Saturday, November 10, 2007

Career Opportunities are the Ones That Never Knock

The word for the Saturday scavenger hunt picture thingy was "work". I thought I'd even play nice this week and put up a photo that I actually took. I also figured I'd write an entire post about my feelings about working. Are y'all ready for this?

This first one is kind of a ridiculous picture of me, with my squinty, squinty eyes. I've posted it before, but I think it's hilarious how dorky and spazzy and happy I look encased in my beige cubicle. You do know not to believe that for a minute, right?

I've never been one of those people who dreamed of a career. I don't think I've ever wanted to be anything practical when I grew-up. I still don't. I studied English in college, not because I thought it would get me a good job, (not even I am that foolishly hopeful) but because I love literature and reading and writing and it was the only time in my life where I ever had the time or the structure to study it.

Here's me writing in my journal in one of the trailers on our site. As you can see, I was in love with my dictionary back then too. Oh, and for those of you youngins , that's a real live typewriter on the desk there.

Most of my life I've worked shit jobs. I've worked every kind of restaurant job there is, including cleaning toilets. Nice, huh? I've worked retail, I've modeled for art classes, I've literally dug ditches, and detasselled corn every Summer through high school (like every good Iowan). The few jobs I really loved didn't pay for shit. I loved being a nursing assistant in the ob/gyn clinic. I'm really good at drawing blood, and even found a vein on a pregnant meth addict, who told me I'd never be able to and when I did she said, "Holy shit! Where did you find that?" I sure as hell wasn't going to tell her so she could go shoot more drugs into her poor fetuses system. My favorite part of that job was being a patient advocate. I know I've said this a million times, but I have had way too much practice dealing with crazy people and I can calm almost anyone down in a stressful situation. Unfortunately, I get paid over twice as much to sit on my ass all day inputting codes into a computer and answering phone calls.

See? I actually took this photo of an erosion control project on a bank of the Eel River.

I know I wrote about this on my old blog, but I think I deleted that post too, so I'm digging it up again. My other favorite job was working on the Salmon Restoration Project on the border of Humboldt and Mendocino counties in Northern California. We all lived in trailers on this tiny site outside a town of about 150 dope growers. Everyone in the program was between 18 and 23 years old and most of us were from inner urban, or poor rural areas.

I think what I liked the most about it was that we worked outside all day, doing hard physical labor, and the work we did changed almost every day. Oh yeah, we also fixed the loggers bad practices and increased the salmon and steelhead trout populations along the Eel River.

I'm the girl in the middle of the madness here, trying not to get squished. It's nice to know that over twenty years ago, my eyes were just as squinty.

The hardest part of that job was that the twenty or so of us, all worked and lived together and had very little contact with the townies. I'm sure you'll be amazed to learn that dope growers aren't super social creatures. In fact, they tend to be a bit paranoid (who knew?) and many of them were Vietnam vets who booby trapped their fields and had 50 gauge shotguns so you had to even be careful where you hiked. Needless to say, there was quite a bit of drama and weirdness from day to day. I eventually solved that by setting up a tent with my boyfriend right off the site in order to get away even if only for a few hours a day.


Ice said...

Well, I hope your satisfied; You've ruined your personna by showing us how really attrctive you really are. No wonder you are an artists model.

Lots of interesting jobs makes for a clorful life, and could help you when you put your experiences together with your English degree and write a totally successful novel.
I think that first picture can be a screen saver!

Les Q said...

Haha I like the top pic of you...
Now if I had my old lady costume on I would walk through that shot and squeeze your cheek and cheeky cheeky my best old lady accent

Not Fainthearted said...

What a great collection of adventures. Much much better than staying in the same stupid job for 30 years

dmarks said...

Les Q: I read your comment and looked at your new avi. Is it fair to say that Churlita is the apple of your eye?

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

This proves it - you are truly kick-ass AND adorable to boot. Dimples trump "squinty" eyes.

Chance said...

Man, that first picture looks like someone else entirely, since in other pics you're almost aways making a fatigued zombie face. This one is squinty and cheery. Cute!

Good for you, doing all those jobs. Menial labor never hurt anybody's character growth. I've changed the diapers of Alzheimer's patients in my time, so I'm not proud.

evil-e said...

Way to show the word off....nice smile by the way. Once in a while us crab-people show everyone a grin, I understand, it's just a moment of weakness!!

Indiana Joe said...

Oh yeah,corn detasselling, a boring hot job,but well paying.Popular high school job here in Indiana also.

Tara said...

Excellent, excellent post, Churlita! It sounds like you've had lots of interesting and different jobs so far! Love that! And the top photo of you is so cute! You do not look spazzy. Happy, yes, but not spazzy. :D

Churlita said...


Thanks. I don't think I have the attention span to write a novel.

Les Q.,

Don't think that hasn't happened before. People I've never met before, thought it was totally fine to come up and squeeze my cheek (on my face).


Except for the retirement you could collect those 30 years.


Ha ha. Everyone is the apple of Les Q.'s eye right now.


Man I wish that trump thing were true.


Thanks. I'm definitely a smirker and funny face maker for pics.

Too bad character isn't cash, huh?


Yeah. Don't start expecting me to grin in any of my other pictures.

Indiana Joe,

Oh, I bet it is. I guess I always just thought it was an Iowa thing.


Thanks. If nothing else, I guess all my shit jobs make good blog fodder.

michi said...

I really enjoyed this post! You're so cute!!

laura b. said...

I would love to hear more about your different jobs. I feel so boring (no surprise there!) having only really worked retail and libraries.
You were an English major? I was an English major! Tres practical.