PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Terror in the Heartland

When I went to college, I had many, many campus jobs. The first one was foodservice, and I still remember that first day. I still remember what was served, too: chili, grilled cheese & french fries. My best friend, Rebs, and I worked TBD. Tray Break Down. The nittiest-grittiest job, because it meant taking all the dishes, emptying them & stacking them for the dishwasher. Rebs & I had never done anything like this before, and so we emptied and emptied and emptied and then at the end of our shift, the supervisor told us to empty the garbage can. Uh. Hm. OK. It's like, 50 gallons? and it's FULL? We had to do it. I still remember her face. Trying not to laugh, shaking her head, as we wrestled this enormous bag of chili and french fries and napkins out of the trash can and out to the garbage. Good god. It was a bitch. Apparently you're supposed to empty it when it's only a THIRD full. Ah! Yes! Grasshopper learn quickly! I have so many funny work stories, I could do ten entries just on food service. Like how I was raised in a house that never, ever saw a frozen waffle, so on Sunday brunch when they told me it was my job to make the waffles, I completely flipped out, on the inside, and bravely said, "Ok. Where's the waffle iron?" Because I'd only ever had batter-made, waffle-iron toasted waffles in my entire life. So feeding half the campus - 600 students - waffles I was gonna have to make by hand - well, you can see why I got a little stressed. Lo and behold, they had this giant rotating toaster and you could load that sucker with 15 waffles faster than you could make one at home. Whew!
So there's a whole mother lode of funny stories, just in my college jobs. But I was reading Bekah's blog, and she was referencing smart-alecky kids and how to deal with them, and I remembered one of my MOST favorite college job stories.

I worked in the library. Yes, Zee Loudest Girl In Zee Vorld, spent two years workin' in the library. We had some goooooood times at the ol' library, I must say. Then there was the librarian who became obsessed with me and got rather stalker-ish, but hey, every rose has its thorns, hm? I digress. So I also stayed on campus and worked summers, the first summer being between sophomore & junior year, in the library. And because there weren't many students around, the town kids would ride their bikes on all the sidewalks on campus, and they loved the big ramp up to the front entrance of the library. They also enjoyed opening the book drop, sticking their heads up next to it and SCREAMING, YODELING, and otherwise being a royal nuisance. I still remember my supervisor Sheri going out and yelling at them as they pedalled off on their bikes, whooping with their succesful escapade.

And then, one brilliant, bright summer day, it all came to a screeching halt.
Because, I was back by the book drop when they pedalled up, and they did their little schtick of opening the book drop, pushing their arms through (waving their little 10-year-old hands) and SCREAMING at the top of their lungs. That very same SCREAMING that came to a vacuum-esque halt as I reached down and GRABBED their little wrists, keeping them trapped up against the outside of the building. In my deepest, sternest voice, I BOOMED, "KNOCK IT OFF." And then the air rushed back into their lungs, and they started a high-pitched, panicked squeal, sure that I stood there with a giant rusty machete, each about to lose an arm at the hands of the black-hooded executioner/librarian. I let go, but I'd had them trapped for about 45 seconds. When I walked around to the front door, I saw them tearing off, never to return.

Sheri & I had one of those makes-your-body-weak laughs. She was such a great boss. I suppose now, we couldn't do something like that, for fear of a lawsuit or the outraged parent, berating us for the audacity to reprimand/touch a child that wasn't your own. But at the time, I could freely scare the living bejeezus out of 10 year olds, much to my own amusement. And, hopefully, now yours!
posted by PlazaJen, 7:15 AM