Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Let the Bloginess Begin!!! - My First Job

For fun, I decided to blog about each of the jobs I've ever held... in chronological order. If the job I'm discussing was a temp job, or one that I only held for a short period of time... I will probably only describe it in a singular post. If it was a long-held position (or, felt like one) then I will try to break it up into several posts, although... sometimes when I start jibber-jabbering about this stuff, it's hard to hit the breaks.


Job #1 (My 1st Job) - The Ice Cream Truck?

When I was 13, I worked on an ice-cream truck for a day. My girlfriend had begun working on the truck, and I missed hanging out with her. It was summer-time, and it seemed so strange that she would all of a sudden stop spending her valuable time with the rest of us--sitting on the steps listening to the Beasty Boys, and Run DMC--just to make a fist full of dollars (<---movie reference), riding around on a truck with a very heavy, sweaty man, who looked like someone who stored kids in his basement.

Finally came the day when she got sick of fending the fat man's passes alone, and asked him if I could work on the truck along side her. He scratched his half-bald head, wiped some sweat from his brow, and agreed begrudgingly, "Yeah, yeah, all right, but she's got to get off, before we go to South Philly".

At this time in our story, I must digress, to share with you a bit about the setting, in the City of Brotherly Love, during the time that I was a teen. To be blunt, Philadelphia was segregated with a vengeance! South Philly was for Italians; North and West Philly were for "blacks"; the North East was for the wealthy; China town was for Asians; and, South-West Philadelphia was primarily for the Irish. Further, these distinctions had been different in earlier decades. Ultimately, what mattered was, unless you were patronizing a local shop (and not attempting to hawk your own wares there) you were not invited. It seemed that only certain groups, with neutral/difficult to distinguish features could travel around freely, and operate as merchants or sales-people. Also, being a member or affiliate of the mafia made you immune to ethnic and racial distinctions.

Now, my boss, and my friend are Polish, and they had a pass; I am not, and did not. I would have to get off the truck in South-West Philly. However, before we got that far, we rode from block to block shoveling water-ice and ice-cream out of these giant bins, and giving kids the crappy, over-priced sickles that they had purchased from our crummy little truck.

It was at this time that I first learned that I was not a math wiz. I quickly adjusted, and asked my friend to handle the money, while I handled the orders. Our boss was happily whipping the truck around corners, cursing, and crassly relaying inappropriate tales (given the "professional" setting, and age disparity). We, on the other hand, were just thrilled to be at the center of the attention of all of our peers in the community.

My friend and I were particularly anticipating our arrival in a housing edition called, "The Mews" where the two guys who we fawned over lived. However, before we arrived I observed something odd.

Ahead, stood a lanky young man waiting in the street. He was positioned strangely in front of the home of a family that my family had known (as friends & foes) for generations. As we neared his location, I recognized him as one of the older brothers in that family. He spoke to me briefly, but then focused his attention squarely on my boss. I, in turn, did not speak to this guy, because I found myself in a state of shock, perplexity, and disbelief. I was transfixed; my eyes were focused on the GIANT (quart/gallon?-sized) clear plastic bag, filled with white powder, that dangled from this guy's waist.

WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT??? & WHAT WAS THE DEAL HERE??? I couldn't hear the conversation between the fat man, and this guy... but I could tell that it was amicable. The guy handed my boss some $$, but didn't order anything from us. Now to be clear, I don't know what was in the bag; he could have been, profiling with a bag of sugar, to create a tough-guy image for himself, and merely paying a past bill for ice cream. Who knows? All I know is that I was never more happy to quit a job! ...  (after we got to the Mews : )

Oh yeah, I NEVER GOT PAID!!!

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