Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Job Everyone Only Works One Time

Given my current state of unemployment, I've obviously given thoughts to different types of jobs that I would be interested in working and the possibilities of my career going in new and unexplored directions. I'm not looking to change professions, but it's only natural to ponder over these things in a situation like mine. As I was rolling Clifton Forge late this evening I rode past Nicely's Exxon & Car Wash and I started thinking about the job that everyone only works one time.

I took my turn at this job during the summer prior to my freshman year of college. It was an experience I'm not likely to forget and one that has become legendary among my friends. See, the story goes like this: My friend and coauthor, Devan, has family ties to this particular establishment. Patrick, whom readers of this blog will remember from earlier posts, will eagerly work for food. And since a few bucks cash always came in handy in those days I was happy to jump in for the ride.

Now, I guarantee most of you out there in blog land have never considered this, but take a moment to wonder where all the dirt and gunk that you wash off your vehicle at a car wash goes. Next time you're washing your car, look down. There's a little grate and drain beneath your vehicle where it all goes. It piles up, almost composts and turns to an inhumane, foul smelling sludge that should give the EPA absolute fits.

So Patrick and I meet Devan at the car wash and he proceeds to pull up the grates covering the pits. We look down at this and start to wonder just what we've gotten ourselves into. Devan disappears around a corner and returns with buckets and a couple of shovels.

That's when we realize we're screwed.

The only way to get that sludge out of there is to suck it up, hop down in that pit into sludge up over your knees and start filling buckets. I think we made $15 a piece (or some other paltry sum that wasn't really worth it). There was no recovery for our clothes. Three showers later and I still smelled like that sludge. We met Patrick's then girlfriend (and now fiancee) at Wal-Mart that night to buy a huge fish tank and we used every bit of lotion that she and her friends had with them.

We still smelled like that sludge.

There is a legendary story about this job that I can't verify because I wasn't there to witness it. I believe it was two of Devan's brothers cleaning the pits out one time. Legend has it that a homeless man walked up to them and gave them both a dollar and offered these words: "You obviously need this more than I do."

Most everyone who knows this branch of the Nicely family gets drawn into this job at least once. I've yet to know of anyone who will admit to doing it twice.

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