Monday, July 03, 2006

I am not a morning person.

I never have been. If you see me up early, chances are I haven't gone to bed yet. Needless to say, I am not a highly functioning person in the morning and some of the biggest mistakes of my life have been made before noon. I'm thinking about this because I was in Chicago this past weekend for work and also to catch up with some old friends. While in a cab on Michigan Avenue, I passed by an office of a newspaper and thought about my first temp job there. I remember how excited I was, because usually, whenever you think of temp jobs the most horrible assignments come to mind, like filing mounds of dusty, yellowed, papers that no one would even notice if they went missing or licking envelopes for invitations to parties that everyone at the company but you has managed to score an invite to.

But this assignment was different! I would be at a real newspaper just "helping out" when needed. I didn't know what that meant exactly, but I was sure it was going to involve sitting at a desk waiting for reporters to yell out leads or lunch orders. The only problem was that you had to be there by eight in the morning! I had heard of people getting up at eight in the morning, but having to actually be someplace by eight seemed a bit barbaric. Regardless, I managed to stay so excited for my first day of work that I couldn't sleep at all. I got out of bed, put on the Today show (because that's what people who work DO in the morning) and tip toed around the apartment getting ready, so I wouldn't wake up any of my roommates. I had some extra time, so I decided to pack my own lunch (which I never do). I made a basic sandwich and grabbed a 7UP out of the fridge. I didn't know who it belonged to , but I'm sure they wouldn't miss it.

I took the bus in to work and got to the floor I would be working on. I was told to sit at my desk and someone would be by shortly to give me my first assignment. While I was waiting I decided to put away my lunch. If my mother had taught me anything, it was that salmonella was a killer, and I was sure a twenty minute bus ride in Chicago humidity with a mayonnaise soaked turkey sandwich was playing with fire. I chose to play it safe and pull out my brown-bag sandwich in one hand and my soda in the other and set out to find a fridge. I went around politely introducing myself to my future co-workers until the office kitchen was in sight. As I walked toward the fridge, my fellow employees looked away and scurried off to wherever they had scurried from. Winning them over was going to be harder than I thought.

The morning passed by rather quickly with very few assignments. The only interruptions came sporadically when people would stop by my desk to ask if that was really my lunch in the side door of the fridge. I couldn't believe how much these people lived for their lunch break. Why were they so obsessed with food? Maybe they were asking because they wanted me to sit at their table later. I had no idea. I didn't even know if they had a lunch room. Sadly no one asked, and I was left on my own when I was given a break to eat.

I decided to go outside for lunch and enjoy some fresh air. I sat down on a bench, unwrapped my sandwich, and popped open my soda. I took a bite of my sandwich and washed it down with a sip. Suddenly my mouth filled with the most disgusting taste and I spit everything out all over the place. I looked down at my soda and saw that in my zombie like morning stupor, I had actually mistaken a can of Heinekin beer belonging to my roommate for my 7UP! Ummm, no wonder everyone at work wanted to know if my lunch was in the fridge. Either they were impressed with my audacity to bring a beer to work on my first day or they were taking bets on how long the new office drunk would last!

It turned out,that anyone who said, "I bet she won't even last a day" won, because I was so mortified I didn't even walk back in. I just waited for the next bus and made it home in time to watch Oprah. I hope whoever won the office pool that day took their winnings, went to Happy Hour, and had one on me. In the end it all worked out for the best, I soon found out that bartending didn't require you to get to work until five at night!


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