My favorite snapshot out of the three that we have written so far would probably be the one concerning our first jobs and our experiences during our first day at work. I feel this is my most favorite snapshot because I used lots of colorful imagery and tried to evoke a sense of being in that exact moment with sense details and quotes.
English 109.01 @ 10:30
Oct 20, 2011
Snapshot Three: My First Job
The cool air conditioning penetrated my skin as I walked into the small Chipotle Mexican Grill, at four o’ clock pm, ready for my first day of work. I took a whiff of the mouthwatering aromas as I stood by one of the round tables, waiting for my manager, Kevin. The sweet and spicy smell of the salsas against the carnal smell of the pinto beans just brought me up to the sky.
“Well, hey, Chaitanya! We got all your paperwork Sunday, didn’t we?” Kevin asked.
“Um, yeah we did. So today do I get to do the assembly line?” I asked, eagerly.
“We sure do. But first, I’m going to show you how to work the line,” he said as he motioned at me to follow him to back of the dining area. He took a good 20 minutes explaining how to work the tortilla station. My first customer came rolling in. She was a big, black woman, to say the least. She had her eyebrows drawn on and the stench of her cheap perfume exuded past the little window that kept the food out of tangible reach.
“Hi ma’am! What can I get for you?” I asked in my exaggeratedly happy voice.
“Hey, sweetie. Get me a barbacoa bol,” she said in a dull, monotone. Her chunky bracelet clinked against the steel edge of the assembly line, as she carefully inspected how much food I was serving on her bowl. I poured a scoop of rice in her bowl, as per Kevin’s instructions of one full scoop.
“Any beans on that ma’am?” I asked.
“No, no, no, honey. I need me mo’ rice on that!” the woman replied. She seemed
insulted. I poured another scoop of rice on her bowl and slowly shifted the bowl towards the beans. She snickered at me with her scratchy, husky voice as she shook her head in disbelief.
“Listen, baby. I ain’t no skinny-Minnie like you. I needa EAT! So if you will, get me
some mo’ rice up on that bowl.” I, extremely intimidated at this point, nodded at the woman’s instructions and poured yet another scoop of rice. I asked her this time if it was enough. She motioned her hand to gesture, yet, another scoop. I scooped a fourth load of rice onto her bowl. Her bowl was filled to the top with rice at this point.
“Any beans, ma’am?” I asked her again. This time, the superficial smile wiped clear off
“Nothin’ else honey. Just the barbacoa. I ain’t want nothin’ else,”
Whew, I thought as pat down the rice with the serving spoon to make more room for the barbacoa. I grabbed the steel tongs and added a heaping portion of barbacoa.
“Will that be all for you, ma’am?” I asked her quickly because the customers behind her
seemed quite flustered. The lady nodded as I passed her bowl down the assembly line and proceeded on to the next customer. About an hour and a half later, Adrian, the assistant manager, asked me to bus the tables. I quickly took off my latex gloves and grabbed a rag from below the assembly line. I wiped off all the tables and stools. I mopped the floors, washed my hands in steaming water, and proceeded to go back to my spot at the assembly line. Some other girl, Brittany had taken my spot at the tortilla station. I just stood next to her with a puzzled expression.
“Um, bag the chips. Adrian moved me here,” Brittany informed me. I nodded in
acknowledgement. I went to the back and asked this other guy, Saul how to bag the chips. He shook his head at me with a slight grin on his face. I couldn’t tell if he was annoyed or just wanted to tease me. He explained how far up to fill the bags and how to fold them as well. I did that for about an hour. I was a little annoyed. I mean, I thought I was going to be working the line, not bagging chips!
It was 9:15 pm. I was so excited. My shift was going to be over in another 45 minutes. I was working at the tortilla station again. Kevin motioned at me to come to the back for a second. I took off my gloves, and went to the back by the fridge.
“Alright, you’ve been doing pretty good so far. You’re done with the tortilla station for tonight. You can just stay back here and do the dishes till your shift’s over. Good?” Kevin asked with his thumb up, expecting my approval. I agreed reluctantly. Slouched over the sink, I grabbed the heavy hose and sprayed out the dried sour cream, crusted on the edges of the steel bins, and threw the leftover meat in the big trash bags. Luckily, I wasn’t alone to have to bask in my misery by myself. Juan Luis, a jubilant Mexican, chopped up onions and peppers right behind me at the prep station. He whistled and shifted his feet to a cumbia beat that was playing on the radio, La Mega 103.1 fm. He appeared so carefree and didn’t seem to mind the mushiness on the ground that was clearly bothering me.
“¿Ey, estas nueva aqui, verdad?” Juan Luis asked with a wide grin on his face. He definitely noticed that I was new. I don’t know how he assumed correctly, that I knew Spanish. But he assumed right. It was probably my brown skin.
“Ay, pues si wey. Pero estoy super cansada,” I answered back. I felt my eyes drooping down and let out a loud, almost obnoxious, yawn.
“Hey, you can clock out now!” Kevin hollered across the kitchen, interrupting my mid-slumber. I said bye to everyone, grabbed my purse, clocked out, got in my car, and drove home. I drove home barefoot that night. My feet were killing, my jeans were soaked to the bone, and my arms hurt. I got home to my mother and her unpleasant facial reaction.
“Ugh, you smell so bad, beti. Go take a shower.” My mom said.
“Amma, just, can you shut up right now? Goddamn I’m so tired!” I hissed. My mom stared at me, flabbergasted, as I ran up to my room, threw my bag on the floor, took off my soaked jeans and instantly fell asleep.