Thoughts Of A Working Student This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Waldbaum's, my second home - the aisles are filled with groceries, cosmetics, flowers, anything you need. We've got toy train sets and poinsettias, fresh chicken, roasted chicken, sun-dried tomatoes and frozen fruit. I can hear elevator music faintly in the background if I choose to. The clear white light above me that says number 1-8 and reminds me that I've just begun my day at work. Meanwhile, half the world is finishing up at theirs.

A women with blond, short hair and a comfortable-looking brown overcoat looks up at me and smiles. She's getting ready for me to check her groceries.

"Do you have the time?" she says. I look down at my watch.

"Yes, 2: 45." I smile back, as if to tell her I've had a long day as well. Who knows why she asked. Maybe she's late for picking up her children. How much larger can her order be? I check out her broccoli, frozen dinners, and over 12 bottles of caffeine-free diet Pepsi. The truth is, the time doesn't really matter to me. I'm stuck at work till 6: 00.

Finally I have no line and five minutes to think. What did I do today that was any different from any other day? Nothing. Each day I wake up and go to school. One day it's a good day and the next day it's a day of being bombarded with tests and homework. When will a Friday ever be as good as it's cracked up to be? It seems to me that all my teachers insist on giving tests on that amazing day. I have concluded that there's nothing different about Friday except that the day after there is no school. It really isn't the best day of the week.

Back to work. Every time I get into thinking, someone needs me to do something.

"Do you know where the marshmallows are?" says someone who was dressed as if her day at the office just ended. Her hands are filled with the necessities for making dinner for one night. Actually she isn't exactly making dinner, she is nuking it. She'd selected all the microwavable dinners in the store, all different types and brands. I wonder how many people she is feeding.

Unfortunately, I know where the marshmallows are. So I guess that means I have to tell her.

"Aisle 9 on the left, about half-way down on the last shelf," I say. There goes my line again. Why do I always get five people on my line? It's never just one person. I always have a line. What bothers me the most is when people read only what they want to read. The batteries on special are one pack per customer. One man decides he's different, so comes on line with three packs of double A batteries. Then he yells at me because the batteries not being on sale.

"Sir, the coupon specifically states that the limit is one per customer." Why can't you just read, sir? I think to myself. He was able to read that there was a sale. So if he'd just read a little farther, he would have seen there was a limit. As he walks away, he mumbles nasty things about the store, as if it's our fault he can't read. I guess it's just human nature, after all that's what my mother always tells me.

Thank you, God, for giving me my fifteen-minute break. It's time to regain sanity. I sit back and just do nothing but sort out my thoughts. I look around at the different people, some in black, some teenagers, some old, others young. I am so tired at the end of my day, I hear my bed talk to me. It says, "Amy, you did enough for one day. Come, it's time for bed." So that's what I do. I crawl into bed.

I've been working for three months now. It has been a very stressful time in my life. Every day I think how is everything going to get done? The truth is everything never gets done; there is always something I forget to do or just can't do. My weary eyes pray to be closed for more than seven hours a night.

There are good things that have come out of my experience. I am very responsible when it comes to being at work. I also get along well with my employee friends. My parents have gained more respect for me as well as trusting me more. I guess it's all relative. Most of all I've gained respect for myself. I used to spend money like it wasn't worth anything. Now however, I keep my own checking account and keep track of all that I spend.

A"Excuse me, ma'am, I need to get in there." It's that time again. Time to open. Unfortunate-ly they saw me coming and already formed a great big line.

"How much is this cereal?" a little old lady asks me from a distance. I look up not really wanting to answer her, but I know I will. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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