Monday, June 07, 2004

Most of my fellow employees at Super Wal-Mart, Inc. are women in the 28-55 age range. If you've ever wondered what it's like to be completely surrounded by older women... it's like attending one large Mom Convention. And it's fantastic.

But I must admit, as I was stocking "Denture Cream, Inc." packages onto the shelves and listening to the ladies chat, I remembered those bygone days when I worked at Hy-Vee Food Store, Inc. from 1997 to 1999. Back then, 90% of my co-workers were high-schoolers just like me and it was cool because even though we would have never been "friends" outside of work (what with differing interests and personalites - and especially since many of them went to a different school than me), we still got along and appreciated one another. It was kind of like "The Breakfast Club" - except instead of eating breakfast, we sold it! In boxes! In aisle 9!

So, as I was stocking the "Body Lotion, Inc." bottles, I started thinking about those co-workers at Hy-Vee. And I mostly remembered the girls there. They were brassy and funny and cool. In particular, I recalled one girl (whose name I cannot remember) that worked the register. She was friendly and interesting and... pretty - prettier than I ever appreciated at the time. She chatted with everybody, but I remember something about her face (I don't know, fragile and stuff) that made her look bored or disinterested or... sad.

And there were these weird tidbits about her life that I came across (not by ever talking about it with her, but by observing things during endless six-hour shifts). She apparently took care of her baby brother more often than her own mother ever did - leading many to believe that she herself was the mother of the child. She also dated "the town asshole/hellraiser/bad boy." But I remember him always treating her with the utmost respect and kindness and... I recall how comforting it was, knowing that even assholes care about somebody.

So then I started wondering whatever happened to her - whatever happened to all those girls I used to work with. I haven't seen any of them since I've graduated high school.

One hour later, I'm walking out of Wal-Mart's back-room and I see the aforementioned girl (that very same girl) pushing a shopping cart and passing the DVD Clearance Bin - her stomach expanded and about to burst. She easily had to be 6-9 months pregnant.

And I realized - there goes one more attendee at the ol' Mom Convention.

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