The Neon Wilderness

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Behind The Counter
One of the NYT American Album pieces, this one about Gloria Castillo, 22, who works the night shift at Burger King. Gloria, a married, mother of two, feels as if her life isn't going anywhere, and maybe never will, stuck in neutral, paycheck to paycheck, just treading water, getting older, stuck, trapped, quiet desperation. It's sad, one line in particular stuck with me,
"Gloria Castillo stares out the open window, allowing the wet air to blow inside. “I got dreams,” she says. “I’m a human being.”She looks at the crummy little house across the parking lot with peeling paint. “That would be good too, a little house. I don’t want much.”
heavy stuff. I used to work in fast food, started when I was 15 working at Checkers (aka Rally's), I worked in fast food for four years, Checkers, Wendy's, McDonald's, until when I was 19 I got a job at K-mart, it seemed like such a step up. Fast Food is the hardest job I ever had, it really was, not physically, and definitely not intellectually, but it was hard, unless you've done it you couldn't possible understand, its hard being 19 and meeting a girl, she tells you that she's in her sophomore year at Drexel and then asks what you do, its hard putting on that uniform every morning, its hard having people treat you like dirt, an untouchable, the lowest of the low, its hard trying to pay bills with minimum wage, its hard being worried all the time about the rent or medical bills, its hard when people treat you like your stupid, and your so hard on yourself, we live in a society where a person is judged and judges himself based on their job, you feel like you've failed, every day you stand there behind a counter and ask yourself "where did I go wrong", " every time someone yells at you or you cash your check you say "I wish I had done better in school", you feel trapped, like there's no way out, you feel like this is as good as its ever to get, you watch the tv and see the billboards and feel as if the American dream has passed you by, you blame yourself, you hate yourself.

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