As part of my participation in My 500 words, I am posting what I write each day. I’m following the suggested prompt today, which was to write about fear.
I passed a milestone last week when I marked four years at my current job. I’m 47 years old and I’ve now been at this job longer than any other job in my life. My current boss asked me why I thought it was, never holding a job for more than 4 years in my life. I had to reflect. I sound like a shiftless drifter in some ways, or perhaps a romantic jack-of-all-trades with wanderlust. The truth is a little of both.
I was a young kid I wanted to grow up to be a policeman or fireman, this was mostly so I could drive a vehicle real fast through the streets with flashing lights. As I grew older I liked to draw and design things. I thought I might design cars or be an architect. I liked writing even back then and made up stories all the time. Then I discovered acting. I performed in community theatre and decided I wanted to be an actor.
My first job was mowing lawns for my dad’s church. I took my first real job working for a paycheck after high school. All day long I cleaned hotel windows. I worked slowly, daydreaming I supposes. I was fired after about two months. Then I worked as a pizza cook for nine months.
When I went to college to study acting, it was not an acting college and the theatre department was very small compared to performing arts schools. But I didn’t really know what I was doing. So I studied a lot of humanities as well as the few acting courses. I worked in the mailroom and the switchboard for work study. Over the summer I worked fast food twice and drove pizzas one summer.
I graduated college with a useless degree and tried to get into radio. The major stations in Honolulu may or may not have been interested in an intern, but I only applied to my favorite station once. I went back to delivering pizza for several months until I took a leap of faith and moved back to Maui where I’d grown up. There I finally got a job at a radio station.
At last, I was at a job where I had fun, mostly. I worked graveyard, which was fine as a bachelor, but not so good when I got married and started a family. When a day shift opened up, they didn’t give it to me. I was reliable and needed on nights. I realized it was time to move on. I had been there 3 years.
I thought I had a job lined up, but I didn’t. I spent a few weeks unemployed while my wife had National Guard Duty. Then I got a job driving shuttle vans to and from the airport. I spent two years there building seniority. The job had fast employee turnover. Soon I was getting the nicer vans and the hours I wanted, which was first thing in the morning. I was often at work at 5 to do a pickup at 6. I worked for tips as well as a salary, bringing home different amounts of cash each day.
In 1996 I applied to teach overseas as mission work. We were accepted, and after 5 weeks of training, I went with my wife and two young children to Budapest, Hungary where I taught English as a second language for two years. We came back with 3 kids and my wife was pregnant with our 4th.
We moved back into our first floor condominium on Maui and I looked for work. I cleared lots for a few weeks, did some stage setups with union guys and finally found a job as a substitute teacher.
Then in 1999 the worst thing in my life began.
And I haven’t even written yet about what I’m afraid of. I know what I’ll be writing tomorrow and look forward to sharing more.