The Job That Could Have Been

For exactly one day, my wife worked a second job. You remember the one? Where she just walked in off the street and picked up a waitressing job? Yeah, so it turns out that the type of job you can pick up almost by accident isn’t really the type that you really want to keep. Most places are slightly harder to get into, but offer at least the minimum number of federally mandated benefits. But, every little bit helps, and she thought that if she could bring in a little extra, well, we might wind up okay. As it turns out, I was right to have my suspicions, though it wasn’t as bad as I had been expecting. Let’s just say that the idea of my wife working at a Pool Hall/ Mexican restaurant on the late shift didn’t do anything to calm my paranoia or the thoughts of… experiences from a different life that nearly killed me the last time around from bubbling up and staining my psyche. I believe that my wife would never do anything to hurt me, but I don’t know what to think about drunk idiots who like to flirt, having been one myself at one time or another.

After spending a fun-filled day with David and the little boy of some friends who we’re looking after, she got ready for new job and headed out the door. I’d managed to get home in time so that she wouldn’t have worry about leaving the Minkey at home. We’d agreed that I would go to meet her at the end of her shift so that she wouldn’t have to walk back home alone after midnight. So, while she was walking to her second job, I laid down in my bed and fired up the Netflix to help me while away the hours. At least I had only had to be at my new job four and a half hours, and that was at noon, so I wasn’t worried about exhaustion, but it’s been awhile since I’ve had to suffer through an involuntary television marathon. At least it wasn’t daytime programming. Anything to help me not think about all the terrible things which might happen in the alternate reality that exists within my head. Every now and then, I tried to send her text messages to see how she was doing, but she never got back to me. I just figured that she was busy.

The evening passed without incident, and I managed to finally get David to sleep. I still hadn’t got any response to my text messages, but her phone has been acting up a little, so I figured that I would give her a hard time about it when I met her at work. I left home a little bit before midnight, figuring that it would take me several minutes to get there, and hoping that I wouldn’t leave her waiting in the cold. Ironically, it was me who wound up waiting in the blowing wind and sprinkling rain. I’d also brought my Kindle (on the chance that I might have some time in which to finish reading the seventh Harry Potter book), but as I looked around and took in the scenery, I decided that it might not be the best idea to take out anything worth more than a pack of cigarettes. As the hour kept ticking by, with no response to either text or call, I began to worry just a little bit. Flor had told me that she might have to work a little extra, if it was real busy, and I didn’t want to barge in there and look like the jealous husband who has come to disrupt the business.

So I walked up and down the street, smoking cigarette after cigarette, and trying to keep myself from freaking out. Everything that might have gone wrong began to swim before my eyes. As one o’clock in the morning came and went, I popped into a corner store for an energy drink to battle back the boredom and as soon as I had drained its contents down my gullet, I could feel a little stabbing pain from somewhere in my chest. It turns out that I probably can’t keep chugging caffeine and chain chain-smoking cigarettes. I pushed thoughts of my mortality to the back of my mind, and walked back to the Pool Hall/ Mexican restaurant to see if Flor was done yet. As I was walking back, she finally answered her phone. She said that she would be leaving soon, and that I should be ready to come get her. It was another half-hour before I was to see my wife again, and when I did, several of my worst fears had been confirmed. At least, my worst fears from reality, and now the scary place which only exists within my head.

She’d worked for over seven hours without being able to take even a single break. Her feet and back were killing her. She’d been harassed by drunken idiots, and had chosen to remain as close to the kitchen as possible so that she might avoid them. Her shoes weren’t quite the right size, and she’d dressed too warmly for the kitchen, and too lightly for the night outside. Seven hours she worked without a respite. So, as we were walking back home, she informed me that she wouldn’t be going back. I couldn’t blame her. I can barely go three hours on a really busy day without being able to sneak off to smoke a cigarette. So she didn’t go into her new job yesterday, and she didn’t go in for her shift tonight (which I thought was actually better as she worked at McDonald’s this morning). We were going to be relying on her one job and my one job to try to see us through. I’d hoped that I would get bumped up to full-time before too long, or nudged into a promotion (or at least a raise). And then…

As we sat eating dinner, I asked her if she’d gone in for her money. It was a clever question, as I wanted to spend time with her, and also go for cigarettes. We walked up to the place, Flor inviting me inside for the first time (she had insisted that David and I remain outside when she went in to ask about the position), and spoke to the woman who’d given her the job. It turns out that the woman responsible for keeping her from taking her breaks in on her way out, and it was done to haze the “new girl.” After about twenty minutes, and receipt of her pay for the time that she’d worked, Flor somehow talked her way back into working Friday and Saturday nights. She now has permission to take her breaks when she needs or wants them, and might have talked herself into a raise (after having not shown up for her second day). I just cannot believe the pair that woman has. I mean, she seriously makes me feel testicularly challenged on any given day. It’s a good thing that I have my snark and wit to fall back upon.

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