the strangest job i have ever had.

when i finished my first year university
at the age of 23,
i had already worked in retail for about 4 years.

during the summer break,
i wanted to try something other than retail.

there was a job advertised at mcdonald's
for hostess manager...
in charge of birthday parties.

so i thought,
hey...i could do that.

i got the job and found out i was replacing
a woman who was on maternity leave,
a woman who had been employed there
for many years and had been hostess manager
for quite awhile.

however, on hiring me, i was told that
"management" wanted to change the duties
of the hostess manager a bit...

i was given a different uniform than anyone else.
i was 100% flammable in a 100% polyester stewardess outfit.
i was told that unlike all other staff (including all management)
i was not going to be trained on any of the kitchen areas
nor was i allowed to touch them.
i could operate the cash, but only to ring in my birthday parties.
i could wipe tables, but i could not change the garbage, mop
the floor or sweep.
i was to check to see if the bathroom needed to be cleaned,
but i was not to clean it.

my main job was to schedule birthday parties and
then hold them in the "caboose" just outside
the restaurant.

when not doing a party,
my main job (and i kid you not about this)
was to go around and ask customers
if they would like more ketchup?
or a free pop refill? or some ketchup?

oh. and if anyone had been waiting for their food
for a long time, and were left forgotten
sitting at a seat steaming...or in their car, cursing...
i got to take their food to them...
and smooth things over with some free coupons...
and some ketchup...and maybe a free refill of pop?

so...perhaps this is why
one day the owner's wife came in for a big family
breakfast and decided that my skirt
should be shorter.
i was sent to the seamstress employed by
the owner at the laundromat he owned
to get her to hem my skirt...
i said i would like it shortened this much,
they said no...we were told this much.


so the next sunday comes with the big family
breakfast again...and the owner's wife shows
up on monday to take me shopping for a new
uniform...she decided she didn't like the
stewardess uniform.

so, she took me downtown and i tried on
sundresses and shorts and she spent
about 350 on my new uniform,
which consisted of a Mexx sundress,
shorts, and two shirts.

you can imagine how well liked i was
at this girl, looking like
she was the same age as the 16 year olds
working there but was actually much older,
not allowed to touch the fryer even if
she was practically right on top of it
while it beeped incessantly...not allowed
to touch the garbages...wearing sundresses
and passing out ketchup.

eventually, though, they warmed up to me.

the elephant.
one day, the circus came to town.
my job was to be in the parking lot
while we had some circus people there
with two elephants that the kids could feed.
as i held bananas out for the elephants
to take, one of the men said "don't be scared
of them, you're going to be riding one later"

yeah. ok. whatever.

or so i thought.

sure enough, i was hoisted onto the back
of the elephant who had no, um, saddle?
just me, sitting up there on the elephant's neck
swaying with each lumbering step,
the only thing holding me on was the coarse
elephant hairs digging painfully into my bare legs
as i went through the drive-thru and ordered
a strawberry milkshake.

by far, the strangest job i ever had.

and i didn't even touch on the spitting kid story.