Friday, April 1, 2016

Jobs Part 7 (Long Ago, in a Land of Spandex)

It’s Friday again, my favorite day of the week. I like my job, but I like weekends more, and right at this very moment it’s the longest possible time before more work. This will be the seventh post now on the topic of my career. Or careers. Or lack thereof, uh, yeah. I have no career; I have held many jobs over the years but I think I can get through the rest of them in two or three more posts. At this very moment, I’m taking a break from packing my few belongings for the big move tomorrow morning. I finally threw away all of my stuff from prison and boot camp. I was never going to use any of it, so I’m happy to toss it out. Alright then, on with it.

After leaving Rochester and finding temporary shelter with a friend of a friend in Fountain, I was given a job as a line cook at Pedal Pusher’s Café in Lanesboro, MN. The owners were a couple with three kids and they all lived upstairs of the restaurant. Looking back, it really sucks to see how things went down. They were kind, generous people who went out of their way to help me when I was down. They even let me sleep in their camper for a while after things went sour in fountain, and while I waited to find an apartment of my own which they also loaned me the money for.

Lanesboro is a bustling little city full of B&B’s, bike trails, trout fishing, tourists, and spandex. It has a few restaurants too, and they were very busy in the summer. I hadn’t been on a line in some years when I started there, but I picked things back up pretty quickly. Time flew by, I worked hard, and started drinking hard. I also met a new friend that would play a major role in my life for many years to come: gambling.

In the form of pull tabs, I whittled away my paychecks one dollar at a time for months. Eventually, I started taking advances on my paychecks, and very shortly after I started doing that, I started taking advances without their knowledge. This may come as a shock to some people with whom I have not been entirely honest with over the years, but I’m letting it all out now. I felt like a lowlife piece of shit, but unfortunately, I just did not care It didn’t take them long to catch on to me and I was eventually fired for stealing.

Unable to get unemployment benefits, I became withdrawn and moved in with a unenthusiastic friend and his soon to be wife. I sat in that room for a month, maybe two. I wore the same clothes, I ate ramen out of the package, and I cried every day. I was too proud to ask for help. I couldn’t take care of myself, I couldn’t find a job (because I absolutely was not looking), and I was about as close to having a suicidal urge as I’ve ever come. Auspiciously, a very good friend of mine got me out of that trance and back into Fountain where I held a few more jobs that I will get into in the next post. But first:

About two weeks ago, I sent a letter to the owners of Pedal Pusher’s. I told them a lot of what has been going on with me, but more importantly, what was going on with me back then. I asked them to give me a chance to repair the damage I have created, and I included a small token of my sincerity in the form of money. I haven’t heard back from them and I don’t know that I ever will. But I have done my part. At the very least, I have tried to open an avenue of communication with them so that I may fix what has been broken for so long. It was the first of many letters to many people, and with each one, I hope to feel a little more human again.

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