They Cancelled Work!

Here I was supposed to go out and car jockey, but my boss called and told me not to, because, really, the roads are treacherous and where there isn’t ice, there is three feet of snow, or more if the ploughs have gone by. So I had a nice sleep-in.  Just now, my other work called. I was supposed to go in and teach some kids to read, but the snow is on my side, because the kids can’t get to the lessons, and now I have nothing to do today.

That in mind, Arwen tagged me for a work meme, which is kind of related. Work-wise anyhow. I have a kind of spotty working history, and I have even been hired for one job because, “You’ve done a wide variety of things.”  For the most part, I like working. I have enough Protestant Work Ethic that working makes me feel like I’m contributing and a good person and whatnot. Also, one of the things I love about working is the different jargon required for different jobs.

When I was a kid, I used to get paid the princely sum of a dollar a day to feed the neighbours’ cats when they went out of town. Things haven’t changed much as I just got in from feeding the cats of friends who have made it out of town. These days I get paid in wine or souvenirs.From my cat-feeding stints, I acquired words like ‘vittles’ and ‘mange’.

I have also:

Filed and typed for a prominent gynecologist/obstetrician-turned-politician. I learned ‘papule’, ‘lesion’, and ‘amniotic fluid’. Oh, also at that job, ‘Macadamia-nut-chocolate-chunk-cookie’.

Hostessed, bussed, and sometimes bartended at a swish bistro-by-day, jazz club-by-night. I learned ‘infusion’, ‘four-top’, ‘deuce’, ‘sidecar’, and ‘soupcon’. Pretend there is a little French beard under that c in ‘soupcon’.

I have checked in, out, sorted, filed, and shelved books at a large academic library. I learned ‘Nietzsche’, ‘oud’, ‘Canaletto’, ‘Neil-sized’, ‘negative fixation’, and also the fine art of whacking a card reader on the side so it didn’t emit a high-pitched whine.

I’ve pumped diesel and gas into fishing boats, sold oil products and fishing gear. This one almost deserves its own post, because there was so much jargon. It was all jargon. And swearing. I swear, I would come home ever fall, get into regular life mode and be like, “Motherfu-I mean shi-I mean goddamn it!” in our house where we didn’t swear. But. Outside: “vang the boom’, ‘pigs’, ‘cannonballs’, ‘drop the rings’, ‘port’, ‘starboard’, ‘focs’hole’, ‘crow’s nest’, ‘dodger’, ‘high boat’, ‘junkfish’, and ‘scow.’ Inside: “Mexican Flag hoochies’, ‘sockeye fever’, ‘dock cock’, ‘lovejoy coupling’, ‘grease nipple’, ‘oakum’, ‘flasher’, ‘spoon’, and ‘chicken halibut’.

I have been a cashier at a mens’ clothing store. I learned ‘tone-on-tone’ and ‘jacquard’ and ‘argyle’ there. Also, I am not a salesperson. ZSalespeople scare me a little.

I have taught high school English. Mostly it was educational jargon and how it masked or dressed up words that were too plain. ‘Developmentally challenged’ kids carefully cut a bagel for me in the mornings. Kids who ‘met expectations’ didn’t understand why I only gave them a C+.  Of course, kids who ‘exceeded expectations’ with their Bs and As knew what it really meant. Kids with ‘antisocial behavior issues’ had to go to the jail school. Every summer when I was laid off because no one knew where the funding was coming from, it was a ‘necessary budget measure’.

I’ve taught ESL at a couple of after school academies. Granted, I’m doing most of the teaching of English words these days, but I’m getting better at Korean, too.

I’ve car-jockeyed for a car-share network. I’ve learned ‘value unit’, ‘low-battery signal’, and ‘clusterfuck’. Well, I knew that last one before, but my boss uses it a lot.

I’ve been an afterschool tutor. Again,  not many words I didn’t know in English, but learning the basics of my students’ languages.

All in all, I guess I have done a number of different jobs. But every job really has taught me something. Not just words, but that I am a capable human being who, allowed to do her thing, is a pretty good at a lot of stuff.

I’m tagging Stephanie, because I think Arwen got everyone else who reads this blog.

Merry Christmas!

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