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Towel worms and other dirty jobs

2007 - server at Peruvian restaurant
2007 - server at Peruvian restaurant


I've been able to have several jobs to this point. Every one of them have had indispensable lessons.

I'm coming up on starting a fifth year at the LCD, and this is definitely the longest running job I've had. 

Possibly the most important, but I'm reviewing. 

My resume isn't as incredible as it is diverse, and it has been fun. 

A lot of the jobs didn't have contracts, benefits, regular hours, or even taxes. (Shh)

Driving cars for dealerships along the coast and sleeping in McDonald's parking lots with my best friend was a job without cares or homework. It did have its challenges, like staying awake. 

I'd never make a good truck driver, and if in such a short time "on the road" I encountered so many true weirdos, the odds aren't good for me out there. 

I heard something on the radio the other day about a laundromat that triggered a memory of another job. 

At a bar where I worked I started picking up more and more managerial duties. The good and the bad. 

Along with making and serving drinks, I started handling our paperwork and even washing the bar towels.

The only thing I didn't do was clean the bathrooms. I gave someone else my hard earned tip money to do that or I'd offer to clean the whole place if the other server would just handle the bar bathroom.

If you've worked in a bar, you know what I'm talking about. 

My cross to bear was the towels. 

These soaking, double-bagged bar rags were the smelliest, grossest things I'd dealt with in my rosy life. 

There was no way I was washing them at my own house in the machine where I washed my underwear and T-shirts, so I went to the laundromat. 

It was my worst weekly chore. 

The towels would be tossed by the bar backs under the counter as they became too dirty to use. Some of them would sit there in a laundry basket for several days before they were bagged up. 

When I'd get custody, the bag would have become slightly bloated from the gas-off of cotton fermenting in old, yeasty beer.

I'd set the trash bag up on top of a Whirlpool at Betty's Speedwash and tear the side open.

And there they'd be, the towel worms. 

They were pupating little maggots that would never get to fly. The off-white wriggling sprinkles would be sucked by the spin cycle into wherever washing machines take dirt and foreign objects small enough to fit through the basin holes.

I loaded that washer like I was ripping off a bandaid for two reasons. One, I felt guilty for using the public washing machine for my dirty, dirty laundry and I was afraid Betty was watching. Two, I wanted to spend as little time as I had to with the towel worms and sickly sweet rotten smell. 

I did feel bad for the mass killings. 

A lot of what I learned in that job came later as I realized how many things I should have done differently, but I think one of the best experiences was the worst.

It made me respect that there are dirtier jobs out there, ones that other people do all day, every day. 

There are technicians at hospitals who handle bio-hazardous waste. Someone gets on their hands and knees to unclog a commercial toilet. 

There are hard working people out there who do our dirty laundry, and I might do laundry again sometime. 

If you're adventurous enough, you don't know when you'll go from having a cleaning lady to being the cleaning lady. 

It has happened to me, and I'm the better for it!

So whether it has been learning the art of customer service through waiting on an impatient and grumbling diner with all my best knowing I still won't get a tip,

or facing the tax man for a harsh lesson after failing to file a financial report,

to driving someone else's car down a coastal highway with the windows down and sea breeze in my hair - it has all been good so far.

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Angela Spencer
Angela Spencer 12/03/13 - 06:09 pm

Totally get this

When I was a college student and went home during breaks, I worked the night shift at a local health club. The night shift was 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and I had to clean the ladies locker room by myself (including the dry sauna that hadn't been cleaned in three years - gross!) and I literally spent hours each night folding towels for our guests to use. It certainly helped me appreciate every person in a company that makes things run smoothly - even if you don't see them on a regular basis.

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