While I was in graduate school and throughout my twenties, I had a lot of different jobs, sometimes two or three at a time, to pay the bills, keep food on the table, and pay for books and tuition. There was a point when my income was so low that I was even on food stamps for a brief time–because, you know, I’m in that forty-seven percent of people always looking for a handout.
Shockingly, working at a convenience store wasn’t the worst job I ever had, though it was certainly a low-paying one. I did it all one summer, and in spite of the fact that in a one-week period, (1) my apartment was broken into and I lost most of my jewelry and an old stereo, among other things; (2) the guy I was dating who was also employed by that store for the summer was robbed at work at gunpoint; and (3) my purse containing both his and my paychecks and income tax refund checks was stolen when I was on my way to the bank to make a deposit, the customers made that job a constant source of entertainment. The regulars gave me plenty of stories to share with my friends and later to weave into fictitious plots and characters. In fact, even when summer was over and I was back in school, I kept working the early Sunday morning shift for several months because I wanted to.
I missed my regulars when I left. I still remember a lot of them fondly, especially the elderly lady with the white poodle who always reminded me a little of the lonely woman Jimmy Stewart watched in Rear Window. I hope my replacement took good care of her.