Sunday, August 28, 2016

My First Paying Job: #AKwritingChallenge Day 11

My first paying job was babysitting - but Ang Lawrence saw that coming when she set up this challenge - and babysitting isn't allowed. It's too bad, too, because I had a sweet deal going with that job. Once upon a time, about a hundred years ago, I was a competitive ice skater. I babysat my skating coach's insanely cute girls every Thursday while she and her husband when to Bible study. I got to eat macaroni and cheese to my heart's content - and did I mention how cute these girls were? Okay. I got it in. It was against the rules, but I feel better. I guess I'm feeling rebellious today.

I think the first job I had was after my parents and I moved up to Evergreen. I worked part time at a Mexican restaurant downtown. It was called The Evergreen Inn. I worked busing tables, hauling huge pitchers (back then I could carry four of  them in each hand, full of both ice and water) from the kitchen to the dining room, and helping the wait staff which was always woefully understaffed. I wasn't hired as a waitress, but I wound up being one. I took orders for all but alcohol. My boss at the time wasn't a huge stickler for the rules, but one of the waitresses, grateful that I was trying to make her load a little lighter, made sure to keep my under-aged self away from the bar. My hair and every article of clothing I owned smelled like cigarette smoke and salsa, but waiting tables at the Evergreen Inn was a pretty damn good job.

 I couldn't find a photo of the restaurant, but it resided in downtown Evergreen.
During the summer between my sophomore and my junior year in high school I worked an 11 - 2 lunch shift at the restaurant during the week, and then Saturday nights and brunch on Sundays. I rode my bike up and down Upper Bear Creek, which would most likely kill me now, but I was seventeen back then, skating all the time and in good physical shape.

There was a cook there, a girl who shall remain nameless, who scared the hell out of me. I've always been quiet, never one to cause trouble. I'm more of a what can I do for you, keep the peace kind of person - and I probably seem meek to a lot of people, especially to those with much more outgoing personalities. This girl was definitely a take charge kind of person. No one messed with her. She told me what to do and I did it. She'd been there a hell of a lot longer than I had been, and she knew the ropes. For a long time I thought she really disliked me, but after I'd been there for a few weeks, she started making food for me. I particularly liked the Sunday brunch shift - not only because the tips were always great, but because this cook would always have a plate full of tater tot kinda things (only better) covered in cheese sauce for me when the rush finally died down. She was always exceptionally gruff and short tempered around me, but every other employee had to jump through hoops to get the cooks to make food for them. She never made me to that. 

I think waiting tables is a job everyone should have. It's hard work. People are rude. They often look down on those working in food service - a dangerous practice if you ask me. How wise is it to piss off someone who handles your food? I made quite a bit of money for someone my age, and I learned a lot. The Evergreen Inn is still there - at least the building is - but it's changed hands and names a multitude of times. Whenever I go up to visit my parents and I drive through downtown Evergreen, I smile when I see my old stomping grounds. I am happy to have worked there.