My New Job: Day 1

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Perhaps I should just give you the end at the beginning. I went home and cried. And cried some more. And then cried for good measure.

It was not good.

I am used to my first day on a new job going swimmingly. You know, everyone loving me. I get lots of work which I plow through at a amazing rate. I am happy. I am excited to return the next day. Yeah. Well. Now that I am Porkchop, everything of course has to be outlandishly ridiculous.

So. I come in, bright and early, nice and chipper, with my Starbucks, all ready to go. Yay! Give me work! I will do anything! I AM SO HAPPY TO BE HERE! My new boss tells me that my project for today is to test drive all the vehicles and familiarize myself with all the features. OH BOY! I LOVE MY JOB.

I drove a few SUV's having much fun plowing down the highway in tank-like vehicles terrifying the little old ladies that I was going to mow their rear bumpers right off. Ohh. This is fun. Some pretty sweet stereo systems. Lots of shiny buttons. And then I get to drive the sports car. OH! I LOVE MY JOB. I was like a raccoon in a tinfoil factory. You know, LOVIN' IT.

Until. Yes. THE BIG UNTIL.

Until, I was driving a certain SUV in rush hour traffic at one of the busiest lights in town and it CUT OFF. IN THE MIDDLE OF GODDAMN TRAFFIC.


The gas gauge had been low, so I am mentally kicking myself in the butt. I hadn't been worried because the gas light hadn't come on, but, apparently the dummy light wasn't working right or, or, I am not really sure what.

I don't have my cell phone. I don't have my wallet. All I have is a set of tear filled eyes and some boobs.

Dumbfounded, I sit in my vehicle for a few minutes (with my hazards on) trying to configure a plan. I really don't know what the dealerships policy is on abandoning vehicles that have cut out in the middle of flying traffic, so I am loathe to just lock it and walk to the nearest gas station. NORMALLY, in rush hour it is CRAWLING with cops. TEAMING with them. Like roaches at a cheap motel! No. Not the day Porkchop breaks down and needs help..

I sit for a few minutes. Nothing. No cop. No one stopped to help. DAMMIT! I hike across roughly six lanes of flowing traffic in the SCORCHING heat. (I am in my FULL office dress.) Yeah. And I rip the three inch heel of my shoes while loping across the grass that surrounds the gas station. I run up to the counter, breathless and simultaneously hyperventalating, and beg the poor woman to let me get gas and I will bring her back money. I PROMISE!

She was terribly helpful. Thankfully. If she hadn't have been, I probably would have thrown myself prostrate on the floor and begged. Seriously. Unfortunately, being helpful she informed me that they had NO CONTAINERS for gas, but she would call the dealership and let them know they needed to send someone down.

I lope back to the vehicle trying to protect it from the flowing traffic. I contemplate sprawling my body of the rear of it, just to be sure that no one nicks it. But gathering from some of these looks, that wouldn't have done any good. I am working myself into a frenzy because this is, after all, my first day. Don't they fire people for these sort of things?!

After being stranded for roughly twenty minutes in the middle of rush hour traffic while hyperventalating I see flashing lights. YES! POLICE HAVE ARRIVED! I LOVE YOU! YOU CAN NOW DIRECT TRAFFIC...

The Animal Control Police Arrived. Yup. But at this point, I wasn't going to be hugely choosy over whose flashing lights I used to redirect the flying traffic around the rather expensive vehicle I was driving. At this point, I was envisioning giving up my first born child to the dealership if anything happened. So I explained to Mr. Animal Control Officer what happened, that the lady had called the dealership some time ago... He suggests he guard the vehicle while I trot back to the gas station.

To say that my clothes were soaked with sweat at this point would be a gross understatement. Did I mention I was wearing black?! I run/hobble back to the gas station. The lady informs me she couldn't get through to the dealership, but her manager found a portable gas container and was on his way over to rescue me. I run/hobble back to the vehicle. He has the gas! Relief is slowly washing over my body, the end is in sight! No one from the dealership will have to know.

The gas station manager then askes me to open the gas tank. Er, what? Gas tank switch... I hunt. He hunts. Mr Animal Control Officer hunts. I am supposed to sell this vehicle but cannot open the frickin' gas tank door? I SUCK! HARDCORE! I press on the gas tank door, doesn't open. I start the hyperventalate again. Will this never end?! Finally, someone figures out on this vehicle that has a button for everything, apparently, the only button missing is the gas tank button. You had to manually open the gas tank door. I apparently hadn't tried hard enough.

He fills the gas tank.

The engine will not even turn over.

I fight back tears and swear words.

I profusely thank the gas station manager and tell him I will bring him cookies this weekend. Mr. Animal Control Officer suggests that the dealership has a towing company they regularly use, shouldn't I call them? My mind kicks into overdrive. Not only did my car break down on the first day, BUT I HAD TO GET TOWED! I start spluttering protests. I am, at this point, smiling grimly while trying to hold back a ocean of tears. Mr. Animal Control Officer wisely senses that he is about to have a full-fledged breakdown on his hands, so he quickly formulates a plan. He thrusts his cell phone in my hands and tells me to call the dealership.

I don't even know their number. IT IS MY FIRST DAY, GODDAMMIT!

I call *411. While I am waiting for a INFERNAL amount of time, he produces a phone book from his truck (must have been a Boy Scout) and finds the number for the dealership. I dial them. I am put on hold. Someone finally picks up. I manage to cheerfully and calmly ask for my boss rather than shouting hysterically. I hold.

I hold.

I am told he is in a meeting, can they take a message?


I again adopt my forcedly cheerful voice. I explain that the vehicle cut out here at the light, I have been here for a short forty-five minutes, could they please find someone to run down here and just get me. Please? Only if it will be no trouble!

The person on the phone was rather dumbfounded to hear this come with such cheerful tones.

I hold.


They pick back up. And ask me a few questions:

Is it in park? YES, GODDAMIT!


And your SURE it's in park? Yes. I am pretty goddamned sure.

I hold.

He picks back up. Sure, they will be there post haste with a troubleshooter.

I hand Mr. Animal Control Officer his phone back. Think about kissing him in thanks, but note the wedding ring, so I simply gush appropriately for his kindness.

I pace up and down the side of the highway rubbing the ever deepening crease in my brow. Mr. Animal Control Officer finally gets a little worried I might fall over from heatstroke. He tells me to sit in his air conditioned truck. As I climb in I again fight the urge to use his upholstry as a tissue and being firing off questions about him and his family.

Did I ever mention when I get nervous and hysterical my mind runs twenty times faster? I probably sounded like the grand inquisition.

He is married, with two kids. His wife is a private school teacher. His children are three years old and nine months. He was born in Florida, but grew up around here. He went to a local college. Has a degree in criminal justice. Dispatched for nine years, which is a civilian job. He is now a animal control officer and likes his job. They cannot arrest people, however, some SPCA can. He talks about the police department and the dynamics of his job...

TWENTY MINUTES LATER someone finially arrives. Mid-sentance I leap from the cab of his truck and hurry over to my stranded vehicle and my now heroic savior.

He jump starts the battery. I thank Mr. Animal Control Officer. I zoom into the distance.

The first words out of someone's mouth when I get back to the dealership (even though my savior arrived AFTER me) rather than inquiring as to my general state of mind, is "So, I hear you were in the cab of the truck with a man when you were rescued was he cu..."

Before they can finish I throw them the dirtiest of looks and state flatly:

"Married, two kids, three years and nine months. A ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER, FOR THE LOVE OF PETE!"

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This odd narrative is my life. I ended up in Pittsburgh, of all places--from the beach. I have no hobbies, other than cooking excessively and eating microwave popcorn. I enjoy shopping, the Food network, hiding the remote so the Food network cannot be turned off, find ethnic food stores and restaurants and reading voraciously. My life is decidedly pedestrian.

I worked in the car business where I was required to be ruthless and soul-less wench, which is when I started this project. Since then, I've kept it up because secretly, I've always wanted to join the military. Every male in my mother's family has joined and I quietly entertain thoughts of joining. I haven't yet and don't know if I ever will, but sending the troops cookies keeps me sane. it makes me think I still have a shred of human kindness left in my withering soul. it's a small way for me to salute the men and women who are brave enough to fight for freedom. And makes me feel like I'm contributing toward troop morale--even if I'm not. So if you want to help, send me addresses of troops you know stationed overseas. you may also contribute toward the cost of chocolate chips, but don't feel obligated, that link is here only by request.

the past


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