Saturday, January 23, 2010
(Originally posted on Facebook)
Everybody has their ups and downs. Sometimes a good week is followed by a bad one; sometimes you ride a fortune roller-coaster in a single day. Thursday was one of the latter.
. . . However, I’m going to cheat and start with a point from Wednesday.
I got a missed call on my phone from an unknown number during work. Feeling no reservations about putting my current task on hold, I sneaked to the break room and listened to the voice mail. It was Marci from Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. apologizing for not calling earlier and asking if I’d like to come in for an interview. I called her back right after work and said “Hells yeah!” Or something like that. . .
Thursday morning. Early morning. Try, 4:15 AM. . . and I was up. I was up over an hour-and-a-half before my alarm would go off because my street is a wind tunnel and some unusually strong gusts of wind were pounding on the garage door next to which I sleep. Streams of screeching air blasted through the cracks of the door, which itself was violently shaking near my eardrums. I attempted to move to the living room couch, but my roommate was already snoozing on it, having passed out watching Season One of How I Met Your Mother. I returned to my bed and somehow managed to fall back asleep. At least, for the next hour-and-a-half.
I finally got my first full paycheck in over a month! See, what happened was when I got my first paycheck, they accidentally gave me $600 more than I was supposed to get. When they realized their mistake—a whole two months later, sad day—they started taking increments of “prepaid” money out of my subsequent paychecks; $150 over four paychecks. The last one was a whole $12 because of the days I got off to go to California. But on Thursday I got my first full paycheck in over two months!
That paycheck, though, was supposed to come on Wednesday. But even with it now, I still don’t have enough to repay the money I owe people. Like, my landlord.
I had an interview at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. right after work. Ala Moana Shopping Center (future workplace) is roughly a 40 to 50 minute bike ride from Kahala Mall (my current workplace). Fortunately, my family said they could lend me a car to drive there after work. I got off at 4 PM. The interview was at 4:45. The drive is ten minutes. Sweet.
Not so sweet: my cousin was later than expected dropping off the car. Not too late, but just enough to increase my heart rate a bit. . . and take away the slack time I was going to use to prep myself for the interview in the parking lot. It’s cool, I though, I’ll just take the highway and avoid all the stop signs.
I head up the on-ramp with about 20 minutes until my interview and—
—hit rush-hour traffic. So determined to make it there on time, I forwent the one exit I knew would get me there because it would take too long. I shortly realized that I didn’t know what other exit I should take. Traffic + lost = late. . . unless I could do something about it!
I decided to risk breaking the new cell phone driving law and called my friend Brit. While she seems to always get lost when I’m in her car, she knows exactly where to go when I’m driving and she’s on the phone. She led me through a chill, back entrance approach and I parked in time to walk briskly to the restaurant, approaching the doors 60 seconds before my interview time.
“I’m here for an interview,” I said to the hostess.
“Please take a seat at the bar and a manager will be with you in one minute.”
So, I grabbed a stool and reveled in my ability (read: Brit’s ability) to get me there on time.
“Um, Anthony?” some asked from behind me.
I turned around to see not a manager, but a server. “Hi, um, all the managers are in a meeting right now, so they won’t be able to get to you soon. I don’t want you to wait all day, so can you come back tomorrow, between three and five?”
Shocked and confused, I nodded and hesitantly walked out of there.
Not letting my trip go to waste, I went into Longs Drugs to buy some essentials: toilet paper, toothpaste, maybe some food. I just got a paycheck, I thought, I should go grocery shopping! After about twenty minutes, I had a basket full of boxed cereal and canned goods. I strolled over to the checkout stand very satisfied. The clerk was about to scan a can of sliced peaches when a thought flashed across my mind:
My paycheck would not have cleared by now; I don’t have the money for this stuff!
I stopped the clerk before she scanned my peaches to let her know I had to return everything. Well, almost everything. I left Longs Drugs with a 12-pack of toilet paper and a tuna snack pack.
Still in a slight daze of confusion, I walked to the car, sat inside, and pulled out the tuna snack pack. $3.29 for a premixed can of tuna, a stack of crackers, a cup of diced peaces, and a cookie. A cookie! This was a complete meal for half of what I pay in the mall for lunch! A huge smile spread across my face. Despite having no money, no groceries, and no interview, I was still able to walk away with this little package of hope. I savored every bite, starting with the cookie to jump start my taste buds, continuing through the small but hearty can of tuna, cracker by cracker, and ending with a refreshing cup of peaches, its juices-in-concentrate cleansing my palate. I took a picture!
After dropping off my cousin’s car and fixing my bike with zip-ties (see below photo), I went to Coffee Talk to hang out with Brit while she “worked.” I love keeping her company at her work, mostly because I get free stuff; Thursday’s freebies were a coffee shake concoction and goat cheese sandwich. Juvana showed up and Brit and I had fun keeping her out of the loop of a previous conversation; it’s our new favorite game. It was a fun ending to a roller-coaster of a day.
The screw that holds the rear rack to my bike keeps falling out. Not surprised, I shouldn’t expect two tiny screws to support the weight of the rack, a crate, and my backpack. I actually trust these two zip-ties more.
And yes, I cut off the excess plastic.
Looking back, I think Thursday taught me that no matter what happens on any given day, you can always find something to balance it out, whether it be a well-deserved tuna snack pack or the company of good friends.
PS: When I realized that the server at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. must have mistaken me for someone just turning in an application, I called the restaurant back. The manager apologized, telling me that it was not my fault at all and that the servers “don’t know anything” sometimes. I have an interview with him on Monday, and he will be there. Guaranteed.
You have your ups, you have your downs, but if there’s a Roxy model involved, there’s always something to smile about.