May 11, 2010
B started a group on Facebook for former T employees and I spent all morning laughing hysterically at memories of those days.
“T” was a directory assistance call center I worked at in my early 20’s. It was one of *those* jobs, the ones where you and your co-workers gel and going to work is actually fun. It didn’t hurt that one of my best friends worked there with me and we could show up in our pajamas and have as many piercings/tattoos/wild hair colors as we wanted.
I’ve had a few other jobs I remember fondly – I worked in retail for three years before I wandered over to the call center. One of those big stores ending in “Mart.” I didn’t love the whole “waiting on customers” thing all the time, but there were a few regulars that always made my day.
One in particular was Mr. B who was about 80 back then. I womanned the photo counter and he dropped off rolls of film at least a few times a week. He’d come in, smiling, with his camera around his neck, and he’d tell me the latest cheesy jokes he’d heard.
Finally, there’s the newspaper I was at for several years. I worked at one of the satellite offices with another salesperson and a few reporters and we were our own little unit. The secretary had been there for over 50 years and she’d tell me stories about the city over the years as we stood at the giant plate-glass window at the front of the office. We’d lament the Orioles’ latest losing streak and sometimes one of the Baltimore-native reporters would join in on the discussion.
I’m the first to admit I’m nostalgic as hell and this post isn’t any different. The call center closed down, Mr. B passed away a few weeks ago at the age of 92, and the newspaper went through massive cutbacks and my two fellow O’s fans were laid off.
I guess it was seeing Mr. B’s obit that really made me start thinking about the people that move in and out of our lives and who make an impact. I saw him a few times over the years and I doubt he recognized me outside my employee smock, but he’s one of the reasons I enjoyed my retail job as much as I did.
All of these people stick with me and it just goes to show how important connection is, whether it’s the kindly older gentleman that tells corny jokes, the childhood friend that dyes your hair for you, or the new Internet buddies that know just what to say when your edit sessions go awry.
So THANK YOU to all those people!