Thanks a Lot, Folks

Posted by on March 25, 2011

Back when I was just out of high school, I had this really crappy job working at a dry cleaners. I went to my  college  classes in the mornings and in the afternoon, I went to work in what could only be termed as a kind of hell because seriously, in Florida, someplace that generates that much heat AND doesn’t have any air conditioning? Is hell.

But it was pretty easy and by the time I got there, the owner was gone for the day so it was just me and another girl my age. The  lack of supervision is what really appealed to me. I heartily disliked being micromanaged and having authority figures breathing down my neck all day and so I put up with the perpetual discomfort in exchange for a wee bit of freedom at work.As I was finishing my first year of college, my dad and stepmom announced that we were moving. My father had been transferred about two hours north and they planned to start house hunting right away.

I didn’t embrace this idea at all because even though I’d given up on my pathetic campaign of trying to turn skillfully-planned but not-at-all-random encounters with my ex-boyfriend back into a relationship,  I’d become involved with a really cute guy that I’d had a mad crush on in ninth grade. We’d quickly become close friends who had recently crossed that line and I was quite enjoying it.

So, I wasn’t ready to leave but the idea that I could get actually get an apartment and stay behind had never occurred to me and thus, I begrudgingly  accepted the idea that I was leaving behind my cute friend-with-benefits.

Soon thereafter, my parents announced that they had found a house and proceeded to try and sell us kids on it. For my brother and sister, they talked up all the kids their age in the neighborhood and the high school they’d be attending in the fall and all the great community activities they could take part in.

And for me?

“Well! There’s a Dryclean USA right around the corner from the house. Actually, there are TWO in the area. Maybe you could get a transfer!” they exclaimed.

They were trying so hard to make this place seem appealing that I felt bad and nodded in faux-excited agreement but on the inside I was all “You expect me to get psyched about a drycleaning franchise in the new ‘hood? Are you friggin’ kidding me?” It was hardly a selling point…

Considering that I was the only one of four kids to actually GRADUATE from college, I look back on that conversation and I find it incredibly insulting that they didn’t even suggest any schools for me to transfer to—they never even inquired as to what I planned to do about college.

I know the end result of all my fancy book learnin’ was a very expensive piece of paper and that I haven’t achieved a fraction of what I’m capable of but is that all they could come up with for me?  Is that all they could see me doing? Working at a @#$% Dryclean USA in suburban strip mall hell?

On the flip side, I disliked where we lived so much that within 6 months, I’d applied to and been accepted at the university my best friend attended. I moved the hell away and never went back except for holidays, weddings and funerals.

There’s no moral or takeaway from this story. It’s just something I was thinking about the other day.


  • Liz says:

    Good on you for moving on. Still. Sometimes, it feels real good to get this sort of stuff out of your head. Okay, most of the time. So, like, fine, brain farts 101 should be a required course of study. {{{hugs}}}

  • patois says:

    It is very telling that they set their sights on dry cleaners rather than area colleges for you. Good for you for getting that piece of paper without a pick-up date on it.

    • IzzyMom says:

      My parents were all about work. They’d gone far in their respective careers without college educations and they always insisted I have a job from age 15 on. My best friend and I called my stepmom “The Work Nazi” because she was always on me about maintaining employment.

  • You never know where a blog post might take you and what opportunities it might create.

  • Apryl's Antics says:

    Oh and all the things that have happened since then…. *Wayne’s World dream sequence* :)

    • IzzyMom says:

      I know, right? I might just start blogging my memoirs. There is SO MUCH fodder from the good old days. My life was actually a lot more interesting back then. I kind of wish we’d had the internet and blogs. On second thought… Maybe not.

  • I recently returned from a trip back to my other hometown in FL. I haven’t lived there in 28 years, and I hadn’t visited in over 20 years. I remember after my 10 year reunion, I swore I’d never go back there. I didn’t have contact with any high school friends, except for a precious one or two, and I had no reason to go back to FL since my parents were gone. I really didn’t think there was anything from my past that was worth revisiting.

    I was wrong. I went back for five days without kids and spouse: no cooking, no cleaning, no responsibilities. I discovered something. I have a few friends down there I wish I had never abandoned. And instead of thinking, “Thanks for nothing!”, I’m now feeling, “Thanks for sticking around. I’ll be back, and it won’t take me 20 years.”

    As for “using my education,” well, I’m a firm believer in knowledge for knowledge’s sake, so I don’t think my education was waste. But that’s just my humble opinion.

  • Bethany says:

    Sounds like your parents saw you as the one they didn’t need to worry about. I’ll bet you were always independent and I bet your kids will be that way, too.

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