Thursday, June 21, 2012

The great trifecta: A Pool, A Paddle Boat and A Library

So, it’s pretty hot today. The air conditioner in the office is a-pumping – to the point where I’m a little shivery in my long sleeve sweater. But even at eight this morning, walking outside was like getting punched in the throat by an angry heat goblin. It seems as though the first day of summer came and thought, No, no! This mild weather will not do! Let’s heat these suckers up.

The result: today.

This has me harkening back to the summer jobs of yesteryears, of which I’m going to share a few classics with you.

-          Swimming Instructor’s Assistant
o       This was my first real job ever. That lovely summer between freshman and sophomore year of high school. Ah, nostalgia. Now, seeing as how I’ve never really been a swimmer, in the traditional sense (I mean, I can keep myself from going under, but it looks less Olympic level and more like a demented frog seizure. But I don’t drown! So…win.), it was probably a good call on the pool’s part to only hire me on as an assistant. My services were generally called in when we had classes on the far ends of the age spectrum. I jumped in the pool, made sure I was nearby in case anyone was struggling. And in my free time, I sat on the side of the pool, chatting with the other assistants, completely oblivious to the fact that the rough concrete was slowly wearing away at the seat of my bathing suit, until it became so sheer that you could see right through it. Awkward. All in all, though, it was a pretty good job. Not overly strenuous. Got to hang out by a pool every day. Even when a kid had a not-so-originally-named “Code Brown,” or the even less subtle, “Someone just puked,” in the water and we had to clear everyone out of the pool to disinfect it, the days went by pretty smoothly. And I still remember what I did with that very first paycheck. My sister and I went with a friend to see Legally Blonde. Worth. Every. Penny.

-          Crew Member of Large Paddle Boat
o       One of my shortest forms of employment, yet also one from which I have the most stories. This paddle boat took people out for three hour tours around the bay (and yes, every single time I think of this all I hear in my head is the Gilligan theme song. Which then leads to the torturous question of why? WHY did those folks pack so many outfits if they were only going out for a three hour tour? But I can’t get sucked down that hole right now. So, stop it.). People would rent it for a vast variety of get-togethers: birthdays, graduations, class trips. One afternoon we had a very touching wake. Another day we hosted a Red Hat party with a Hawaiian theme. I have never heard so many jokes about getting “lei-d.” I cleaned, I polished, I changed water and oil. I was tapped for bathroom detail after we ferried around a group of kids who were particularly prone to motion sickness. I had a short stint of bartending and spent one afternoon as a caterer’s assistant. More than once, I hung off the side of the boat to lasso it to the pier when we came back in. The job may have only lasted a month, but somehow I don’t see myself ever forgetting it.

-          Counselor in Children’s Section at Local Library
o       By far my favorite summer job of all time. Not only did I get to decorate the section in an Ancient Egypt theme, but I got to do Story Times with the kids and work on craft projects related to the books we read. I spoke to parents about more book suggestions for the kids who were involved in the library’s summer reading program and those who hadn’t really shown an interest, but had parents who wanted to find something that would turn on that light for them. And I got to sit with the kids and listen to them talk about all the coolest things they had just finished reading. Let me tell you, nothing is quite as awesome as seeing kids completely jazzed up about a story. And finally, I got to karaoke “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’,” with one of the librarians at an afternoon event. In conclusion, it was a summer of magic. And a job that I still miss.  

How about anyone else? Do phenomenal past jobs spring to mind on this very hot of days?

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