Sunday, July 10, 2011

BUS STORY # 244 (New Job)

KFC Bus Stop, originally uploaded by busboy4.

We’re waiting for the bus when he asks me if I have a cigarette.

I don’t.

Man! he exclaims. Nobody smokes these days. Or else they’re just saying they don’t.

He’s tired. He started a new job today. First job he’s been able to find in almost two years. He got a job as a fry cook at a fast food franchise.

He wasn’t able to find a job in two years?

Everywhere he applied, they told him he was overqualified. He’s had eight years of fast food experience, but he knew the reason he was being turned down was because the managers were afraid with all his experience he was after their jobs.

Was this here in Albuquerque he couldn’t find work?

Not the whole two years. He moved to Albuquerque to stay with his cousin after his ex-wife tried to kill him. But his cousin and his cousin’s friends were a bunch of drunks who didn’t care about anything except partying, and they kicked him out.

He ended up staying at Joy Junction for six months. That’s where he met Brenda.* They’ve just had a baby five weeks ago.

They bounced around from Joy Junction back to his cousin’s to a friend’s, and finally to an apartment of their own after he started business school at CNM and got a student aid check.

Now he’s in his second semester. He’s thought about transferring to UNM, but he isn’t sure if the student aid would increase accordingly or not. If it didn’t, he’d never be able to afford the tuition.

But he’s excited about having a job. Even after being off for two years, everyone was amazed at how quickly he caught on to everything. He said he worked like a mad man. But he was gonna feel it in the morning! He’s not in the shape he was in back when he was working at Dairy Queen.

He works from two to seven five days a week. No insurance, but that’s OK. His wife and baby have Medicaid. He says wife, but they aren’t really married yet. He’s waiting to finish the semester.

His workplace is way out on the West Side, near the end of the Blue Line. He catches the 11 between Wyoming and Louisiana, rides to UNMH and catches the Blue Line to the West Side. And the reverse coming home.

That’s clear across town and then some, I say. That’s a long ride.

He’s so happy to be working again he doesn’t care. With the baby, there’s baby food and diapers and stuff. And he smokes... What with the baby and school and a new job, this is no time to try and quit smoking.

He’s happier now than he’s ever been. Not just because of the job, but because he’s met Brenda and he’s in school and now he’s working.

Brenda is the best thing ever happened to him. She’s an amazing woman -- she tells him she’ll take care of the baby so he can concentrate on school and work. And she always has a meal ready for him for supper. Not that she’s the greatest cook in the world, but still... And he’s got a bad back and she’ll massage it when it acts up. She has other wonderful attributes he goes into as well. He knows he is one lucky man. He just wishes his ex-wife had been even a little like Brenda.

Only problem is her parents. They really don’t like him at all. It’s because of the time his ex-wife tried to kill him. He defended himself and beat the crap out of her. Even the cops were on his side. They told him to get to the hospital and have that wound stitched up, and then they cuffed her and put her in the squad car.

She was out in a couple of days, though, and the charges were dropped. But somebody decided both of them were too dangerous to keep their two kids, so the kids got taken away from both of them. He can’t see them until they turn 18.

He explained all this to Brenda’s parents. He wanted to be straight with them. Everybody else he tells the story to understands. Even his own mother, who does not approve of men beating up on women, said he should’ve killed her. That wouldn’t have done him any good, he told her. He’d’ve gone to jail for sure. You gotta practice restraint.

But Brenda’s parents didn’t understand. They really hate him. They have him pegged as a wife beater and a child beater. He just doesn’t understand how they can jump to that kind of conclusion from defending himself against a crazy woman.

Another guy arrives at the stop, and he interrupts his story to ask the guy if he has a cigarette. He sure doesn’t. Dang. Nobody smokes anymore. Or else they’re just saying they don’t. Then he tells the guy how tired he is, and how this is his first day of work in almost two years.

*Real name changed.


Anonymous Brenda (the real one! ) said...

Oh my. I've worked at DQ for the past eight years and I've heard this story or variations of it many times. I do hope he's able to turn his life around and do well. I'm going to believe he'll do it! Thanks, Busboy!

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a long wait that must have been, what a story!
Well-told as usual, your memory is amazing.
I only hope they really aren't giving baby food to a 5 week old infant.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Thank you both for your kind words.
@ Brenda (the real one! -- made me laugh): How very interesting you’ve heard this kind of story so may times before in the fast food environment. (And both of you with Dairy Queen experience!) Here I was thinking I had a pretty unique story here! The fact he’s in his second semester is grounds for optimism. He seemed pretty motivated and determined.
@ Anonymous: a story like this one turns a long wait into a short one. And it was a story that was easy to keep straight and hard to forget. I’m sure Mom is providing the appropriate baby nourishment. I think he was a little conflicted about smoking Diverting money from baby supplies? Second-hand smoke? I don’t know.). But not now -- too much stress!

6:55 PM  

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