In My Skin For a Day


(This is what it feels like to be me for a day.) *written to this song, in my DQ outfit.

girl, swing, and freedom image

While Working Night Shift at Dairy Queen.

Sticky. Covered in sprays and sprays of ice cream up and down the arms and all over the apron. Streaks of chocolate on forearms, red dye staining across fingers like my nails bled. Sweaty in the black uniform, hoping the deodorant holds out. Bruised in the oddest places; upper hip, mid calf. Sneakers catching on the floor, co-worker playfully poking me in the side, me ignoring how badly I want to sit down. Hands cold. Head hot. The strain in my muscles carrying heavy loads from the back to the front, then swelling with pride when coworkers cheer and call me a beast. Sometimes straight up sleepy, and sometimes frustrated by rude or difficult people–sometimes wanting to snap at someone but always biting my tongue at the last minute.

Usually, I’m happy, surrounded by coworkers who seem to all appreciate me so much. Inside jokes that warm me, the laughing fits where I’m almost in tears, the banter, the smirks traded between us all as cars roll by the drive-thru window forever. That smile or supportive word from someone which  gives me that next shot of energy to keep going. Ears overwhelmed by machines whirling and voices echoing and car engines rumbling. Keep standing. Keep smiling. Trying not to make it harder for anyone else by becoming frustrated. Trying to diffuse tension in the atmosphere when the night becomes overwhelming. 20 minutes feeling like 60. The heart thumping when I have to learn something new. Listening to everyone complain to me about each other. Trying so hard to empathize with them all. Wanting to hug them all because they’re all trying so hard in their own ways.

How amazing it is to hear: “We gucci, homie?!” “I want you on all my shifts!” “I missed you, Jamie.” “My shifts with you are so much better!” “Who else would I work with if you weren’t here.” “You’re an amazing person, Jamie.” Like wow. 

flowers, black and white, and drawing image

Fingertips counting dollar bills, fumbling with coins, slamming the window too hard. Hearing my customer service voice that somehow flows like honey, even when things are at its most chaotic. The surge of relief in my chest when backup arrives and I can breathe again. Throat so dry from being stuck in the drive-thru for two hours: “what size?” “need a lid on that?” “anything else?” “That’ll be four-forty four.”; a couple gulps of water in the back before the next wave hits. The happiness of the next paycheck in my pocket.

Being drop-dead tired after seven-day work weeks or the days with surprise double shifts because the homie is sick and can’t come in; crying outside by myself from being so tired between those shifts. The boyfriend’s phone call comforting me as I crouch on an empty ice cream crate before returning for another six hours. The cold air of the freezer doors. The crunch of paper bags in my arms. The happiness when co-workers become more like friends you’re paid to hang out with. And the soaring happiness when a select few become more like family than friends. Knowing you have each other’s backs in and out of work. ❤ That’s honestly the best. ❤

When I’m At Home.

anime and anime girl image

Tired. Yet wired after usual night shifts, left sitting up till early hours of the morning trying to unwind enough to sleep. The computer’s glow tiring my eyes. The happiness of finding a goodnight message from my boyfriend every single night while kicking off my shoes. Music pounding in my eardrums. Scrubbing ice cream off my arms and face. Trudging around the yard looking for scorpions, toeing the dirt, the scent of poison. Getting lost in the music for an hour and a half while pacing back and forth under the moon–time feels frozen. Processing emotions of the day, imagining novel scenes, breathing sweet fresh air, self-therapy.

Soft bed covers. The glow of Netflix across the room keeping monsters away.  The shock of it being 2 AM. Snuggling something soft in my arms and getting hit by how much I miss him. Mostly drifting off to happy fantasies of snuggles and warm hugs, on rarer times feeling my heart shatter when I almost remember the scent of his hair. Feeling the tears fall, feeling those 2000 miles between us, devastated to be so far away. Flipping the pillow over to the dry side right before sleep hits me like a truck.

For sure no one knows how much you want this when your spouse passes away:

Waking up mid-morning groggy and grumpy. The happiness of his good morning waiting for me, making me smile and roll over, the first thing I see every morning. A keyboard at my fingertips. Tip tap. Tip tap. Tip tap. Music in my ears. Smiling at the funny things he and I message each other throughout the day. Sadly watching the clock slowly countdown my return to work for another evening. Searching my part of the fridge for food. Getting to Skype for a couple of hours. The joy in my chest when I see his smile, the sweetness from hearing his voice in my ear again. Laughing and laughing, talking and talking. Knowing love and how it pains and how it means more than anything. Sometimes sadly lying on my bed being quiet together, because we’re just so tired. The relief when he prays with me to have a good shift. Happiness. Feeling loved.

Then leaving for work again, ready to do it all over again. Soon to be sticky again.

Image by Elisabeth.Niyaha

~Jamie

 

I Found A Job At Dairy Queen


Eight happy ice cream cones! Even done in watercolor they look so tempting.:

The day after my 22nd birthday, I climbed on my bike with my purse full of resumes and biked down the closest biggest main street in search of a job. My plan was just to pedal up, walk in and ask. It was ridiculously hot even at 10 in the morning. And I was terrified. But I badly needed a job; I had rent to begin paying to my mother and money for a future car insurance too; my savings would drain away fast with these charges. But with the helping push of my best friend, I picked a day: the day after my birthday, to be the day I’d bike to the nearest places and see if they were hiring. Just as a start.

My first few choices, which included Dairy Queen, were still closed, so I kept pedaling. Taco Bell handed me something to fill out; then I hit the next door Dennys. The Denny’s manager interviewed me on the spot and he, who expected me to be able to work all hours of the night, told me to come back the next day to interview with the second manager and begin immediately as a waitress. I felt good about that; at least it was something, and I was exhausted. So I started back home.

And I nearly pedaled past the Dairy Queen again. I’d left my information there on a previous day, and had inquired a second time to no avail. But there it was: it really was my first choice of a place to work. It was the closest, I felt most comfortable with the idea of working there, and I just had a gut feeling about it. Just a huge gut feeling. I really wanted to work there. And you know what guys; I nearly pedaled past it because, eh, I basically had the job at Dennys. That’s what I first thought.

All you need is ice-cream xx:

But then I circled back. I walked in; the owner told me to come back at noon for an interview. So at noon I came back and a girl my age went over some things with me and then asked: “Could begin tonight around 6?” I grinned, “Yes I can.” I walked out, called my mom and said, “I got the job! I start tonight!” It was one of the best feelings.

So at 6 that very same night, I filled in paperwork, was given a uniform, and started my first night in Dairy Queen.

That was nearly two weeks ago. It feels even longer to be honest. So much of my life has changed just by having a job I have to go in for like that, with a uniform to keep clean and coworkers I’m not related to to get along with. But it’s been good! And wow, 22 year old me kicked butt fast–got a job in less than 24 hours. XD That’s the story.

Nah, to be honest, I was terrified as heck riding my biking down that street. But my self confidence rose tenfold by the end of the night by getting a job and working that same day. Just wow.

I love this job.

I’m very happy and I feel very blessed to have gotten the starter job of my choice. I’m not sure how that happened, just like that. I don’t know if I badgered myself into it or if they were just desperate for more help and hired me. But either way, I’m incredibly thankful. I get to work with ice cream, people!

I Scream Ice Cream — Treasures & Travels:

That first night I started to learn where everything was, and what my job was between cleaning the dining room and memorizing recipes for blizzards. I watched Matthew make several banana splits and learned how to work the blizzard machines. They were a bit scary at first, so loud and fast, but I can handle them now. I’m still learning new stuff everyday. I like it though. I like watching the ice cream churn into the cup, and spooning oreos and sauce, and holding the cup upside down by the window for costumers.

Drive thru is the best part though, to be honest. I don’t know why I love doing the drive through so much. Somehow talking to people, writing down orders, and punching it into the register is hardly stressful. I like handing bags out to people too and using my happy genuine voice to say “you have a great night!” or whatever I feel needs to be said to different people. I like people, so it’s fun being happy for them that they’re here for ice cream, you know what I mean? But the other day Ed and I shook our heads over someone who just couldn’t be happy. I said, “How can you be upset, you’re getting ice cream for crying out loud.” and he said, “I know right?! If you’re bringing drama to Dairy Queen, you either need vodka or a long sleep.” We almost died laughing. XD

However, the seemingly unmentioned, biggest part about the job, besides actually creating food, stocking things, working under intense pressure (which I actually can handle really well, I’ve not been badly stressed out yet) and wiping down tables and windows—is the teamwork.

Wow, it is incredibly interesting and intriguing slowly meeting and working with so many different kinds of people. A lesebian couple, a mother and daughter, a sixteen year old, ect ect ect: I’m working with so many different kind of people at the same time. In many ways, my job feels more like being able to work and get along with and listen to my fellow workers then creating blizzards and Orange Julius’s. And wow, what a difference a different pairing of workers can make in the level of stress and smoothness during a rush hour. Just good golly Miss Molly. XD

Hey, I found this really awesome Etsy listing at https://www.etsy.com/listing/213095319/soft-serve-ice-cream-cone-print-from:

I’ve tried incredibly hard to be open to correction without talking back, to arrive to work ON TIME, to be quick to jump to do anything the boss or my coworkers ask of me, and to ask questions when I don’t understand something. Thankfully, I can already tell my strategy is working to my favor, as I’ve yet to piss off anyone. XD LOL I have two older coworkers acknowledge my hard work and dependability after working only a couple shifts with me, and that made me really happy. The younger kids seem to not mind teaching me and helping me remember what goes into which blizzards.

It’s truly been an incredible learning curve and experience but I think I’m already a better person after working there just under two weeks. Outside of maybe one person, I enjoy working with everyone. I’ve found my strength in adaptability helps make moving with the flow really give me an advantage not to cave under the pressure of so much newness. There have been some really high levels of stress during rush hours too, but somehow I’ve yet to snap back at anyone, or feel overwhelmed. Stressed, oh sure. But not to the point of “I hate this, I can’t do this.”

Tonight, I got my first paycheck! My boss hollered at me from her office while I was leaving the walk in fridge with the oreo container; she handed me a piece of paper and I got so excited when I saw my check. Later as I was leaving I thanked her for hiring me and wondered if I was doing a good job. All she said was, “Yep, you are.” But coming from her, that made me happy.

Hey, I found this really awesome Etsy listing at https://www.etsy.com/listing/185889249/ice-cream-cone-pink-and-white-food:

So, if you’ve wondered where I’ve been since my birthday, there’s your answer. At Dairy Queen. Learning a crap ton of stuff and enjoying it! I’m tired a lot now; I work mostly night shifts (though thankfully I’m almost always home before midnight) and between standing up for hours on end and then all the clean up, it leaves me tired. My adrenaline doesn’t go down, so I end up staying up till one in the morning before I get sleepy, like I am right now. XD I’m covering another girl’s shift tomorrow from late afternoon to early evening, and then will have to work again on Sunday. If you’re in the neighborhood, drive by and see me. I might be sticking my head out the window. 😉

I’m looking forward to the challenge of working hard and learning hard, not stepping on my boss’s toes, and learning more and more. All in all, I’m so thankful I got this job. And I really do love it. I’m working with ice cream after all. What’s so bad about that? 😉 ❤

~Jamie