I Went Into Sales Because They Said a Pretty Face Could Sell Anything and Now I’m Quitting

September 26, 2008
By Karin Wefald, Boylston, MA

If I squint my eyes just right, the computer screen melts into a marshmallow of gibberish, a transporter device belonging to intrepid starships of the eighties. I’ve stared at it every day for ten years and before that it was that disgusting Mac, and you would think that things ought to be coming more sharply into focus. The pixels are getting smaller. So is my brain.

I can almost hear the connections snapping, the grey matter dying. I should do more crosswords. It’s the down words I never get, though- left to right makes sense, but scribbling down is stacking backwards, contrary to gravity.
“Hello?” It’s the girl with the orange hair and paperclip necklaces- the one whose name I forgot but starts with either M or G, the one who I want to take back to her fifth grade class where she looks like she belongs. Paper-clip necklace steps in front of my desk. Plopping down a box full of artistic crap like photos and beads on my calendar. I mean her desk, now.

A squeal of rubber outside as a vehicle peals out of the parking lot. Probably my car, fed up with my procrastination and fleeing homewards. Smart car.
“So,” Paper-clip necklace clears her throat. This is the part where I say something. Like, good luck, you’ll need it. Something encouraging, like sales is a fantastic job and you’ll be good at it too! Something deserving of multiple exclamation points and curly handwriting. !!!! Like a line of birthday candles upside-down.

But I have to go to the bathroom instead. So I smile the grimace of a melting jack o lantern and run to the third floor to see if my brain has started to leak out of my ears yet. No luck.

My feet walk me to the door. Baby steps. Meandering down horrid coffe-stained carpeting, past the fromage-worthy photographs of previous employees and company donors. And if the butterflies in my chest weren’t already encroaching on my air, I would be able to wonder out loud why I stayed here so long. As my eighth grade English teacher pounded into the brains of unwilling students ages ago, that’s a rhetorical question. Which means the answer doesn’t need to be said, it’s so obvious. (And if you don’t get it, well, you just happen to be a little slower than most people which is nothing to be ashamed of…but the floor patterns are quite lovely, aren’t they?)

The floor patterns are quite lovely. It’s supposed to rain this weekend, and maybe hail and be in the mid sixties, with a high of seventy two and a low of something or other. But enough about the weather.

I’ve almost escaped, and I can say it. Escaped to my three room apartment with the dead cacti (I thought that cactus stayed alive through everything, but I think they’re allergic to Pennsylvania) and playset in the back from previous owners that I hadn’t the will to remove. Back to the land of perpetual tunafish and stacks of self help books that I buy for the promises and leave on the shelf because I’d rather believe in their ability to work without having to watch them fail. And then I’ll know, I’m free.

(But I’ve still got that beanbag of a cat to feed.)

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