Monday, September 1, 2008

What kind of work have you done besides teaching...?

The other day, I was sitting on the couch watching television when I heard a loud thump on the front porch steps. To say the least, it startled me. Gazing through the blinds, I saw a van moving slowly up the hill outside of my house. My first thought was to call 911 until I saw a man carrying plastic bags with what initially looked like books in his hands. He was booking it across the lawn of my neighbor, stopped and then, swiftly hovered it to the steps as it slammed against the screen door. Then, he ran back to the van for another pick up. This prompted me to get up off the couch to open the front door. On the steps was a yellow plastic bag and looking closer, I realized it contained telephone books. Smiling to myself it brought me back to a time when I, too, had the pleasure (if you could call it that) of delivering telephone books to residents living in Tucson, Arizona.

I was young and needed some extra income (I was pulling in $600.00 a month). It proved to be a one time gig but it did put food on the table. (I forgot. Never did have a table. Kitchen was to small in my studio apartment and that wasn't part of the 10-piece rental furniture agreement.) I was taking a Sign Language course at Pima Community College and one of my classmates and I decided that this might be a way to make some extra cash. She had the truck and I, the muscle. The deal looked sweet. They didn't pay you by the hour, but by the number of phone books you were able to deliver. On paper and in theory we decided that a killing could be made with what they were offering to pay us. We waited in line in front of the warehouse as someone with a clipboard came by and we signed our names. And then, I loaded up the telephone books in the flat bed truck and went on our way. Anyway, Ellen (I think that was her name.) and I spent the better part of the day in the hottest part of the summer going door to door dropping off these plastic bags containing telephone books. She was driving and I, the runner, threw these bags on the front porch steps in a neighborhood unfamiliar to the both of us. To say the least, it took longer than expected and due to the fact that we got lost a few times the monies that came our way wasn't fruitful. I think I got something like $45.00 and she went in the hole because she had to pay a baby-sitter. Thinking about all of this sparked the question: what kind of work have I done in my lifetime besides teaching:
  1. TV Guide Delivery- Back in the day, newspapers weren't the only thing that got delivered door to door. It was our older sister that convinced my brother and I to earn some change. She promised us a notepad-Man, were we taken for a ride. The TV guides came in a brown package once a week by mail and we then separated our stack and busily got on our bicycles and rode to our neighbors, our handy notepad keeping track of who paid and who still owed us money. Let's just say that we didn't get rich off this venture.
  2. Street Cleaner-Long before they had truck sweepers to do the deed, in the small town where I grew up, my two brothers and I, with brooms in hand, swept the streets of a small town in Vermont. I sometimes wonder if people thought we were part of a small town chain gang paying our dues.
  3. Youth Conversation Corps- A summer work camp. (No. Again not what you were thinking.) Spent four weeks doing the summer restoring trails around Mount Pisgah and Mt. Hor.
  4. Lumber puller- After dropping out of college for the first time (Yes, there were several times) led me to work in "yard" pulling lumber off the conveyor belt after it was graded.
  5. Truck Washer- Loved this job and the greatest tan. Spent the summer washing 18 wheelers. Drove a few around the lumber yard as well.
  6. Dishwasher- The incentive here was after the dishes were done, I got to have Sunday Brunch at the Colonial Inn-what a perk. Best meal in town
  7. Stock Boy, Cashier, and Customer Service- I made $4. 25 an hour at Zayre Department Store in the early 80's and thought I was living in green. All relative. Worked 30-40 hours a week during my sophomore, junior and senior year in college. Definitely wasn't a fashion statement for I wore the same brown tie, the one in which my dad tied because I didn't have a clue of how to tie one, and the bright orange vest. YAHOO!!!!
  8. Pre-School Assistant- Boston bound for the summer living at the New England Conservatory of Music (rent free-family connection) and working mornings in Natick. To this day, love the city of Boston and sometimes have fleeting moments of wanting to live there.
  9. Recreation Department Assistant Manager-This town took care of their kids. A place for them to go during the summer to play organized sports, participate in swimming events and activities for the adults as well.
  10. Liquor Store Clerk-Realized that people drink and drink hard.
  11. Telephone directory delivery hauler
  12. Busboy- Lasted three days, never got paid and realized after being trained by the waiter, that filling water from glasses that didn't need it wasn't going to be my career path. Holiday Inn still owes me $50.14. I consider it giving back. The one who hired me felt sorry for me for rent needed to be paid. To say the least, five days later, I was on the road to somewhere.

So Teach, you may ask.... what is the point of this rambling?

First, we all take steps in order to follow our dreams and for some of us it means doing whatever it takes to get there. Second, it sometimes means doing a job that may not necessarily be the one you hoped for, but we do it nonetheless so we can reach the dreams in the long term. Third, it keeps you grounded. Realizing that it may not be your end, but one more beginning in a long line of roads ahead. And finally, as in the case of the telephone books, sometime theories, once played out, aren't necessarily what reality dictates. Until the next time, continue to find your spirit lines....Teach

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