The second time I lived in New York I was living with my then fiancé now husband. We crashed with friends, leased our apartment in the Bronx, and booked a job together from our very first audition. It was a New York fairytale! The only problem was that the job didn’t pay very well, and five days after our contract was over we would be getting married. We needed to save money for the wedding, and we only had the three months before we left the city to do it. We hit the pavement hardcore.
My husband got two jobs: one ushering for the New York State Theatre and one being a greeter(security) for CVS. I got a job working at a baby boutique in Brooklyn (yes, I commuted from the Bronx to Brooklyn, and yes, it was a horrible plan), and I got a job working as a beauty girl for CVS. My store was ten blocks south of my husband’s, but that’s just how New York City works.
Being a beauty girl wasn’t a bad job. All I had to do was sell makeup to rich old people, and I made commission. I worked hard, and I thought that everyone liked me. They all smiled at me. They held doors open for me. I thought they were nice. I was wrong.
My first day at work they had all taken bets on how long the “little white girl” was going to make it! They took bets! Like with money! I killed half the people in the pot when I made it past the second week. I hadn’t even noticed that I was the only white employee until someone told me about the bet. Once I found out, I was determined to stick it out at the store… well, at least until I had to leave for my less lucrative, more fulfilling theatre gig. But the longer I stayed, the worse things got.
Finally after weeks of workplace torment, I was in the stockroom counting lip gloss when one of the other beauty girls started yelling at me. She called me a cracker! I was shocked! I was horrified! And I said screw it, I’m done. So I walked into my manager’s office and said, “I quit! I quit! I quit, I quit, I quit! I leaving now, I’m never coming back, and you can forward my check to my address.” As I started to walk out, my manager stood up shocked at my sing-song sudden departure. “Why?” he asked stunned. I was very good at my job, and I don’t think he had actually put any money in on the “white girl quitting” bet. “Because my name isn’t cracker!” I walked out of the store, and I never went back. I suppose being theatrical is just part of my nature.