Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Prologue

Yeeaahh, I'm gonna need to to...
Well, my summer is nearly over. What I got out of it was a good paycheck and not much time with my friends. Luckily I was able to spend two weeks at the beach with my girlfriend and our families, which was a ton of fun and just what I needed in this last stretch. I'm going to start by saying this: I have never had a job before. I was looking for three years before finally catching a lucky break. Finally I felt like I was doing something productive, something that made me seem like I wasn't just some kid still screwing around all the time, and my parents could stop asking me to get one. Finally I could pay for things myself. Finally, I had the job I needed so desperately.

And so I became desperately submissive.

I still have the same problem I had when I wrote "Balance." I want so badly to just make everybody happy. Work wants me to stay an extra half-hour? Sure, overtime, why not? They won't consider keeping me on payroll for the summer unless I'm working all the worst shifts? Of course, what does it matter? Working nights five days a week including every day of the weekend and then suddenly turning my entire sleep schedule on its head on Wednesday morning at 5 AM so that I could lift 400+ heavy boxes off a truck for two hours and then spend another six putting the stuff in them on the shelves? Absolutely. I mean, I do need this job and all. But what did it cost?

I don't draw anymore. I don't read anymore. I don't even think anymore aside from how stressful preparing for school is with all its deadlines, how friends keep making their problems my problems, and the shining lights that are my girlfriend and my family who care so much for me. I've touched a saxophone exactly twice this summer. This is because I wake up, eat, go to work right after, and then I come home so that I can sleep, wake up, eat, and go to work right after. I have to make my own free time. Everyone else spends their nights relaxing or hanging out with friends? I get home at 11 P.M. so that I can do the only thing I can, which is play video games and maybe Skype with some friends. Texting Kelsea though has given me a good outlet for interesting conversation and a break from my routine. I'm clutching on to the remnants of who I am, waiting to get back up when it's all over.

The only comic I drew this summer. The art style itself is almost a comment about being a retail employee.

I've missed everything. Birthday parties, I think maybe actually every single one of my friends' grad parties, at least four beach trips with friends (so every single beach trip with my friends,) the family canoe trip that I look forward to every single year, and even a celebration of my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary. Sometimes it's at least comforting to think that my grandfather would be proud of how hard I'm working, though I'm too privileged to deserve much praise for finally working for a change. I've sacrificed everything that was important to me for a paycheck.

But work is work, and I do enjoy helping people there, and I do enjoy developing photos, but still. It feels like the amount of suck in a job like this is very unnecessary. I won't get into all the strife between the employees themselves or the corporate stuff.

So many people have told me "Well, that's working!" or "Hey, retail's hard," and yes, I get that. I understand, but honestly, you just may be able to say I've been a good and active friend to around four people this summer. I used to have probably twenty times more friends than that. I wanted to join the Wilmington Drama League this summer, but instead the only acting I do is putting on a smile when a customer gives me abuse for something the person working the previous shift left me to deal with. The only singing I do is in the seven minutes it takes me to drive to work. I don't play music anymore. I don't draw anymore. I don't have time to talk to my friends anymore. I don't have time to listen and help my friends who need me.

All for money. And I'm even having trouble getting that lately. 32.5 hour weeks and my most recent paycheck, given to me yesterday, was dated 7/8. So where's this week's check? They really forgot to pay me for those two weeks? That had like $49 holiday pay in it! What if I needed that money?

And here I am at the end of my summer and still trying to make them happy. I'm starting to man up for the first time all summer now, so that I can stop this from getting worse. There are four days a week I'll be able to work during the school year, but no way am I working full time as both a student and a stock boy. But if I make that my official availability, they will most definitely schedule me for every single one of those days. No. I cut it in half, so I'll hopefully be working one Sunday and one Thursday a week now. But even that seems like it's too much. I don't know what to do. I don't want to quit either. It took me three years to find it. Maybe I could take everyone's advice and be a lifeguard at a club like I've wanted to be for a while.

Maybe I could be a geek who is also a lifeguard.



Now comes the light.

School is beginning. That means a night most weeks that I'll be playing music. That means four or five nights a week of studying or hanging out or nights with friends. I'm commuting, and so I'm planning to have a full duffel bag of stuff for overnight stays with friends. I can talk to people again. In a matter of days, I'll have a laptop so that I can visit friends for LANs and for hanging out or talking on the go. I'll still have some money to spend. I have a newly redone basement which is more or less an apartment, like a dorm room I get to myself that also has a living room twice that size attached to it. I have a car. I've told my manager that I am only available one day per weekend because band and time with my girlfriend are now a much higher priority than work. (She completely understood.) So this summer was merely the dark prologue of my new story. The book of high school has ended. I've gone from rags to riches, from the quiet annoying freshman with one true blue close friend to the senior drum major who knew everyone. And now it's time to begin again as the lowly freshman who made it big in high school, ready to outdo himself after a summer of routine and retail.

So this, like every story if you let it run long enough, ends happily.

Plus, hey, I got a blog post out of it! My lack of creativity has kept this whole site in a dry spell, unfortunately. But luckily, I think new posts should be as frequent or more frequent as they used to be. They'll be more colorful with pretty pictures and less venting, too!

Aaaaaaaand, time! I couldn't sleep tonight, so I started this blog at 2:49 A.M.
And now it's 4:17. Let's try this again! Goodnight.

2 comments:

  1. Hey, Johnny. I really enjoyed this blog! I know exactly how you feel. I've worked 40 hours a week this summer and it's completely taken over my whole life. But school is coming faster than anyone could have guessed, and I'll be back with my UDMB family. That'll include you this year!
    The altos are wonderful and they'll welcome you with open arms. Even if you struggle with the music at first, the altos are a judgment-free section. (And if you meet a girl named Arizona, tell her you know me! She's the secretary of Genshiken and she's one of the most eccentric people I know).
    I can promise that there will be a silver lining to this summer. Aside from making money, this job will give you the ability to appreciate your time with the band so much more. Band camp will be hard, but just remember that it's an escape from the mundane job. Get prepared, get excited, and I'll see you soon. :)

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  2. So now you have proof that majoring in something you really like is essential: 'Cause it is all work, even the great jobs. Sounds to me like the creativity did not suffer, just had to take a back seat. Enjoy every minute of the insanity that is college. You WILL work, it just won't seem like it>>Secret of life

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