False Starts

False Starts

Sometimes when I look in a mirror I see someone who is eighty pounds thinner and built like Dwayne Johnson. I like to romanticize my life, my stories, picturing myself as an artist creating a beautiful painting, or an author penning a best-selling novel. However, the reality is that much of my life up to this point has been more like Jon Drummond, and I am not referring to his accomplishments and what he is famous for but more his infamy – the laying down on the track in protest against his ‘false start’ type of thing.

The months wore on in this coastal city…blah, blah, blah, had two roommates, renting a house, a hang out place, yadda, yadda, yadda, working in a restaurant, and the story went on. The only thing going for me was that I was now engaged, which in the moment made my life look even more pathetic. I did not have my shit together. I hated being apart from her. I hated the drama of my roommates. I hated my coworkers and after a couple of months I hated my boss, which made things really awkward for me.

The owner of the restaurant had just recently given me more administrative duties of which one of them was to do the payroll. During the course of doing the payroll I saw that he was paying himself a very large monthly wage, which made sense since he was the owner. I then noticed that his wife was also making a very large wage, which he justified, indicating that she does marketing work, blah, blah, blah. But then when I saw that both his children were also on payroll, making more money each month then I could dream of for myself at the time – and they were only 8 and 10 years old – well I wanted to know exactly what the yadda, yadda, yadda was all about.

The explanation became quite pointed and during that conversation I also brought up some scheduling irregularities and non-compliance to existing labour laws. The end of the conversation ended with a directive from him to continue to schedule in that way and stop asking questions about what is happening with payroll or else I would no longer have a job. I opted to no longer have a job.

Truth be told though I had already resolved to leave. After all, this was just like every other scenario that had been playing out in my life for the last several years. I was tired of all of these false starts. I wanted to get into the race, maybe even win one or two. I wanted to get somewhere. My reasoning at the time was that I was young enough that I could quit and head back to the valley city, focus on getting married, and then together we could literally pick a place to move to and start fresh – just the both of us. It sounded romantic enough with just enough of a promise of freedom from the false starts that I made it a reality by leaving this restaurant management job at the coast, packing up my belongings, and moving back in with my parents.

It was magical being back in this valley city, once again reunited with my fiancee. The first few months that went by I was unemployed. I would wait for her to get off of work so we could talk about when to get married and what that might look like, along with dreaming about where we would go to start our lives.  But, like most fantasies, there is an end and after having my fiancee pay yet another one of my bills, I woke up one morning realizing that I was going to get married and I had no way of supporting us.

Given that this was a very small city, employment options were quite limited so I put my resume out to every place that was hiring, in hopes to find something so I could begin to contribute to our future. To my frustration, a local fast food restaurant called me up for an interview. If I knew one thing – it was that I did not want to work in the restaurants any longer. However, I did not want to come off as a bum and a deadbeat so I went to the interview.

At the interview I was aware that the position was between me and one other person. During the interview I told the manager that if they needed me to come in, I did not have transportation and therefore it would take me at least an hour to walk there as I lived on the other side of the city. I went on to complain about a few other issues and in the end I told them that they would be better off going with the other candidate.

Not surprisingly, they did.

A week later, they called me up. The other guy didn’t work out and now they were offering me the job.

I reluctantly took the position.

I started the next day as a cook in this finger-licking good fast food restaurant. Within a month, corporate had been informed of me and my restaurant management qualifications, and approached me about becoming a restaurant manager in another city. This was the start of a potential career – working for corporate was a lot different then working for a solitary greedy restaurant owner. And it was a way to provide for my bride to be. The catch? The move would be soon. Very soon.

My fiancee and I talked about this sudden turn of events and we made the decision to abandon the wedding plans and elope instead. We shared the news with both of our parents – both of which also eloped and we were given their support. I contacted head office and accepted their offer, conditional on allowing my fiancee and myself two weeks to elope, squeeze in a honeymoon, and then move, relocating to this new city.

They accepted.

No more false starts. I was in the race.

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