Friday, April 2, 2010

4 Duds and 15 Jobs


When I was a 23 year old Floridian I tried and failed at moonlighting on several occasions. I mistakenly believed I could keep the day job as groundskeeper at my surrogate grandfather's nursery and wood/metal workshop, while also working a night job. I trained with UPS to load cargo planes and marshal them in at Palm Beach International Airport. I only lasted a session because I got hired at IHOP, where I trained as a waiter for the graveyard shift. I lasted there a week. I trained as the lone overnight copy boy at Kinko's. I only lasted a night. I trained as an overnight custodian at my college campus, vacuuming classrooms and erasing chalkboards. That lasted two weeks.

I've tried several other jobs, most of which I lasted at for much longer periods of time. When I was 16 I got my first job at McDonalds, where I stayed for 3 years. On that third year I also got a job at Mobil Lube Express as a courtesy technician, and even had a third simultaneous job. I was a silk fabric artist's assistant: painting pillow covers and lamp shades. It was all in the name of paying for college as I went along, and flying to see my first love (who lived 1,223 miles away).

Later on I worked at a Palm Beach County library, shelving returned books. I figure modeled for drawing classes at the local High School of the Arts (that my sister attended). I operated a pedicab on the main drag of West Palm. I babysat two elderly men at a sort of nursing home. I spent 3 months on a floating processor off the Alaskan coast, docked on an Aleutian island: yanking, packing, and shipping North Pacific Cod guts. I've also had many odd jobs, mostly cleaning up construction debris at random residential renovations and boarding up windows in advance of hurricanes. I was once the only Judeo-Colombian "man with a van" in PBC. I call all that my grunt work experience.

With my father being a master electrician and handyman deluxe, you'd think I've had more professional training in the trades. The problem was that it never really fascinated me. I've never lasted at anything I didn't love so much that I'd do it for free. I did serve as a helper commercial electrician for a year at the company my father used to work for, but I didn't learn much since I wasn't fully engaged. Don't get me wrong. I'm one of the most assiduous workers you'll ever meet. Tireless. But the info goes through one ear and out the other if I don't have a sentimental attachment invested in the job.

The last three jobs I had were transportation-related. I delivered fresh organic produce to households through Miami-Dade in a cargo van (out of a warehouse) for a little while. Then I moved to NYC and delivered packages as a bicycle messenger for a month. Then I drove a truck for a moving company in New Jersey for a while. And last but certainly no where near least is my current job as a yellow cab driver in Manhattan. It's been the longest running (almost 4 years), most lucrative, and most exhilarating job I've ever had (thus far.)
In the future I'd like to become a paramedic, a bike mechanic, a multi-lingual interpreter, an eco-urban tour guide, a sherpa, a farmer, an ethnomusicologic DJ, a travel writer, an anthropology professor, a geography wizard, a more spiritual person, and a hundred other things.

The price to pay for the luxury of practicing truth is never unaffordable.


  1. never indeed amen, though sometimes I feel this job intellectually stimulates me: getting to never store it so far in the recesses of my mind these fears we all have but don't admit to about people, and then on the other hand I feel like it's too difficult sometimes to have to find the very very rare person that demeans everything that they as a person represent, and I wish i had a simpler job where I could meet and greet everyone without worrying if they intend to pay their fare.

    the full truth nude in front of us, and we must face so much humanity like little tests to bring us one step closer to completion.

  2. This makes me like you even more; who knew that was possible?
    You already are at least half the things you aspire to become in the last paragraph.


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