Tea Kettle Philosophy ― My First Job

Another round of head-spinning thoughts and ideas swirl in my brain as the kettle heats. This time it was about my first job, something I’m sure many of you can relate to. It takes about 10 minutes for the water to reach a boil, just what is needed to steep up that strong black tea I need for a real flavor boost. By the time the water in the kettle had reached a boil and I had poured it into the teapot for the tea to steep, the memories were pretty complete. Time to pour a cuppa and “enjoy the show.”

Working the concession stand is challenging and educating! (Photo source: stock image)
Working the concession stand is challenging and educating! (Photo source: stock image)

As I sit by the window, watching grey clouds build up overhead and then dissolve harmlessly back into water vapor and flocks of geese and ducks make their skyline trek to a warm clime, I sip a tea that is still steaming in the cup and sending swirls of tantalizing aroma around my nose as I thought back in time. We all probably remember our first real job, the one that paid us enough to go to a concert or buy a new pair of shoes not because we needed them but just because we wanted them. Pocket money, in other words. The job that taught us the value of our labor and gave us a sense of pride, even if that job wasn’t exactly our ideal.

My first job, not counting those little odd jobs around the house that Mom and Dad would pay me a quarter to do, was in a movie theater. It was the old-fashioned kind, not these gleaming multiplex cinemas of today. There was only one “silver screen” and so only one movie playing at a time, without those booming sound systems theaters have today. I mostly worked the concession stand. That meant serving up freshly popped popcorn, nicely fizzy colas, and jumbo-sized boxes of candies. The popcorn was 25 cents for a box of unbuttered and 35 cents for a small tub of buttered. (Hubby and I went to a movie recently and had to pass on paying $12 for a medium buttered popcorn and medium-sized cola. Yikes!) Occasionally, I got to sneak a peek at some “adult” movies showing there. (Never got to see anything that seemed the least bit racy to me, though.)

This experience taught me to show up on time, be nice to customers, be fast and accurate with filling their orders and making change, and most of all that my time had a value to the company that they acknowledged with their payment to me (slightly above minimum wage at the time). All lessons that I have carried with me all these years (no, I’m not going to say how many). It also taught me how to be responsible on the job, whether I was the one opening the concession stand in the morning or closing it at night. I was also able to juggle class work and keep my grades up.

Today, I juggle work and play, teatimes and sweeping sidewalks, vacuuming and reading a good book. We need the work to appreciate the leisure, but we also need it as a way to value ourselves. Something to bear in mind when you’re done with that steeping and can relax and sip your tea. Work and pleasure in balance. Enjoy!

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