Monday, July 20, 2009

Inspired by Richard Wright's "Black Boy"

The heat surrounding the Chipotle employees and customers is enough to bring the worst in all of us. That damn AC we've been hooked on isn't working properly so we only have our hands to fan ourselves.

I drag myself to clean all of the tables in between ringing customers up. That damn heat getting the best of me. I've been sick all week and this is the last place where I want to be.

"What are you guys laughing at?" I aske my superior and another co-worker when they mysteriously stop giggling upon my arrival from cleaning tables.

"At your 4-hour career as a cashier today," my superior says.

I toss the rag under the register and lean against the brand new metal-top table. For some reason that I can only blame on the heat, I flip out.

"Well at least I'm not making a career out of Chipotle," I reply.

I feel bad. Their suspicions that I think I am better than they are because I'm attending a university suddenly become a reality.

"Don't forget to clean the bathrooms before you clock out," is the only reply I get.

I want to apologize to them. To tell them that they too can manage to get a college education while working there. But I stay quiet and don't say a word. My face burning with shame.

These co-workers of mine have been working there around the same time I have and they've already moved on to managerial positions. I, on the other hand, have passed up the offers to become a manager for fear of getting stuck there.

I constantly think about it, but I never mention it out loud for fear of sounding like an asshole. Though I think it's too late now.

If I'm reading a book or a newspaper, they say I'm just showing off. That I ought to think about my reality and get that promotion before it's too late. What's the point, they say, you're not even going to be able to use your college degree once you graduate.

They're probably right. But at least I can say I try. I'm booking Ceci Bastida for Gustavo's show tomorrow for God's sake. I'm a show-off prick for being proud of my humble success?

I swallow my pride and knock at the women's bathroom. I spray degreaser all over the sinks and clean until I can see my reflection on the metal sinks. I look at myself in the mirror. I look exhausted. Sweat dripping from my pimply forehead.

I clock out and walk out under the damn heat. Hoping that everything will be just fine.

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