Monday, March 2, 2009

Baby, what's your sign?

My posts have been lacking lately because I've been working so few shifts that I've got minimal material to work with. It's been nice in a way because I've got plenty of time to focus on other important things. My mom has taken great pity on me, and has been popping around every corner with some version of a motivational speech. "Stop moping, you're a Leo, get yourself out there, take more vitamins, use these coupons I clipped for you."

She clips the horoscope out of three newspapers daily and will mail them to me with highlighted phrases and her own commentary on the side. I am supposed to wear my astrological sign like a badge of honour, never betray it, draw strength from it and manage my hair like a lion's mane.

Well, the other night after work, a few of us sat around chatting over drinks. The conversation had turned to astrology, and one of the chefs was giggling and calling himself "Le Bra" because he's a Libra. He asked me what my sign was and said, "Dude, you're a Leo? I would never have guessed that!" To which of course, I inwardly bristled. Having been conditioned since birth to think that I was a privileged, superior sign (or maybe that's a Leo trait in itself), I was aghast to think that no one would peg me as such.

He then went on to ask our boss (the owner, of whom I live in awe and fear) what sign she thought I was. And she said, "Hmm...I don't know. Cancer, probably." I smiled sweetly and replied, "Well, I am on the cusp!"

This exchange really magnified how much I've been compromising for this job. For example, at every other workplace, I've always loudly and consistently corrected those who misspell my name. Here, I've never uttered a protest. And it's spelled incorrectly on the POS, the schedule, and my paycheques.

I will apologize on six different occasions for some minimal mistake, say thank you repeatedly for someone who cleared an empty bread basket from one of my tables, blurt, "What? What's wrong?" when someone says, "Come here for a second." I am meek, demure, overly sensitive and smile to the point of creeping myself out.

But this is the only way I can get through it. I'm stifling all my instincts, because otherwise I'll probably walk out. I'm aware of how futile it is to argue, point out a flaw, assert myself, or reveal my actual personality. There is so much bullshit, tattle tales, critical judgement, and competitiveness that I don't trust myself to say a contrary word. I put in my time, wearing my chameleon suit. They can spell my name in Wingdings and call me a Capricorn, as long as I get paid.


Sarah said...

From now on I am spelling your name in Wingdings. BUT I will NEVER call you a Capricorn.

Errant Gosling said...

I feel your pain. I've been there often. I still live there to a degree.