Chris M.

I pulled my visor over my head and tied my hair into a high ponytail. I glanced in the little mirror in the car and got out, dusting off my apron. I was ready for my first day at my first job ever (besides Rookie, of course), working the register at Dunkin’ Donuts.

I was introduced to three girls in their early 20s. One of them, a skinny redhead, told me she would be my trainer.

“My boyfriend’s over there,” she said. “His name is James.” I would hear a whole lot about James.

“So, what do you do for fun?” said another girl. She didn’t look particularly interested in hearing my answer; she was probably told by the manager to make me feel welcome or something.

“Um, I like music a lot. And I play Dungeons & Dragons.”

“Oh wow, tell me more.”

Not picking up on her sarcasm, I started to tell her about my character: Cora, Elvin Vampire, Level 6 Rogue. I saw her eyes glaze over and, suddenly realizing my mistake, walked away as quickly as I could.

There was a lot of sitting around. The girls made themselves fancy flavored coffees and ate sandwiches and doughnuts and sat in the back room talking about their boyfriends. A girl came in, handed the redhead a stack of Avon magazines and a bag of samples, and scurried out the door.

“The manager sells Mary Kay, so we’re not allowed to buy Avon or look at the catalogs at work,” the redhead explained. “But she’s not here, so it’s whatever.”

The girl training me gave me a tour and was showing me how to use the cash register when a blond girl walked up to the counter.

“You’re going to have to spend some extra time on this one,” my trainer said. “She seems slow.”

“Make every drink in front of me one time, without explaining it, and then put me in front on the busiest hour,” I told the redhead. She did as instructed.

And I totally owned. Soon I was slinging caramel lattes and Coolattas like a total pro. It felt sort of pathetic to find joy in working minimum wage at a fast food joint, but I like to be good at things, and if I’m good at this, I’ll enjoy it. ♦