Sep 14, 2009

PAYING MY DUES

By the time my first week was over I hated the U.S., I hated McD’s, I hated their customers who wanted to be treated as if they were in a five star restaurant instead of a fast food joint. I got accused of being racist at countless times when I told customers I couldn’t give them 10 packs of sweet and sour sauce when all they bought was one bag of French fries. I was called racist when I let an obviously-about-to-pop pregnant woman get first in the line to order by a guy in a hurry. I was called a racist by a Hispanic guy once. He said to me “If I was white you would do it!” And he got as far as calling the corporation with his lawyer to complain about it. I got yelled at by the soccer mom because I didn’t make her drink of half ice, half water, half strawberry soda, just like she liked it. I saw plenty of boobs as co-worker showed their breast to everybody. Nothing like spending hours watching videos about sexual harassment as per management instruction and then seeing my co-workers run around the kitchen showing their boobs and hearing about the manager who got a blow-job from a girl in the freezer (how did he even get it up in the cold?!).

The fact is I have a hard time putting a funny twist to this entry because that year and a half in McD’s was the bleakest, darkest and longest of my existence so far; all for $6.50 an hour. I hated my life, I hated my job, I hated the management, the teenage customers and the teenage co-workers who took nothing serious and joked their way around while you tried to earn your keep. I hated the veins that popped in my legs for being on my feet for 10 hours straight. I was a 19 year old with varicose veins. I hated the 20 pounds I gained and the fact I couldn’t fit on my size 3 jeans any longer because I had to eat two of my meals at work. I hated my toothless, morals-deprived boss who stole his brother’s wife and whose nephews, he joked at work, called him “uncle daddy”. I hated opening the store at 4:30 am because I couldn’t understand why in the world someone would spend $1.06 on cheap coffee and a disgusting muffin. I hated the ex-con boyfriend of the trashy lady in the back drive-through that always sat in his beat up car in the parking lot at 5 am to spy on her. I hated handing him the coffee and food he ordered because it was hard to avoid his lingering hand and roving eyes while he licked his dirty chapped lips and used his other hand to busily and obviously touch himself in front of all of us.

I did luuuuuuuv seeing his ass get dragged out of the car by the cops once when one of the few decent male managers finally called the cops, because none of the women would do it (?!). I hated the rotten smell of the fake eggs that seemed to cling to my clothes and follow me home and the dead frozen mice we would find as a surprise in the freezer, crushed under the boxes of seedless buns. I hated the monotony of it all, and the necessity to take the job seriously because it was paying the bills. I hated the pain that shot from the soles of my feet to my calf each morning when I got up. I hated some customers with a passionate fury and loved others so much it made me want to hug them. I hated that I laughed at times to keep from crying. I had reached new lows in my quest for the American dream that I didn’t know myself capable of reaching.

In the words of a Bulgarian co-worker of mine “This country breaks you down and you have to rearrange the pieces before you are allowed the climb up”. I couldn’t have put it better myself, and when she said those words I remembered clearly the moment this country broke me. It was while working the grill and a fly flew into my mouth and I threw up in the back sink in front of everybody. Lovely

2 comments:

amieres said...

Wow, fascinating tale, grim but fascinating.

Mel82 said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was the longest year and half of my existence. But at least now I can laugh about it.