from the Tastee Freeze. I probably rode my 10-speed right past the Tastee Freeze in defiant protest, got a box of potato logs, and sat on the picnic tables of the Tastee Freeze. Something salty that didn't come from a milkshake machine. Or a cow.

So the irony here is even though I was always proclaiming - even as recently as two years ago - the "I must work full-time thing." I don't - and didn't - really work much and I never had a plan TO work. I only worked summers in high school and I never worked in college. I don't remember what my answer was to, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Maybe I said the usual wee girl answer, "teacher." Heck, I may have said, "Donna Summer." Because who didn't want to be her when they were in grade school? Boys, you can put your hands down now.

See, this is the crux of my whole problem. I could never answer that question of what do you want to be when you grow up because I didn't think in specifics. "Generally, I want to work. Specifically? We will worry about that when the time comes. I'm five, give me my doll." I am kind of a live-in-the-moment live-for-today kind of girl. (But also a past-haunts-me one too, which means I am a ruer.) But NEVER a forward-thinker. And so it took me some time to figure it out. High school? No clue. College? I waited until the end of my sophomore year and then when my parents suggested I should pick a major that I ENJOY, I decided to choose Art. So I was still in the NOW, doing what made me happy NOW, but with no real plan for the future. Once I was at the end of my senior year, I panicked and then a teacher suggested I work in an art library. I thought, "Well,OK. That sounds good to me." And so I went to graduate school with every intention of being an archivist but then switched that to law librarianship somewhere in the middle because the NOW at the time dictated that the only job I could get in DC was in one of the numerous law firms and HERE we are folks. Don't get me wrong I love being a librarian's still work.

So I am on this housewife kick now. Because my passions are ones that grandmas do. And grandmas don't work! I am a grandma trapped in a 30-year old body. The wrinkles, the walker, and the medicine breath hasn't kicked in yet, but I can Bunko, knit, quilt, do needlework, and watercolor. I have thought about parlaying my hobbies into a career but at this point in my life it needs to be done on the side and well, it also takes vision and planning which I AM NOT GOOD AT - in case you haven't been following along.

Then if you turn your hobby into a career, when is work NOT work? Is that what I meant when I was little, "I will work" is "I will craft?" I think I can do that best sitting on my couch with someone else bringing home the bacon.

I think I will housewife cliche my way out of this post, to practice: Today I need to clean the bathrooms, bake chocolate chip cookies, watch Oprah because I need to know what her favorite things are this year, get the oil changed in the car, get the crockpot going for dinner - the neighbors are coming over, buy the mister some new socks - they keep disappearing in the wash, which also reminds me I need to go to the cleaners, the pharmacy, and must not forget to pick Johnny up from soccer practice.

Wow. THAT sounds like work. I think I will just go to work in the library afterall. Never mind.


Morgan said...

Heh. All I read was something about fixing a cocktail. Sounds good to me!

Mav said...

Word up Boa!! But if we both stayed home...oh boy! Can you say Hi, my name is Mav and this is my v.g. friend Boa, and we are alcoholics!

amyd said...

I remember your first (and incidentally last) day at the old ice cream shop. It was my first date with Keith,.Anyway if I had any idea of the complications associated with the milkshake machine, I never would have ordered the chocolate shake...

I like your ideas though-Work ain't working for me that much these days either.