Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Lunch Lady, pt 2

Yesterday I began training at my substitute lunch lady job. I feel slightly deceitful in this position because my 2 jobs don't know about each other. As I've written earlier, while having multiple jobs in America is viewed as necessary by many, and noble by our president, in England it is frowned upon.

So, I have taken off a few days from the fruiterers under the guise of my visiting American friends, Julie and Justin, who actually arrive next Sunday. I shall have to make up a lot of adventures to tell my coworkers. Or claim that Julie and Justin never showed and act really bitter. We'll see. And the refectory where I lunch lady plans on calling me in from time to time, I don't know how often, to substitute. We'll see how this goes. At any rate, we move to Newcastle in less than 3 months and I'll be leaving both jobs to work FULL TIME in Newcastle.

I am struck here by the lack of upward-climbing in most of my coworkers. I don't know many adults in America who work only one part-time minimum wage job. Yet all the lunch ladies have been there for 8 years + and seem comfortable in their positions, minus a few complaints. Peoples' attitudes seem to be "take what you're given" not "strive after the perfect job" ala the American dream.

But on to the actual lunch-ladying. It is a pretty chill job. 30 minutes after my arrival yesterday we had a tea break, and about an hour after that we ate lunch. Then the children came in and ate their lunch. I was in the dish room, which I have done before on a smaller scale at Glacier Camp, and was mentally prepared for. At first it was kind of like being in a really disgusting relay race, in which your goal was to scrape leftover food into the giant garbage disposal ditch with your rubber gloves. Wearing rubber gloves, a plastic apron, and someone else's uniform, I felt impervious to the mess going on around me.

Then things sped up. The food was flying, the dishwater splashing, and the kitchen so loud I couldn't hear the shouting of my boss 2 feet away from me. And then IT happened. The straw that broke my lunch lady dreams. Shepherds pie on my Coach sneakers. The Achilles' heel of my uniform. It was disgusting and I had no time to remove it. Icky dishwater splashed on my face, food was everywhere and I was ready to throw in the towel. I left work reeking of Shepherds Pie and still not very hungry when dinner rolled around.

The training lasts four days, and after that I don't know when I'll actually be called to work. I know that right now I'm doing what I can because its impossible to make career steps when you're moving every 4 months. I'm just getting tired of busting my ass for minimum wage. Maybe I'm conceited, but I just think my time and efforts are more valuable than that.

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