Monday, February 01, 2010

The Fabulous Fun Place

On a day like today, when you feel like your head's going to explode and all the things you have known how to do properly for the past 14 years or so suddenly become completely obsolete and you have to re-learn stuff for the benefit of absolutely no one, it's not hard to sit at your desk, ignore the incessant ringing of the phone and the never-ending incoming emails, stare out into space and think about the past.

Did I ever tell you about my first job?

Well, I guess it wasn't my first paying job, but it was my first fill-out-an-application-interview-and-wait-for-them-to-phone-and-offer-me-the-job gig. My first paying job wasn't really a job at all - it was doing something I loved and the paying part was kind of a fluke. Anyway, the job to which I refer was at Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour. Perhaps you've heard of it. Or perhaps not.

Where I grew up, that's pretty much where you had your birthday parties. You got a free sundae and the staff put a hat on your head, stood you up on the booth, made some crazy announcement to the rest of the restaurant and sang happy birthday while banging on a drum and letting off a siren. It was quite festive.

One Halloween night after a party somewhere on the hill, Tim P and I were doing donuts in the Raleigh Hills Fred Meyer parking lot, and he ran out of gas. Luckily just on the other side of the Fred Meyer was a gas station, so off we went in search of gas. We had to cut through Farrell's parking lot on the way, and came upon a bunch of people hanging out by their cars, drinking and having a good time. I recognized a kid from a Health class I teacher-assisted, and decided then and there that I should get a job there. They seemed to be having so much fun, and I never did like to be left out of things.

I was on shift within a few days, complete with uniform and styrofoam pork pie hat. The beauty of this job was that the owners were two brothers aged 21 and 23, and the rest of us were just a little bit younger. We had a blast pretty much every night, and even when it was busier than crap and food was dropped and ice cream was melting every where and people complained or dined and dashed or the kids from your Health class insisted on sitting in your section and NEVER tipped, it was a fabulous place to work. It was the kind of place with the kind of staff that just created our own fun. I have a thousand memories from there and I think I only worked there until about April, when I had to quit to avoid being fired (long story involving a change in ownership from the fun young guys to the stodgy Mormon family of 25 or so who thought since I was from a family of 12 that I was Mormon also and when Mrs. Mormon found out I was in fact Catholic she made my life pretty much hell. I'm not kidding you. This is not an over exaggerated memory of the 17 year old me, this is a true fact). (Anyway it all worked out because my other job had started up and I was getting paid more per hour than the waitressing gig).

But I guess what it all boils down to is that was the kind of job that you didn't take home with you (well, you took your uniform home with you, and if you had brothers that would come home all hours drunk and you happened to leave your styrofoam pork pie hat on the TV you might just wake up to find a big bite taken out of the brim, and it would stress you out because it was the custom to have your coworkers sign the inside of your hat, and they wrote some pretty cool things, and now you had to go BUY another one, for NINE DOLLARS, which was like THREE HOURS of work, practically a whole shift, and then after you had everyone sign it again and things were feeling pretty comfortable around the house, you let your guard down and left it on the TV again, and sure enough there were a few more bites out of the new hat, and you had to buy ANOTHER one and then a couple of weeks later your brothers and their friends took like TWENTY FIVE bites out the next one, and pretty much you realized that you were not, in fact, working to supplement your social life and the high cost of beer, but instead to supplement the cost of constantly having to buy nine dollar hats for work) like escrow is, and the only real stress (besides the hat situation) was wondering who you were going to work with that shift (would it be wimpy Tom, who got drunk WAY too fast on WAY too little booze at the Christmas party and asked you out and you were totally skeeved out by him from then on, or would it be Paul Paul Butterball, Fountain Boy extraoridinaire?). I miss that. I miss just showing up for work on time and clocking out when it was done and moving on to your real life.

Except now, the more expansive your job, and the more mind-power it involves, and the more money it pays, sort of dictates what your real life is about. I know I shouldn't consider my work my life, but sometimes it's hard not to, when you go to bed at night hoping that your HUD will be approved in time for the bloody short sale you've been working on for months to close, or wondering if you will ever fully master the "new" HUD. And all the other crap we worry about every day. I remember when I was in Mexico for about nine months or so thinking, wow, I wish I had a job where I had to be smart again; now that I am back in the thick of it and going strong, I sort of miss the jobs where I didn't have to be smart. I just had to remember the code for Fudge Mint Marvel.

And to keep my stupid hat off the TV.


At 3:26 AM, February 02, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post!


At 11:20 PM, February 04, 2010, Anonymous Jeri said...

Love this.. I am laughing aloud and Brad's trying to sleep. I STILL have the big sundae glass that Paul (I do believe) borrowed for me and we use it on Birthdays still to this day. Mostly just Ashlie because she is the queen of the ice cream sundae.... I had my 16th bday party there and loved the Zoo.... Great fun, thanks for the memories.....

At 2:27 PM, February 08, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post! I'll never forget a birthday there when two waiters slipped and feel into a table while carrying the zoo. They managed to save it. For non-Bevos, the zoo is a large silver cauldron-sized ice cream sundae peppered in dozens of little plastic monkeys....the staff would run around the restaurant carrying it over their heads like an Arabian princess, all to the whirring sound of a siren. You had to be there in the 70s, I suppose.


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