Monday, January 26, 2009

Crappy Jobs part 4...

Now that I have you crying crocodile tears that I didn't get the glass lab job, I have to tell you of one job I had between my two years of college (that I forgot about). For a summer job, I was referred to Classic Company of Fort Wayne. Their big thing at that time was making trophies and concert t-shirts. One of their sidelines was to sand and refinish bowling lanes. I was told just to show up one Monday morning so I did. When I got there, the boss guy said where is your suitcase? No one ever told me that I was going to be staying overnight anywhere, but I needed the money and decided to go. Before the two old boss guys took off in a Cadillac, they asked me if I ever drove a box truck. They gave me a map and me and this other kid ground the gears until we finally made it to the out-of-town bowling alley. The worst part of the job was washing my socks and underwear in the sink every night. Were gone for generally 1 whole week at a time, and they would rent 1 motel room with 2 double beds for the both of us. The 2 old guys would be out like a light and snore like sailors. Whoever the other helper kid was would sleep on the bed with me. We were some stinky tired grunts. We would work from dawn to dark then move on. Sucked, but the best money I had ever made.

Ok, we are caught up now. I didn't get the glass lab job in Texas and I basically had told all my old employers to kiss my ass so I was screwed. I had very little money and NO job. My next decision was mostly a matter of timing. My friend Pat who went to college with me, happened to be living in Terrel Texas, about 30 miles from Garland. He was moving back to Fort Wayne and already had an apartment. He said I could stay with him and his roommate and I agreed. I crammed everything I could in my 1972 Nova and told everyone goodbye. I called Pat and told him I was ready to go. Pat then told me he had changed his mind and he wasn't going. He said I could still live with his roommate if I could pay half the rent. I had no money or job and had never met his roommate, so I declined that offer with a sigh. I was already on the road in my mind, so I called my parents (yes my parents) and asked if I could stay there for a while. They said ok, and I headed out.

I arrived at my parents house and unloaded all my junk. I had to swallow my pride and listen to my dad tell me how he knew that bowling lanes management wasn't a good idea and that smoking pot would ruin the world and he knew I would not amount to anything. After we got over that hurdle, he was pretty cool. We finished the attic over the garage and turned it into a pretty cool bedroom. I sold my 72 nova and bought a 76 AMC Pacer wagon and started the job hunt.

Pat from the paragraph before did give me 1 helpful hint for which I will forever be in his debt. He said to dress up like a college student and go to the Indiana University (of Fort Wayne) Student Union building and look at the jobs. He said just go in and go to the job room (he explained where it was) and just sit down and act you like you belong there. Take a paper and pencil and just copy the jobs out of the book. They did ask me if I have filled out my class schedule, and I told them I would and they gave me a paper (3 different times). I copied down a whole bunch of jobs and went home and started calling.

I actually found a job right away, though not the most desirable, it was a great start. It was with the R. L. Polk City and Suburban Directory. My job was to go door to door and verify the residents and get whatever information like who all lived there and where they worked etc. The company actually gave you a sheet for every street with all the information on it already, but they intentionally put one wrong one on every page so I couldn't just mark them all correct. I would earn about 10 cents for every verification and like 20 cents for every house that they had no information for. They figured in a minimum amount you could make an hour so I would kick ass for about 4 hours a day and turn in 8 hours. They didn't mind too much, because I was the only guy that would go to the neighborhoods that weren't in the best part of town. I didn't mind too much because in those neighborhoods, pretty much everyone everyone was home during the day and I could get information pretty easy.

One day I pulled to the corner of Pontiac st. and Alexander st. and was getting my paperwork ready when a big dog put his paws on my car window. He looked pretty friendly, so I rolled the window down a little to see what he would do. He turned out to be really friendly so I got out and petted him and started off down the street. The dog followed me to every house and waited while I did my business, then I would lean down and pet him and he would follow me to the next house. It went like this all the way down the block and halfway back on the other side. I went to this particular house and had to go through an open front porch to get to the front door. The residents were not home, so it is customary to leave them our paperwork tucked in the door. I shut the paper in the door, stepped out to pet my buddy but when I leaned down, the bastard jumped up and bit me on the cheek. When I finally found a brick to beat the dog's head in, he took off running. I can only assume I finally found his house. I believe I had to go get a tetanus shot.

Another funny thing happened one day when I was canvassing a fairly nice neighborhood. It is a good habit to ask a potentially nosey neighbor about the neighbor you are getting ready to visit next in case nobody is home. I did this on this one house that was completely blank on my sheet. The lady I was talking to was more than willing to give me everything I would ever want to know about her neighbor. I jotted everything down, thanked her and headed next door. It turns out that the guy was home, but when he found out who I was he was not too happy. He cussed me a bit, told me to get lost, and that he would never give me any damn information. I said ok, you have a good day "Mr. Johnson" and proceeded to leave. He came out of the house and asked me how the hell did I know who he was. He was a bit excited for a bit, but he knew I had him so he mellowed out and calmed down. He explained to me that he was an ex-detective or prosecutor or something and it was to his best interest to not have his information public. I told him he might want to be a bit more friendly next time and have a talk with his gabby neighbor. He actually turned out to be a pretty nice guy and I tore up his information. I could have used that 20 cents though.

To be continued...

1 comment:

One Reader said...

Damn - Alexander & Pontiac huh? was the dog a rottweiler or a really big blonde mut? Cause if so - um... I don't know anything.