Suck It Up, Buttercup: One Of The Many Times I Embarrassed My Mother

It was my first job ever.  I didn’t even apply for it.  A few days before my first day of high school, I was informed of my new position at Eldercare Pharmacy.  I was to work there after school until 5:30pm.  I was excited.  I’m not sure why.  We hadn’t even discussed that I would get a job in high school.  I guess my parents just thought I should.  Alright, then.

As usual, I hadn’t eaten a thing.  I never woke up in time to eat anything, and I refused to eat the nastiness they served for lunch at school.  No, not even the rubbery pizza with plastic cheese could tempt my palate.  Someone once pointed out to me that I could pack a lunch.  What?  Like, plan ahead?  When?  The night before?  Are you kidding me?  Nope.  Another option would have been bringing money to school for the vending machine, but I didn’t have a job, yet, so….

So, I hadn’t eaten anything.  I was distracted enough socializing learning at school that I didn’t really notice I was starving until I got to my first job ever.  This job also happened to be somehow associated with my mom’s business.  I’m not exactly sure how because they are two different companies, but they were in the same building.  Every one I would be working for and with already knew my mother before I showed up.  Unfortunately for her, they all knew that the new girl was a product of Debbie, the dragon lady.  Unfortunately for them, they probably had no idea that the dragon lady’s daughter would be a total flake.  On a completely unrelated note, over the four years that I worked for this company, I was “randomly” drug tested more than any other employee.  I’m pretty sure they thought I was on drugs.  Obviously, I wasn’t, but I think they just thought the only way a person could be as weird as I was would be if they were on hard core drugs.  Nope.  It’s just my brain.

I wasn’t nervous at all.  Maybe, I should have been.  I’d been there enough to visit mom that the faces were familiar.  I had the confidence (or arrogance) to know that whatever the job was, I’d learn quickly.  There really wasn’t anything to be afraid of.  As soon as I got there and introduced myself to one of my new bosses, I had to take a pause.  “I’m sorry.  I’m so hungry.  Like, really hungry.  I think I just need a pack of crackers.”  I was starting to feel pretty bad.  A mixture of nausea and painful hunger.  I went back to mom’s office to “borrow” money for a pack of crackers.  She was already really annoyed.  “Seriously, Becca?  You haven’t eaten anything today?  You idiot.”  In hindsight, I guess that wasn’t the best first impression.  Hello, I’m the new girl.  Thank you for this opportunity.  I’m here and ready to learn-right after I eat some crackers.  I eat my crackers and read the expression on my mother’s face.  It’s what I call the STOP BEING AN EMBARRASSMENT TO WHO I AM AS A HUMAN BEING look.  I don’t remember exactly what she said because I had gotten quite used to tuning her lectures out, but she definitely spoke in an angry tone.  She was ticked.  I had showed up at her job in front of her colleagues and the first thing I do after clocking in is bum money off my mom for some cheese n’ chive delights. I high tailed it back to the pharmacy.

Alright, Becca.  Big smile.  Big smile.  “Hi!  I’m back!  I’m so sorry about that.  I promise to eat in the future.  I just had such a busy day today.  Where were we?”  Stephanie was very sweet.  She showed me around.  I still didn’t feel so hot, but at this point I’d already looked like a total doofus.  I’m sure she was wondering why they hired Debbie’s stupid kid.  I had to keep smiling and nodding and being professional-whatever that was.  That’s when it happened.  I remember exactly where I was standing.  Right in front of the control room next to a tall, cream-colored, filing cabinet.  Her words were getting further and further away.  Keep smiling.  This will pass.  Keeping smiling.  Then, the dots came.  The thousands of little black dots you see right before you black out.  Don’t do it, Becca.  Keep smiling.  Don’t let the dots take you.  They’re going to think you’re nervous and that you can’t handle this.  Your mother is going to kill you.  Oh, God, I hope they don’t tell my mother.  I’ve got to sit down before I fall down.  Shit shit shit shit shit shitshitshitshitshit!  At this point, I KNEW there was no turning back.  I leaned against the filing cabinet and slowly slid down into an oblivion.

When I awoke, I was surrounded by people.  A circle of concerned faces.  I looked at each one trying to piece together what just happened.  Stephanie was looking pretty worried.  Mori, my new co-worker I’d met a few minutes before was holding a styrofoam cup of water for me and was trying her best not to laugh.  “Becca?  Are you okay, honey?” Stephanie asked. I have no idea what my response was.  I’m sure I was trying to explain that I hadn’t eaten anything today and that I really wasn’t nervous.  My worst fear at this point was that these people thought I had passed out because I was nervous.  Then, I saw her.  My mother.  Towering over me.  Not a glimmer of sympathy in her eyes.  It was “the look”.  I could literally see bits of anger oozing from her pores.  You know how cartoons turn red when they’re embarrassed or angry?  My mom does that, too.  Her face was the exact color of blood.  Cold blood.  Which was definitely how she was going to murder me later.

After a few minutes of mom telling everyone what an idiot I was and making it quite clear that she is severely embarrassed to be my mother, I thought she’d go away.  Nope.  Someone decided I should go home and start over tomorrow.  Without a license or a car, I had no choice, but to ask mom to take me home.  I honestly have no idea how the car ride home was.  I don’t remember what I said or what she said.  I don’t remember if I was angry or embarrassed.  After talking to mom recently, I’ve decided that the conversation was so awful that I have blocked it out of my memory.  Apparently, she lectured me on responsibility and humiliating her in front of her colleagues and-you know-eating.  When I brought it up with her to ask permission to share this story, she got angry all over again.  That’s one of the joys of Debbie.  She can be embarrassed and angry over and over and over again.  This event was over fourteen years ago and just mentioning it brought out a long Debbie sigh.

To say I learned a lot from this experience would be a lie.  Apparently, I was supposed to learn to come to work prepared.  I was supposed to learn to think about consequences of my actions and how they can affect others around me, but I really didn’t.  Not from this specific event, anyway.  I still don’t understand exactly why mom got so mad.  I had never had a hypoglycemic episode before. I never had another cracker experience like that again.  I still didn’t wake up in time for breakfast.  I still didn’t eat the food at school.  I still didn’t pack a lunch.  I did, however, learn to make fun of myself and share this story over and over with new nervous high-schoolers as they came in to work their first jobs.  If everything happens for a reason, then that is it.  I passed out to help newbies feel less nervous-and now, it goes down in the books as one of the many times I embarrassed my mother.

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