Part 1. Take a well day.



Newly married and almost 21 years old, I was looking for a job doing....anything!  I found one working for the State of CA in the Employment Development Dept in San Francisco back then, as a clerk typist II, part time.  When an  opportunity came to transfer closer to home, I took it and my title with me, to Oakland. 

I worked at a place called Tolliver Center on 28th Street and San Pablo Ave.  It wasn't cool then and it hasn't gotten much better.  The CA Youth Authority was my boss.  The place was full of good intentions gone bad.  The employees stole from the state, stole the vouchers from the kids (used them to get clothes for themselves and their own families), and I just shut my mouth and clerk-typed my way through the half day.  

There was a gal with a Spanish surname, but she was white as a white peach pie, and she would try to be cool with the kids.  She got the job because of that last name.  Oh, and she got the job, because she was on the methadone maintenance program.  It was part of her rehab.

I came from lily white Newport Beach.  Well, mostly white except for the deep tans folks sported, all year round.  But I never did drugs, at all, and I had more life-lessons at Tolliver Center than I wanted. 

My perfect English started slurring into jive, much to my husband's dismay.  He liked the way I talked before.  I didn't notice it.  It seemed strange because I didn't talk to anybody at work.  I guess I stole it when no one was looking and took it home.  I just clerk-typed.

But this girl I worked with was constantly smacking up to the kids...talkin' their talk, actin' cool.  One day she came in and the kids threw a dead rat at her, through the sliding window-wall that was supposed to protect us.  Um, she didn't like that at all and sure enough...they got her angry and swearing and screaming at them.  Just what they wanted.  They laughed it off.  They didn't even come close to throwing it at me.  They aimed at her.  I just clerk-typed.

Another day she had to leave early.  She came back in saying her tires had been slashed.  I didn't dare ask about mine.  Turns out my '67 VW bug had very fine, untouched, tires.  I just clerk-typed.

When I'd get home I thought 'I need to get out of that place.'  It was so corrupt with the head guy stealing as much as his cohorts.  Every time I'd get some time toward vacation, I'd take it.  That would mean one-half day off as soon as I earned it. 

Carl was into reading Kurt Vonnegut and since we didn't have a TV, reading was a good way to pass time, if we didn't go out for dessert or walk to the Alameda Theatre, when it was still showing flicks.  

Vonnegut had a wicked sense of humor that Carl just loved.  I loved the way he laughed at it...he just chuckled.  I'd say 'what?'  And he'd read to me.  It was funny.. but I can't say I ever read one Kurt Vonnegut book. 

One day...I don't recall which book it was in, but Carl finally said 'You can quit!  We'll figure out. Just get out of there!'  Taking the lead from Kurt, he said 'Instead of taking a sick day...take a well day!'

And I did.  The next day I called in well.  I really was WELL!  Somebody at Tolliver Center answered.  'I'm taking a well day.  And I'm not coming back - ever.'  And that was it.  

Take a well-day, today or soon.  You've earned it.

Live richly,  marilyn

I think I may continue this...maybe next time, maybe other times.  Maybe I'll interspersed with other items.  But I think there will be a Part II.

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