Friday, January 11, 2013

The Human Out of Order Sign

Desperate for a job, I ran across a listing on Craigslist for workers at the University of Texas football games. I am an Auburn fan, but whenever Texas is not playing Auburn or Alabama, I root for them. It sounded like fun, so I recruited one of my friends, applied for the job and was immediately hired.

After driving through the Austin traffic, which currently ranks the second worst traffic for a city in the United States, by some studies, my friend paid $15.00 to park about a mile from the stadium. Then we had to hike to the stadium to stand in line and be let in at the appointed time. Then, we stood in line again, signed in, and were issued the ugliest neon yellow-green shirts that have ever been designed in the history of humanity. I think the reason they were this color was two-fold: 1. we could be seen from far away; and 2. No one in their right mind would want to steal them.  The promise was made that the only way that we could get paid was to sign out and return the shirts after the game. (I thought, don’t worry. Not even my youngest son would want to wear this shirt, bless his heart.)

After standing around for another hour or two, we were sectioned off into groups and moved to our respective sections where we stood around for another hour or two. Then, our group leaders assigned us to our post. My particular job was by the elevator on the tenth or so floor. I had a chair to sit in to tell people that they could not use the elevator. There you have it: I was being paid about $7.50 per hour to be a human, breathing out of order sign.  This was definitely a new experience. I kind of thought that a paper sign could have sufficed, but I wasn’t really being paid to think. I was just being paid to tell people that the elevator did not work. So, I told them. Some wanted to know why. I couldn’t tell them that. All I could tell them is what I had been told.  I had to listen to grumbling about it; I really felt sorry for some of the disabled people who obviously needed an elevator, but I could not help them other than to point them to the direction of a working elevator.

Like the paper version of me, there were people who ignored me. One was a coke vendor who stood there pushing the button that would not work. I knew it would not work, because they had turned the elevator off. It wasn’t out of order. They apparently did not want it to work. There was a rumor that they might turn it on after the game, but it wasn’t true.

The coke vendor finally figured out that I was telling the truth and left. And then there was the female police officer who just brushed past me, not giving me a chance to tell her that it didn’t work. I just let her push that button. I guess she thought her badge would make it work, but it didn’t. Then, she acknowledged me and asked what was wrong. I explained, and she demanded an explanation immediately. I told her the best one I had: it was turned off and I didn’t know why.

Texas won the football game and I was released from my elevator duty. I received my fifty or so dollars, and well the rest is history. I can scratch being an “Out of Order” sign off of my bucket list.

copyright 2013 by Kathy Robbins

1 comment:

  1. what a great post, thanks for sharing! Bless you.