The position I coveted was highly sought after. Every girl who was born and raised in Oregon has, at some point, dreamed of working behind that shiny red counter at Tasty Freez. There is just something enchanting about the joint; from the vintage vibe (undoubtedly because not the building nor the menu has been renovated since 1963), and the thrill of being waited on by a pretty young thing (as all of the servers are young, energetic females with high ponytails and infamous bright red aprons), to the overwhelming satisfaction one gets when the waitress hands you a tower tall cone of soft serve and a bag of decadent, glimmering (due to a thick coating of canola oil and salt), crinkle cut fries. When I visited as a child, I was fascinated by the hustle and bustle taking place behind the counter. There was something strangely glamorous about the bubbly girls in the red aprons. It was hypnotic to watch them bounce around the small building; zipping through close quarters to place an order, mix a shake, and top off a soda – all without breaking a sweat or losing a grin.
Often times I would fantasize about this job – a line or work that looked to be about as fun as it did fabulous – and unfortunately just about every other girl my age shared this fantasy
When I submitted my resume to Tasty Freez that summer, I was well aware that it would soon be tucked away within the mile high stack. I had just turned sixteen and I was aching to get a job – and not another babysitting job. I wanted a job job. I needed a job job. This burning desire to work fueled my hopes that somehow my less than impressive resume would stand out amongst the masses, though I knew my odds were slim. My “work experience” was watching my neighbor’s twins, and my grandma was listen as one of my references.
Alas, I handed in my less than impressive resume and hoped for the best. Days later, as instructed by my mother, I dropped by and asked if the manager was available. Much to my delight, and surprise, she approached me.
“Hey. You. Checkin’ on your resume?” the manager spoke practically inaudibly. She had a way of crumbling up her words like junkmail and tossing them at me as if I were the kitchen waste basket. Ecstatic, and a bit dumbfounded, I nodded.
“Yes, my name is Meredith Gates! I dropped my resume off a few days ago!”
“Eh, sounds good. I’m Fran. So you’ll come back tomorrow at three then?” she grumbled. Again I nodded, this time a bit more dumbfounded than ecstatic.
That night I was still unsure about my chat with Fran. I was too confused to be excited, but too eager not to celebrate the fact that the manager talked to me – regardless that it was curt, and left me confused. Little did I know, this would be the first of many small, odd, and equally confusing exchanges with Fran. I arrived promptly at three for Fran’s mystery appointment. It didn’t take more than two steps into the building to realize how much I had over-glamourized the job. The one-room building was incredibly small (barely big enough to facilitate five people), the already hot summer air rose to blood boiling temperatures (due to the flaming grill dominating a majority of the room), and the girls appeared more apprehensive than cheerful to see me (not the mention their “bright red aprons” were, upon closer examination, stained burgundy from a combination or chocolate and grease). Three girls frantically paced the front, as customers flocked to the building, and two girls slaved away behind a grill – producing mass quantities of burgers at an incredible rate. With me and Fran crammed into the “breakroom” (which was a counter and chairs placed beside the grill) there was a total of eight people inside, and everybody was a bit too close for comfort. The two girls behind the grill smirked at…