Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hired Help

Back at the barn.

A shop girl. "Why, Miz Beverly, you are treating me like the hired help. Oh goodness me. I am the hired help."

Eight hour stints. No time to rest. Up and down the stairs. Count this. Straighten that. Fold the mohair throws one more time. I am stuck to the inventory. Beads of persperation glisten on my forehead. I am a mess. Part time seasonal assistance.

Less than a few hundred dollars a month after taxes and other withholdings.

Hardly worth it. But it covers the lawn cutting. Or, the groceries. Not much. But, something.

We're selling nostalgia. Summer cottage schtick. Seashore memories. None vintage. Signs mass produced yesterday in Indiana workshops. Old, new, eclectic eccentricities to the likes of 41's aging bride and their assorted and sundry in-laws, summer guests and name droppin' friends. Nothing real anymore. All picked over.

Busloads of seniors day trip at the port. Drop by. Just to browse. Buy a souvenir. A remembrance. A giftie ... $3 matches adorned with a mermaid or an olden time three masted tall ship. A lobster tea towel. Fake sea glass key chains.

Summer residents from Virginia and Montreal and New Jersey pop in to fetch a pale blue highboy stressed and distressed for their beach house. A Dash & Albert cotton rug for the breezeway. A tin mirror for the entryway. All fake. Otherwise fitting.

The days are hot in this 12,000 square foot warehouse dressed up like a quaint old cottage. Two ceiling fans barely stir the air. The agitating standing fan behind the counter rustles the papers messing up the receipts and faxes. A cool ocean breeze tries to enter the open front doors but is halted by the hot exhaust of the cars in the sandy parking lot.

It is summer by the sea. A few day jaunt for most. A break in the monotonous doldrums of life in Des Moines. A cracked lobster tossed casually on a blue and white earthenware plate drowning in butter. Old fashioned homemade salt water taffy. New England clam chowder with the ubiquitous oyster crackers crumbled on top. Blueberry pie and melting vanilla ice cream drip over the edge of the plate.

Summertime in Maine. I am bored here at the shop. But the sun has been shining. The nights are cool. Walks on the beach in the early morning are delicious. And I have a new-old lover 5 hours away.

Sometimes it pays to be the hired help. This year is one of those times. I am in the weeds!

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