Over the course of the last year, I have sacrificed and put money back to be able to have this summer free and it was well worth it. I had my rent and a few other bills paid up over six months in advance. I had plenty of money in my savings account to carry me for more time than I needed to get through the summer without a job. I have traveled to both the West and East Coast over the summer. I sent my daughter to Puerto Rico for a week. I have been free to do volunteer work and spend time with family. It has been great. However, there was one expense I hadn't considered. When I set up my summer budget, I had not yet met Red.
I am not suggesting that she has drained my money. She hasn't. The things we do together require very little money. We like to visit state parks. We meet in a town halfway between us as explore the sites. We occasionally catch a movie. The unavoidable expense is the gas required to see each other.
Red lives almost exactly 200 miles from me and for a while we were seeing each other twice a week. Sometimes I drove to her. Other times, she drove to me. Often we meet somewhere in the middle. It has slowed a little lately. Not because we want it to, but because we are both feeling the money crunch.
In order to continue to see her and pay my bills for these last six weeks of the summer, I had to get a job. Since I only need something for a short period of time, I went to a temp agency. They immediately placed me in a local factory.
Here's something you need to know about me. I am best suited to an office work type of environment. I know computers and paperwork. I am good at it and have an eye for detail. I enjoy looking over data spreadsheets and expense reports. I love crunching numbers and trying to solve problems. What I do not love is physical labor. I am just not made for it.
I have always had this issue. I grew up in a family of hard workers. My dad is one of the hardest working people I know. He worked in coal mines when I was young. He has worn several hats since they closed down, but he was never afraid to get his hands dirty. He can build or fix anything and he does it well. My brother Kyle had those qualities as well. He is insanely gifted at many types of labor and works hard to provide for his family.
Considering the importance my father put on a hard day's work, I often felt inadequate. It's not his fault. It's a great quality, but it's not me. I had a professor in college once joke that if he had lived and been thrown into a concentration work camp during the Holocaust, he would have died. He was only half joking. He proudly stated that he was a theologian. He studied and wrote papers for a living. He was exceptional at paperwork and management. A work camp would do him in. I could relate to that.
That brings us back to today. The size of this town does not offer many options with the temporary services. They send people to one of four different factories. I have done factory work in the past and can survive on an assembly line, although I feel my brain dying every time I walk in. Even if the work is easy, I quickly begin to hate life if my mind is not being challenged.
|I may take the tires off my car|
just so I will never have to see tires again.
An hour into the first day, I was seriously questioning if I would be able to see this through to the end. Every place where skin touches skin was chafed before my first break. My muscles ache and I can barely move when I get off work. I can't wear my contacts because of the amount of dirty sweat dripping into my eyes. My glasses are constantly fogged, so I can't wear them either. I am blind, hot, miserable and can't quit because they won't give me another assignment if I do. Despite the conditions, leaving communicates that you "don't really want to work."
Now that I have finished whining, there are some good outcomes to this as well.
- This paycheck will allow me to continue to see Red for the rest of the summer.
- I can look my dad in the eye confidently knowing that I am doing man's work.
- After four days on the job, I have lost 38 pounds.
- I now have a use for the baby powder that has been my bathroom for the last four years.