First and Last Beach Day (2015)

lifeguards
lifeguards

Today I went to the beach for the first time all summer. After setting up shop, the woman next to me took out her full hookah and set up her shop. The kids in front of me were having a great time until their dad came and started yelling at everyone. He ate a lot of spaghetti. A kid went missing and the first time they announced his name it was Henry. The second time, it was Cameron. But maybe there were two different seven-year-olds wearing red Spider-Man shorts. Maybe.

What it feels like to get fired a day after a biopsy:

Soul-crushing and liberating. Heart-breaking having to remind yourself that this is not a reflection of your self-worth.

Being released from an unnamed (make-your-own) chocolate shop on the Upper West Side where you had an asshole boss kind of feels like chocolate.

I had no plans on leaving the place any time soon. My co-workers were great, playing with chocolate was fun, and customers loved me. Like most people, I love being loved.

The only person who didn’t love me was my asshole boss. Maybe it was because I was on for three months and people took a quick liking to me. Maybe it was because of that one time I told her I wasn’t cool with her treating me like I was stupid all the time. She had told me to not take it personally, to which I smiled and said, “I could not take it personally, but you could also just stop.”
I’m not a trouble-maker but I stand up for myself.

I had e-mailed her far in advance to let her know that I needed to make a schedule change because of some health problems. I told her boss “I might have cervical cancer,” and started sobbing. Which may have been embarrassing for him but wasn’t embarrassing for me because I own my feelings. And am not embarrassed by them.

She never e-mailed me back, or mentioned anything about the email the next time we worked together.

I was starting to get very minor anxiety over not receiving my schedule because she’s a shady human and also because I am psychic. The day, when I got my biopsy done, I actually called the store to ask her why I hadn’t gotten my schedule yet. She blubbered and sputtered and spat, “I haven’t made them yet!” After we hung up I texted my main choco-homie and he said he had gotten his schedule.

Now I was cackling because I laugh when I’m angry because I am kind of insane. It’s no big deal.

Opening the store with her the next day, the first words out of my mouth were “[Choco-homie] said he got his schedule.” She rebutted with, “We’ll talk later.”

Now I, as the trouble-maker I swore I wasn’t above, was not happy with this. She went downstairs, I finished opening the store and followed after her.

“Can we just talk now? You’re being weird.”

Her face pained up into some odd smile. I thought (hoped?) she was having a stroke. She laughed:

“Did you finish everything upstairs?”

“Yeah.”

The stroke continued, “Everything?”

I couldn’t even entertain that. My face gave her the ‘stop’ look and she stopped.

“No, we can’t talk now because I’m waiting for Chef.”

Chef was her boss. I laughed. “Alright dude.”

Going back upstairs, I mentally prepared everything I would say when either of them gave me the boot.

Bring up the cancer. Don’t bring up the cancer. Tell her you’re not surprised her son doesn’t want her to visit. Let her know her husband is only with her because he has a fetish for Asian women. Yes, your mom does hate you for forgetting her birthday. Eat shit.

Moments passed, I took some customers. Not many because it’s not the most popping place. I was cute and nice and sweet as always, and I’m not sure why. I could’ve gone out with a bang. I could’ve done a lot of things.

Instead, I waited until she came upstairs with a Manila folder and said we could talk now.
She let me know that when she hired me I had open availability (and could work 50 hour weeks, close the store at 12 and open it at 9 the next day, train other people, not take tips, etc,) and now “through no fault of your own” I don’t have open availability. Told me my last day would be tomorrow.

And then I was mad. She just avoided my termination and my questions so she could get me to work out the week. What a joke. I told her I’d come in tomorrow. What a joke.

“So…when you told me you hadn’t made the schedule, you lied?”
She laughed and avoided the question.
“Why would you not give me an ample amount of notice?”
“I’m sorry that you feel that way, I had other things to take care of.”
“You know this is totally uncool, right?”

She got up and walked away.

I carried on manning the counter and asked to go on a break. Packed up my bag and left that chocolate-sicle stand. Didn’t look back. Wish I could say I wish her and the shop nothing but the best, but honestly, I hope nothing but ill will lands that way. And I take it back, I don’t wish I could say otherwise.

So, getting fired the day after your biopsy feels like dark chocolate. Bittersweet. It also feels like a bad simile. Something that has to happen just to get it out of the way.

This week it was nice to find out I don’t have cancer, and it was even nicer to get my last paycheck in my bank account. This week it was nice to land a better job. This week it was nice to have time to write again. This week it was nice to start classes. This week it was nice to breathe. This week was nice.

What’s Inspiring Me Today?

Me. Mostly me. I am inspiring myself today and that’s the most I could ask for. Here are some photos:

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