Ahhhh...my first job. The memory takes me back....far back...to The Mainstreet Diner and Ms. Pickle. My first venture into the job market and child labor laws.
I was sixteen at the beginning of that summer and my father had said 'NO' to a larger allowance. I had no choice but to try and find gainful employment in a small town with too few opportunities and far too many teenagers willing to fill them.
I lucked out and noticed a 'Help Wanted' sign in the window of the small diner on mainstreet before anyone else. I rushed in, determined to take it no matter what the position. As I sat waiting to be interviewed, I looked around the small dining area. This couldn't be too bad, I thought. Its so small how much business could there be?
The owner of the Mainstreet Diner walked out from the back and sat down to interview me. I looked up, smiled and began to turn on what I felt was my considerable apple pie, girl next door charm. I faltered.....Ms. Pickle had a glaring flaw. As I tried to ignore it and proceed, my mind threatened to seize up. She had a wandering eye. One eye bored into mine with fierce intensity while the other took a merry trip around the room.
I tried to focus on the one watching me but I had trouble keeping track of what I was saying as I watched that frisky eye roll and skip from one area to the next. My face flushed with effort and I fought against nervous laughter that threatened to bubble up from that immature well that all teenagers carry within them.
I must have done a decent job of remaining coherent because I was hired on the spot. As a dishwasher. I worked each Saturday and Sunday for 10 hours straight over two steaming hot sinks, washing endless mounds of dishes. Air conditioning was a luxury Ms. Pickle did not believe in and by the end of those weekend days my hands were raw and cracked, my back ached, and I smelled of fried meat and rank sweat.
I lasted three weekends. Then I begged my father to reconsider the allowance and promised to take on any and all chores he thought I should. The desperation in my face must have sold him because he agreed cheerfully.
I didn't resign in person.....I couldn't. I wasn't sure which eye was in charge of taking resignations and I didn't want to find out.