Today at Fred Meyer I saw a guy I used to work with at World Pac, the auto parts warehouse. I decided not to acknowledge Rich, my former coworker, but it did evoke a jaunt down old memory alley. The auto parts shack wasn’t the worst temp job ever, but it was the longest. Clocking in at four months, my time at World Pac felt like real employment in comparison to the few day temp gigs at other places.
But I still didn’t take it seriously. When assigned to be the receiving clerk, I sometimes breezed over certain items if it felt too tiresome to count them all. On occasion my direct supervisor, Tammy, would consult with me about how I’d neglected to find mistakes in the inventory. Tammy was a nice person, but wow was she orange from fake n’ baking. Her skin looked like a leathery pumpkin. She once told me the tanning salon was her escape from her family. Judging from her skin tone, they were pretty overbearing. Oh, and don’t forget she was also infatuated with the singer of Nickelback.
Another way I avoided professionalism in the workplace was by just walking out the door at least twice a day for long breaks. And I mean long. Sometimes up to a couple hours. I’d wander down to Tiny’s coffee and get a beverage. Then I’d call my friend Mary Kate from a pay phone on the way back. She worked in an office with a 1-800 number, so I could call “toll free.” At lunch, I frequented a Lebanese restaurant called La Villa. I was there so often I became friends with the owners and their somewhat annoying, but cute 5 year old daughter. They gave me Jordan almonds and Brazilian soda and let me eat for free once when I forgot my wallet.
The main thing about World Pac was, of course, the cast of characters. Maybe fifteen people were legit employees and then there were a few of us temp workers. Our two bosses were a couple of rigidly-postured army guys who loved country music, but did not care for my homemade “No War” t-shirt. Rich, the guy at Fred Meyer, was also a temp and probably the most sane human being in the place even though he sported a rockabilly pompadour (and still kind of does). There was this one certifiable dude with whom I had some companionship until he started quacking at me like a ghost duck from the other side of the stockroom aisles. On his last day, he crashed a cart-worth of merchandise into a wall. Some people claimed he was on a bunch of Robotussin. My receiving cohort was a 21-year-old hillbilly stoner who I ended up yelling at one afternoon because of his ignorant comments. He quit shortly after the incident. In addition, there were a pair of young women who moonlighted at a dive called McGillicuddy’s, an injured, formerly professional soccer player and of course, Tammy, the over-tan supervisor.
One morning after a few weeks of my working at the wearhouse, one of the military dudes approached me to see if I’d be interested in a permanent position with the company. I said no.