Friday, September 21, 2012

Connecticut Grown

The first job I ever had was at a farm stand. I was thirteen; in retrospect the whole thing may have been illegal. I didn't stay there long, but I learned how to work a cash register and make cappuccinos with frothy milk tops (hey, it was a farm stand in Fairfield County) and not get locked in a walk-in freezer. I learned that even when the sign makes it look like pumpkins are sold by the pound, they're probably not. (And that some people will pay way too much for pumpkins.) I heated delicious-smelling, pre-assembled pies in an oven and surreptitiously consumed too many chocolate chip cookies and cups of lemonade. At the end of each day, as dusk fell, I carried the tray of cash across a gravel parking lot, the first time outside of baby-sitting that I was responsible for something valuable that I didn't own.

With the exception of the chocolate chip cookies and lemonade, and the smell of the baking pies, I hated every minute of it. Though in the years that followed I worked many more retail jobs, I could tell I was not cut out for it. I didn't know it then, but I belonged on the other side of the stand, where you don't have to be good at math or smile at customers, where you can take pictures of the produce and then leave whenever you want to, no clock-watching required.

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