Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: First Job, Worst Job, Dream Job

My first job was my favorite job—working at a movie theater at a mall in my hometown. A high school friend’s older brother was a manager and hired me on the spot. Despite the many hours of standing around, and coming home smelling like burnt popcorn, my infatuation with movies developed into a lifelong passion. This was the time of Purple Rain, Field of Dreams, and Fatal Attraction, after all.

At 16, I was kind of a shy, awkward girl, but I met so many people that it’s hard not to be outgoing. While lots of other kids my age were out drinking or out “experimenting,” my
friends and I were earning money for college. These are the same friends I saw recently
at a wedding—I connected with them as if it were old times.

What follows is a revised poem I wrote a while back describing my time at the theater. Although it may come off a bit negative, I wouldn’t t trade the experience for anything.

I should also mention that when I retire, I would love to own a one-screen movie theater, or just work at one tearing tickets—if they still have tickets in 2033.


First Job

At 16, I worked the concession stand at Circle 6 Theatres,
offering butter flavoring on big tubs of popcorn
and upsizing large drinks to the size of vats.
I envied the folks going to the movies,
entering a dark room to come out the other side changed.
The shopping mall where the theater was located was a Petri dish
of human interaction—young Navy boys on shore leave
trying to pick up high school girls looking to cement their
jailbait status with all of their jailbait friends.
After the late-night movies ended,
I’d walk down the house aisles
to find everything from used condoms to drink cups
filled with chaw. Eventually, I hated it all,
the front lobby hookups and breakups,
the unflushed toilets and syrup-covered floors.
I came home from my evening shift
crusted in burnt popcorn smell while my feet ached
from a burn deeper than flesh or muscle.
Wasn’t until later when I moved away from home
that I did all those things the lobby kids did in darkened theaters.
Now, Circle 6 is closed. The mall once filled with destinations
is home to stores with cool yet misspelled names like
DRESS 4 LESS, VIZIONS, and KOOL SHADES.
Rarely do I smell popcorn and not think about
the hard work of making people happy,
But, oh, to disappear in the dark for few hours
and come away as someone else—I long for it.

10 comments:

gautami tripathy said...

I like the poem.

"I came home from my evening shift
crusted in burnt popcorn smell while my feet ached
from a burn deeper than flesh or muscle.
Wasn’t until later when I moved away from home
that I did all those things the lobby kids did in darkened theaters."

Cool!

January said...

Thanks Gautami!

Jo said...

I envied the folks going to the movies,
entering a dark room to come out the other side changed

I like the poem too, especially this!

wendy said...

Movies help minds open...

I'm sad to say I would have been part of your problem..but I am way older..so I think I am (bearly) off the hook!

Becca said...

I really enjoyed your poem -I think you captured the feeling and flavor of the modern movie theater experience.

My mom tells me tales of the days when going "downtown to the show" was a big, "get all dressed up" event. There's probably a poem or story somewhere in her remembrances :)

sister AE said...

Good poem. I especially like
"The shopping mall where the theater was located was a Petri dish of human interaction"

colleen said...

Going into the dark and coming out changed ... the petrie dish of people ... you really described it well. But in the end when you get people together we're not really such a romantic bunch.

Mardougrrl said...

That was a great poem...I loved the sadness at the end about the change in the mall, echoing the way the people came out changed from a movie (but so differently). Wonderful.

KentuckyGal said...

A very great descriptive poem.

January said...

Thanks for the kind words!

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