Pay Or Play?

I’ve been working 40 hours a week for six weeks. Although my job isn’t always hard in the sense that I’m constantly busy, it does get tiring, hot and repetitive. 

It’s summer and I’m cleaning my middle school; if it’s 90 outside, it’s easily 100 degrees plus on the second floor. I usually work with one other girl, but for the last three weeks she was on vacation; my boss expected me to do the work of two people in the same amount of time by myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful to have a job, but like any job, it’s not always fun.

And although school wasn’t always fun, I had perfect attendance for 12 of my 15 years of education. I only ever missed days for funerals, my same-day surgery, and that one time I got sick during the school year and not on the weekend or Christmas vacation.

So far in life, I have worked six different jobs. I’ve only called out sick once, when I had strep throat. You could say I’m a committed person. 

Despite my near-perfect record, I decided I needed a day of fun last Friday. For the first (and predictably last) time, I played hooky. 

I felt guilty about calling out sick without notice. And I don’t even have either of my bosses’ numbers to call out. So I went to work and finished what I had started, then asked to leave at break time. 

Although I genuinely wasn’t feeling my best (a part of it was definitely guilt), I had no plans to sit on my couch and binge watch TV. Instead, my mom and I went to the county fair. 

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I can’t remember the last time I went to the fair; it was well over seven years ago.

We arrived just as the gates were opening, which gave us prime parking. I thought it would be a lot less crowded than a weekend, but since it was Friday, the tents and walkways were packed with summer camp kids. 

My mom and I walked around, scoping things out. We looked at the animals — baby goats, horses, rabbits and cows — and the vendor tents. 

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When the rides finally opened, we went around the Ferris Wheel to see the set-up from the sky. It also provided a great view of the mountains! 

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My mom wanted to go on all of the rides. I’m not a huge fan of amusement park rides, but I will go on them, so long as they don’t go upside down. 

We went on one ride that swung side to side, then went in a complete circle, but kept you sitting upright at all times. The very first dip was a doozy on the stomach, but then didn’t even phase me. My mom, on the other hand, was screaming “oh my God” the entire two minutes the ride lasted. I thought it was hilarious. After that, she no longer wanted to go on all of the rides. 

As expected, we ate greasy fair food for lunch. We had hot dogs and chili cheese chips with 4-H milkshakes. 

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After, we went on more rides and enjoyed everything the fair had to offer. I even saw one of my co-workers with his family, which made me feel not-as-bad for skipping out on work.

We left just before the huge thunderstorm hit, breaking the increasing heat and humidity. Although I didn’t work and therefore won’t get paid for that Friday, it just so happened to be payday, making my sick day all the more plausible (who goes home sick on payday?!), and endlessly bittersweet.   


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