$17.31

hustleI just got a raise… working in the writing center at one of my colleges, I now make $17.31 an hour.

When I was teaching in Los Angeles I used to make $99/hour teaching in El Camino Community College. No kidding. $99/hour.

It’s all relative.

I am thrilled at the raise, I have to say, and I kinda wish I had more hours there….

I kinda wish I had more hours to work on the Chamber of Commerce too.

And, I kinda wish I had more hours to write. I want to submit a poetry collection to the Dogfishhead Poetry Prize. Yep…. poetry and beer-that’s about right for me.

It’s lovely in my classroom just now. A few dedicated students are working… working… so quietly and diligently. I want to claim a little credit for their diligence. At least the few that are here. I feel all smiley from that damn raise. It was $0.70.

I remember that my first full time job I was hired, freshly degreed from college, smelling like promise and dryer sheet, for $10/hour, and, one year later, I received a $0.25/hour raise, and both of my parents were like, “Wow, that degree was totally worth it.”

I have not always liked my jobs, but I have always felt the need to have my jobs, and more rather than less. For ten years in Philly I worked 40 hours a week in the 9-5 thing in non-profits, and an extra 12 hours at night adjuncting. And it’s been a patchwork of adjuncting gigs ever since. I like that I’m mixing it up now with the publishing company, the writing center, and the Chamber, even though the Devil’s Party Press part is unpaid; it’s adding some much-needed variety to my weeks. I just wish I could get an eight-day week. And, at long last, I think this might be the year where the effort finally results in a financial result that will right the boat. We’ve always got a little water in the bottom, Dave and I, but this year, I think we might get dry…. Maybe… possibly….

Which brings me to an odd little encounter I had last week.

I was trying to stay awake in a Starbucks, uploading content to the new Chamber website I made, when a huge, loud, rapacious rainstorm hit. After the initial shock of the onslaught subsided, the storm was pleasing to me. Before the storm showed up pounding on the windows demanding double shots the Starbucks had emptied out a bit, and it was quiet, slightly dim, and the rain seemed to be creating a protective barrier around the building. It was pretty close to the feeling of being curled up watching an old Blondie & Dagwood on TV on a Sunday afternoon with the smell of a roast in the oven. Pretty close. Well, I’m exaggerating; no commercial space could hit that mark. But I was feeling something reminiscent of that snuggled cat sort of feeling of comfortable.

And then they came in. One after the other, with enough space between their entrances that I thought the first was alone.

The first was a man who looked like the guy from the cover of all my brother’s Jethro Tull albums who I always assumed was Jethro Tull. Was he? Is Jethro Tull a guy, or a band name? I never bothered to find out, and I am not about to do so now, but, the guy looked like the Aqua-lung guy, wild-haired, dirty, wet, of course wet, very very wet, and shirtless. And he had a lot of wet hairy shirtless paunch hanging over his pants.

Hmmm….

He sat a few tables away from me, this wild, grungiest, hoariest of men.

And, in my very usual thinky way, this is how my mind went:

I was not prepared for half-naked wet men.

I know men are allowed to take their shirts off in public, but how would HE feel if I stripped half naked?

Hmmm…. he’d probably like it, even with your old droopy boobs.

Well, maybe I’ll just take off the bottom half of my gear then.

Ha! Let him see your nether regions and your saggy pelvis? I don’t think he’d care that it sags. I think he’d egg you on.

Dammit. 

Well, I probably should wrap this up then.

Oh wait, he’s putting a shirt on.

I was about to relax back into my work when the door to the volatile storm was flung open again, and a man who could have only been Jethro Tull’s toady came in. He was thin and tiny, emaciated in every way the Tull was corpulent, and he was probably no more that five foot three, while Tull was six foot or more. Being that he was clearly Tull’s right-hand-man he sat to Tull’s right, shortening the distance between the two and me. I could smell him. He smelled not good, like sweat, and weed, and cigarettes, and low self-esteem. I could see the wet twinkling on his little close-cropped beard. He looked as if he was going to soon freeze in the Starbucks well-functioning air-conditioning, while his master looked as if he never ever felt the cold, and immediately began teasing the small one for not being smart enough to come in half naked.

I packed up to leave because, well, that was all I really wanted to know about the two fellows.

However, I bought this magnet for my fridge (me and my damn magnets) that says, “Kindness. It doesn’t cost a thing. Sprinkle that shit everywhere.”

True words. True words.

So, as I walked past the men, I turned to the little toady and said, “Hon, they have blowers in the bathrooms. You could probably get pretty dry if you want to try it.”

And the small toady said, “Oh, no thank you. I’m ok.”

And Jethro Tull boomed out, “It never bothers ME to be wet! I was born wet!”

This just may have been the C-C-C-CRAZIEST thing anyone has ever said to me.

But I paused, considered the biology, looked at him, and said, “Well, yes, I guess we all were.”

Happy Monday dear Weirdo who finds this blog interesting~

Kindness. It doesn’t cost a thing. Sprinkle that shit everywhere. Thank you for your kindness in reading. Leave me a comment!

 

 

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