I was recently asked to discuss why I choose to write. This was my answer.
I was admitted into the architecture program at Cal Poly Pomona, one of the best architecture schools around, and switched my major to English with a minor in Journalism after the first year. My family, friends, and classmates thought that I was insane for switching out into such a “doomed” life path, but I wasn’t worried—that much.
I knew that if I chose a path that I was passionate about, and that I could look back on when I’m lying in my death bed, and think that with this choice, I’ve contributed to a life that I am happy with, then it wasn’t insane.
I have a passion for story telling in every medium of writing. I enjoy the conversations and information that comes out of something that I have helped to create, and I believe I can do all of this and much more through writing. Continue reading “Why I Choose To Write”→
My hands hit the keyboard again and I felt as though they haven’t touched these rows of hard plastic in over twenty years. I write everyday whether the sun is shining or the cold and heavy showers of rain hurl down on top of me, but I feel as though this isn’t enough.
I’ve seen a lot of really random things at this point in my time while working in retail. I’ve held strange conversations with older people about what they had for breakfast while opening the store, seen angry customers yelling and throwing temper tantrums just to get a ten percent discount on a pair of socks, and witnessed mentally unstable thieves steal dresses off of clearance and bolt out the front doors and into a get-a-way car. But one thing that I’ve seen the most is terrible unattended small children getting lost and messing with things.
I don’t know how many times frantic parents had our associates call a Code Adam because they lost their children, and to be honest, I’m surprised that we don’t have to call it more.
“Mommy I need to go potty!” A little boy of preschool age was doing the potty dance by his mother while holding his crotch. “Mommy I gots to go now!”
“The restroom is right ov—“ I started to point to the back of the store where are restrooms were for the woman at the counter paying for jeggings and a yellow neon colored top, but was cut off when she told her son to go outside and pee in the bushes.
“Honey, go outside around the corner and find a bush. Mommy’s gettin’ her clothes.” I stared at the woman standing in front of me for a second and then continued to ring her purchase.
The little boy had begun to unzip his pants as he ran outside to go pee in front of our store’s major entrances. And after I was done stuffing the mother’s ugly clubbing attire into a plastic bag, the boy came running back to tell his mother what he had just done.
“Mommy! I peed far!” The little kid’s eyes lit up as he gestured the distance of how far his unsanitary stream of urine shot out from his body in front of random strangers on the street.
“That’s nice. Let’s go home okay?” The mom grabbed her bag off of the counter and didn’t even turn around to see if her three children were following behind her.
I began thinking about all of the other kids that were climbing on top of the pile of clothes that I had just folded, the ones playing tag in between the clothes racks, and the children who were left by the register while their parents were shopping in the hopes that the cashiers could double as babysitters in the time being. I came to the realization that there are a lot of terrible parents out there who should not be allowed to have children.
Sometimes I bypass the freeway and take the city streets to work. I like watching all of pedestrians quickly walk by and the speeding cars weave in and out of the morning traffic.
The summer sun, still rising, illuminates the early birds and the morning people that are out walking dogs and riding bikes, and the young children get up to play before the weather gets too hot for their sensitive skin.
I watch as uniformed individuals run after the bus that is moving precisely on time. The hussle and bussle of the work day spins the crowds of living beings into a rush as they try and get to their appropriate destinations, and I just sit in my car and watch as a passerby.
“Hello, I can help you over hear ma’am.” It was the beginning of the day and I had just opened the store when a middle aged woman walked up to the counter.
“Yes, I would like to purchase these three items.” The lady at the counter set two similarly ugly shirts and a gaudy looking bracelet down on top of my scanner. I quickly rang the woman’s purchase at the counter and started to grab a shopping bag.
“Umm, you know what? Can I ring this shirt and this bracelet up separately?”
“Sure ma’am, no problem.” I exited out of the current screen and then rescanned the items according to her request. “Okay, here you go.”
“No, I changed my mind. Can I get the two shirts separated from the bracelet?”
I started to become frustrated with the woman at the counter. “Yes MA’AM. I’ll be HAPPY to scan these items a third time.” Another older couple came up behind the lady at the counter while I was angrily stuffing her purchase into the bag for a third time.
“You know what? Can I get the other shirt and the bracelet together on a gift receipt and then the other shirt separately?” I glared at the woman making the evil demands.
The couple standing happily behind the lady popped up from the now snaking line and began to start a conversation with me.
“Are you a Christian young lady?” The elder woman asked me as I was rescanning items.
“Yes ma’am.” I didn’t know how the question was relevant to retail, but I just humored her.
“Thank goodness. That’s great to hear. There are too many people out there that need Jesus. You see that lady right there?” She was pointing to my elder coworker who had been working at the store for over twenty years.
“Yes, I see her ma’am.”
“Well, her husband is a preacher at the church I go to. We need to make sure everyone hears about the Lord Jesus.” The woman started raising her hands to the ceiling and shaking her fists in some sort of solo celebration. “Praise Jesus,” she gently whispered to the store’s ceiling.
“Okay, will that be all ma’am?” I turned to the other crazy lady with the rude requests standing in front of me.
“Yeah.” She suddenly grabbed her bag and walked out of the front door in a fast pace.
I had no idea what made her suddenly so upset. With all this soul saving at the register you would
think she’d be at least amused if shewasn’t a Christian. Maybe she worshipped the devil? I thought to myself.
“Yeah, umm, when do you need to go on your break hun?” My new teacher out on the floor pretty much had it up to the lower levels of heaven with my inadequacy at the cash register. I had single handedly halted a huge line of customers causing mass panic behind the counter, and f#cked up the computer so bad that they had to call in the IT department for help.
“I’m so sorry,” I said. “I think it’s time for me to go out on the break.” My “buddy” for the day picked up the phone and dialed my energetic training instructor.
“Hey when do you want your new employee back?”
“Yeah, I got it. I’m leaving right now” I told the upset employee who was on the phone. I was half expecting the cash register to spontaneously combust and to suffer in some sort of freak inferno as I was walking away, but instead an error sign blocked anyone from making any transactions. “Sorry I screwed that up, and I’ll see you around!” I yelled to everyone as I ran to the training room. Things were obviously not working out in my favor.
“Hey new kid, how’d everything go!” My training supervisor was bouncing around the room with all of the other frustrated new employees.
“Umm. Not so great,” I replied.
“Aww, I’m sure it wasn’t that bad. Hey, turn that frown upside down!”
“It was that bad.” I wanted to tell her that she needed to stay away from the coffee too, but killing someone’s optimism in this line of work is just cruel. Ms. Smiley was obviously in love with her minimum wage job, and that was totally fine. I’ve always been the advocate for doing what you love, which made this job even harder for me to go into everyday. I don’t really like it when catastrophe strikes and things catch fire because of me.
“Okay you new kids! Get those smiles on and let’s go to the meeting! Whooooo!”
My training supervisor had to be on crack. She was way too hyper and all smiley not to be on some sort of drugs this early in the morning. She flung her curly blonde hair around as she danced down to the department meeting.
“Yeah! Whooo! Let’s go see everyone! I want to have em’ meet all you new kids on the block!”
The eight of us girls wearily filed into the women’s department before the store opened to a group of women that were already waiting to start the day.
“Ya! I wood love to organize me closet by color an size like we do in da store,” I overheard one of the lead sales associates say. She sounded ridiculous when she spoke about going home to organize her closet after she would spend all day organizing things in the store. She sounded even more ridiculous with her accent. “Ahh! da new girls!”
“Yeah these are all the new kids on the block! I’m so excited! Whooo!”
These people were all crazy, and I was clearly already annoyed with everyone at the meeting. It was really early, Ms. Smiley pants couldn’t stop squirming around in the store’s aisles, and this foreign chick couldn’t stop talking about rearranging her closet.
The department head walked up in front of everyone to talk about yesterday’s sales and other information that I really wasn’t all that interested in. I stayed at the meeting because I happened to see a box of muffins in the corner behind the group of crazy employees.
“Okay yous guys! Da department manager wants to take da time to honor one of our employees who have been here for a long while!” The Eastern European nut job acted like she was in charge of everything and pushed aside people with her bony hip. “Ya. Here he is!”
Our store manager presented an elderly employee with an expensive watch for working at the store for thirty years. She never said anything—I hope someone checked to make sure she was still alive.
“Okay you new kids on the block! Let’s get out there and start greeting the customers! Whoooo! Remember, the customers are the boss. Make sure you keep the customer first!”
After fixing my poor car and returning to my own town, I immediately found myself back at my boyfriend’s place.
When I had left his place the last time I had spent nearly two hours sobbing about nothing, but things were definitely turning around when I decided to visit him a week later. I had spent only about a day with him, but when I left his place I wasn’t really sad at all. I mean, I knew that I was going to miss him and all, but it felt nothing like the time before.
A day of talking and just enticingly gazing into each other’s eyes eased the manic depressive emotions that spilled out the weekend before. I hated to admit it, but I really never felt like that about any other guy before.
I never visited other boyfriends who lived hours away like I do with my current boyfriend. I never cried about possibly leaving anyone, or actually felt guilty about other guys trying to talk to me. It was weird for me to move from being a serial dater to someone who was actually invested in a relationship.
“I don’t know, this is definitely a different situation this time around,” I told my friend from second grade.
My friend softly chuckled behind a smile and then sighed.
“He told me that there’s something about you I just can’t let you go,” my friend from second grade told me about her Oregon crush. “He really liked me Jas, and after all these years we still like each other.”
My friend and her guy from Oregon had spent only a month with each other under the blazing summer heat. Every second that they shared brought them closer to each other and strengthened the foundational bond that they had when they were children.
“Jas, I always dreamt of winning that cheesy teddy bear from the county fair and it all came true that night.” And after a whimsical ride on the Farris Wheel, her guy even won her three fish for her.
“Those fish are going to last a month because I got them for you,” her guy from Oregon said. It was the last time that they were probably going to see each other for a while, and the two of them were not too keen on long distance relationships.
“If he lived here we would be dating,” my friend said.
“What’s so bad about long distance relationships?” I asked.
“It’s too hard—and I don’t really want to be alone. But you know what? That night at the fair was such a beautiful memory to add to all the other beautiful memories. I may or may not love him, but my cup runneth over. He definitely knows how to make everything perfect.”
I felt the deep pain welling up inside her aching heart as she spoke to me. Tears nearly fell from her eyes before she caught them with her gently shaking hands, and I knew right then that there was something magnificent between those two.
A little piece of my best friend’s heart was taken away to Oregon after that. I didn’t know if they would ever get married, or if they would even get the chance to date again, but I knew that in the end that all it was worth it—and that it wasn’t a bust.
To read the journey from the beginning click here.