Thursday, March 27, 2008

Coworkers: Part 35 - Angela

   Angela visited the store again two weeks before Christmas.
   By this time, it was completely pointless.
   Two years earlier, her family had moved east. She reluctantly accompanied them. She hated it, all of it. Then, chance beckoned, and she leapt.
   Angela accepted a crazy job offer in Colorado. State park near Yellowstone. Angela's sister had actually applied for the opening, had gotten approved, then changed her mind. Angela, typically, went instead. When she contacted me, we laughed about that.
   The whole outdoor, back-to-nature scene suited Angela, and she would have stayed forever. The position had always been temporary, however. Rotating gap year students. No exceptions. She scrounged everywhere for alternate employment. Nothing opened.
   She decided to move back to Cowtown. Asked me if she'd be able to return to the record store. I reassured her that would pose no problem, she would be rehired in a heartbeat.
   How fucking wrong I was. If I had only checked first.
   Loaded her car. Left the Rockies. Back to the Lonestar State. Chatted with The Boss, who seemed agreeable, but he'd need to contact Dallas. Meanwhile, she rented a duplex, and found part time work at Pig & Whistle. Yet, she really needed our store.
   By this time, her family had relocated back to Texas.
   Second interview, there were no openings at our store.
   I immediately advised her to go to Berry. Berry Street was always desperate. Ask for Eric. Reference my name. Eric wasn't there, Jordo never gave her the time of day. Then he told her he never heard of me. Typical Jordo.
   I chatted with The Boss. He confessed he had been inclined to rehire Angela. Thought she would be an asset, especially during Christmas. There were obstacles, however. Most of the employees.
   "Dan and Rob told me they'd flat out quit if I brought her back," he explained.
   "What? Why? They're not going to give up their jobs."
   "Hulen would transfer either one of them in a heartbeat. And," he paused, "I don't think Pat would be comfortable with her."
   "Angela built the Video section. Then Pat made it rock."
   "I hear you. Just ... there were more people ... and I'd rather have all of them, than one of her."
   "What's so wrong about Angela? She was goofy, but she never complained, she wasn't negative, and she worked!"
   "My friend, you were the only one who got her. Everyone else?" he gestured in the air. "Sorry, man."
   I couldn't get her rehired. I'd failed. I couldn't even get her hired on at the dump site on Berry. Here I was, her big friend, and I let her down. I felt like a shit.
   You wanted the best for your friends in life. Angela was now entering darkness.
   Her money was exhausted. Worse, her family pressed her to come home.
   She dreaded that.
   Home life was unhealthy. In every sense. She suffered victim's guilt. I tried to explain that wasn't her fault. My advice was like my help, meaningless. The music store had been her escape ticket. Colorado had been her dream world. Now she was running out of options, and the nightmare yawned open.
   The family insisted she return to the fold.
   Angela visited the store again two weeks before Christmas.
   By this time, it was completely pointless.
   I never told her no one wanted her. No one valued her efforts. How could you tell anyone such a thing?
   She went from one old coworker to another and wished each Merry Christmas. She was all but begging, she might as well have been on her knees. Her face graced the smile, but it was sad and lifeless. She was destroyed.
   Angela returned to the family, about an hour away.
   We tried to stay in touch ... but ... it got harder and harder.
   One day a letter came back, no forwarding address. Telephone disconnected.
   I never saw Angela again.
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