I don’t know what made me do it.
Maybe it was the salt in the air, or the way he made a burger. Or perhaps it was the fact we were stuck together for eight hours a night for five months straight, give or take a day off or two. Either way, I “fell” for the fry cook.
We met on a dark and scary night.
Okay, so it was the overnight shift on Halloween. But cleaning the fry holder is like wrestling the Kraken of the sink, so we’ll stick with it being frightening.
When I first met him, I wasn’t terribly impressed. He was playing with dry ice, hot water, and coffee cups rather than doing his job. He was crude, self-centered, and he blasted his music so loud I couldn’t hear the customers. Also, I’m not sure if he believed in taking showers, but maybe he just really liked the smell of pot.
Now, if all these things were true you’re probably wondering why I would ever like this guy. Believe me, I ask myself this same question way too frequently.
I wish I could play myself off as your classic girl, “victimized” by the smooth-talking older man. But I’m not going to lie to you, even if the truth makes me sound really, really, stupid.
The truth is, he paid attention to me. I wasn’t just the girl with the hot sister, attractive friends, or the girl with the answers to the homework to him. Word around the store was he thought I was cute. Which is a pretty big feat considering my stiff collared clothes got covered in smoothie, ketchup, and the mysterious dish water within minutes of clocking in.
Time changed my opinion of him. I began making up good qualities in my head that were further from the truth than Lady Gaga is from a normal pair of pants. His rudeness became honesty. Laziness became a joke. His crudeness became charming.
Lord. Knows. Why.
It took him forever and a day to make a move. He didn’t like the idea that my dad was a cop, because as we all know, there is a special cell reserved for men interested in policemen’s daughters.
I should have been more cautious about his intentions, and protective of my heart. By the time I realized that we were a bad idea, I didn’t care anymore.
Time for another moment of honesty, during all of this I was struggling with God. Actually, I was kind of mad at Him.
Let me give you some background. I’ve wanted to attend Corban since I was in 9th grade, and I did everything I could so I could enroll in 2010, the fall after I graduated. I was convinced Corban was where God wanted me, and that the thousands of dollars I’d need to attend would be pocket change to Him. I was praying, hoping, trusting that God would provide. And then He didn’t.
If you’ve ever had your heart broken, then you know how I felt. It was like my heart had been ripped out from beneath my ribs, and all my hopes and dreams sat in a pile of muddled mess in front of me. All my hard work, prayers, and certainty amounted to nothing. I felt I would be trapped in my hometown for the rest of my life. And I was angry.
I don’t think I ever thought anything would actually happen between me and Spud. (We’ll call him that because he kind of reminds me of a potato.) So when we got to a place where I thought maybe this wasn’t such a good idea, there was a flicker of anger and selfishness that kept me from fleeing. I feel ashamed to admit this, but I thought that messing up my life would get back at God for not giving me what I wanted. I was acting like a child.
When I was finally starting to see straight again, after many of my mother’s prayers, I realized Spud would be completely destructive, and he was going places that I didn’t want to follow. But now, I didn’t know how to say no. Lucky for me, he stood me up. Twice.
As my sister recalls, at this point I turned Spud into mashed potatoes. However, I simply remember it as standing up for myself and saying that the way he was treating me and talking about me to our co-workers wasn’t okay. I had never known how to do that before.
It hit me that I’m responsible for my own actions. And if my life is going to go anywhere, it’s not going to be because God magically picks me up and drops me there. I know God will always be looking out for my best interest, but I’ve found that He likes to make us work, make us learn. He gives us all so much more than we deserve on this road of life, but sometimes the best thing for us is a pot hole or two. And one of my pot holes was a pothead.
During this bratty period of my existence, God was still so good to me. He gave me the money I needed to go to Corban in 2011, and He matured me into a person that I never would have become without the Greasy Grill, and with much distain, Spud.