People would be surprised to learn that...
I've got mad multiplication skillz. And I can use them to intimidate and dominate those around me.
My arithmetic domination began the summer after my first year of college. Having spent all my money on books and pizza, I did what most poor college students did for the summer - I moved back in with my parents and got a summer job.
No experience needed.
Inspired by a botany course I had just taken, I applied to work at a greenhouse. It seemed the perfect summer job:
- Outside. Ish.
- No experience needed.
- Warm bodies wanted to plant, transplant, and fill orders.
Yeah! Summer friends!
Not so much.
Once they heard "college" and "Grosse Ile" (my uppity hometown), I was cast out as too bourgeois, too intellectual.
Instead, I became best buddies with a 40-something factory worker, Stan. He picked up this job after being laid off and still had to support his family. I had more in common with him than anyone else on the crew. He reminded me of my dad, and I think I reminded him of his teenage daughter.
One of these things does not belong here....
Not only did the other women wish me banished from the greenhouse, but the owners did not seem to think I was in the right place either. Did the owners feel they needed to prove their superiority? Or just like to mess with a 19-year-old college student? I'll never know. But I was at the top of the "trouble" list.
By the way: And I'm a rule follower at heart. I don't get in trouble. I do anything I can to avoid trouble.
Holey shoes Batman!
My first major infraction was my shoes. Closed-toed shoes were required, so I wore my well-loved Reebok tennis shoes. Boss Lady said I had holes in my shoes, and that was not allowed. Boss Lady said I could not work like that - not even one more day. No work -- no pay. Eek.
Sure -- my poor Reeboks were used. The sides were pulling apart, and the leather was worn. But there were no gaping holes -- these were not an OSHA violation. Certainly not any more than some other crew member's shoes. But Boss Lady made it clear -- no holes in shoes, and she saw holes in my shoes. I could read between the lines. She was thinking "Get your mommy to buy you new ones little smarty rich girl!"
Now -- I got a summer job because I needed the money, but I had not yet gotten a paycheck. I had no money. My mother had already given her bloodletting to the university. I wasn't going to ask her to pay for new shoes to wreck at a greenhouse summer job.
Enter MacGyver girl
So, I put my smartypants on, and I solved the problem of Boss Lady seeing holes in my shoes.
Duct tape. Everything can be fixed with Duct tape.
Yep. I duct taped my shoes, and sealed every gap I could find.
I walked into work the next day with my silvery gray duct taped Reeboks. Boss Lady was not happy. But, she sent me on my way. Stan took one look at my feet and burst out laughing. Stan wasn't getting along with Boss Lady either.
One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish
Among the tasks we were delegated, filling orders was probably the more interesting. I got to learn the names of flowers and wander throughout the greenhouses finding them. After collecting up the order, the Boss Lady would have her minions double and triple check to make sure it was correct. Large orders are gathered for landscaping companies. Flats of flowers are stacked on large rolling shelves.
One day I was apparently feeling extremely mischievous while filling an order, and decided to help the Boss Lady's minion double check the order. I started counting shelves.
Then I committed a fatal error.
Shelves x flats per shelf = uh oh
After providing the double-check numbers to the Boss Lady's minion, I was called to the Boss Lady's office. My multiplication skillz were intimidating the other workers.
And I needed to Cut. It. Out.
Who knew I had such power? Bwahahahahaha.
No multiplying allowed.
I came home in tears.
I got a job as a nanny for the rest of the summer for an 8- and 10-year-old.
They were not intimidated by my multiplication skills.