Today was my last official no-work Monday. Sure, I’ll be off work next Monday, and Tuesday as well, but those days are officially “not employed” no-work days as opposed to the “employed but basking in the glow of a four day work week” sort. Employment picks up again on Wednesday and the circus of bitching and moaning about how much work sucks will continue.
Regardless of how much I complain, however, know that I am stoked to start this new job. It’s an I.T. position. It pays significantly more than my current job (placing me at slightly below the national average as far as salaries go). It will involve a multitude of projects, including the latest wireless networking technologies, Systems Design, Web Development, and every I.T. professional’s favorite, Customer Service. The kicker is that my job is at university library. This means I can now request 600 obscure books a month and spend my leisurely free time reading them instead of rushing out to the local “Half Price Books” in order to find a early edition of Walker Percy or Nikolai Gogol.
This will save me tons of money.
I also anticipate meeting many new and interesting people. There are a bevy of lunch-style restaurants just across the street from where I will work, each of which is either a chain with a local, collegiate flair added to it, or a struggling eatery that has existed since the dawn of the great State University of Ohio that shall not be named for fear of future employment related retribution in response to things I will undoubtedly say on an as yet undetermined date.
I remember meeting a large and quiet Indian woman (actual Indian and not Native American. Had I meant Native American, I would have said, “Native American”) on the day of my interview. She works at a convenient store in the area. One of those small places that sells overpriced gum and milk which is likely to spoil before you get it home. I entered the store and she sat behind her counter, staring at me with the menacing eyes of an elderly gorilla. She was large and quiet and proud, and she wore the demeanor or one who would just as soon decapitate you with her bare hands as politely inquire if you had found everything you needed.
I approached the checkout lane cautiously, wondering if she would deign to charge me for the Diet Mountain Dew and pack of Orbit gum I intended to purchase. I set the items on the counter. She looked at them, looked at me, and then broke into the largest and happiest grin I had seen in months.
“Did you find everything for which you were looking,” she said, her English so perfect that she even took the time to correctly phrase her prepositions. “Would you like some chocolate milk and pop tarts to go with that soda? They’re on sale. Just $1.15.” Instead of the mean-spirited, sullen woman I had expected, I was greeted with a warm, grandmotherly woman; the kind who always wants you to have a little bit more food, a little bit more drink, a few more moments of rest and relaxation before returning outside to the cold, cold world.
“No thanks,” I said. “I’ve already eaten.”
:”Ok then, sugar,” she said with a glint in her eye. “You go and have yourself a nice day now. Try to keep warm.”
“I will,” I said. “I will.”
The place where I will soon work isn’t in the nicest part of town. Metropolitan universities rarely are. Back when I was at the University of Cincinnati, they had to close the school and send everyone home because of local rioting. People threw rocks at my car as I drove home. And that was in one of the good areas.
Metropolitan universities are rarely in a safe part of town, but I think this place will be ok. If the vibe of the warm, grandmotherly gorilla at the unnamed convenience store is any indication, I think I’ll end up liking this place just fine.