My Name Is Taylor

An Essay By Taylor // 6/10/2007

Since I'm new to Apricot Pie, I thought I should introduce myself, briefly, to you all. My art will certainly do a better job at revealing my personality than I ever could, but I thought I might provide a little bit of the bigger picture.

Art narrows in so close on our lives that we cannot fully appreciate its depth and insight, because we don't know what we're looking at. A microscopic photo of sharp, spherical diatoms is exquisite, as anyone who has studied biology could tell you, but it becomes all the more beautiful when you know that the glassy objects you’re looking at are actually microscopic phytoplankton that use silicon as a part of their cell wall structure. It doesn’t take away from a rainbow’s beauty to know the properties of light.

My name is Taylor, I’m seventeen, and I don't quite know where to start my story, or how. You know how you feel when you meet someone new, someone you’ve heard a lot about and really want to impress? “How do I introduce myself?” you ask nervously. “What do I say? How can I abbreviate years of my life into several, short minutes?” I’ve gotten to know some friends pretty well, but even after years of knowing them, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what makes them distinct and unique from their brother, sister, or neighbor. You know what I mean? True understanding and insight takes time. There is no shortcut in getting to know someone.

So, to save you from a four-hour conversation, I’ll have to abbreviate. Life is like an archaeological tell, with each successive year built atop the next, much like civilizations build one on top of the other. I’ll try my best to take my life one level at a time, starting with the present and working backwards, but if at times I get ahead of myself, forgive me.

A little over a month ago, I started working at a local grocery store as a cashier. After I’d finished the rigorous interview process (I had three meetings with a human resources coordinator before getting the job), I went straight into training. You cannot imagine the learning curve that this job required. For minimum wage, you’d think that it must be a piece of cake, but it’s really not. Next time you check out in the grocery store, or if you’re with your mom or dad, pay attention to what the cashier does. From the beginning of your order—from the greeting of, "How are you, sir?" or "how are you, ma'am?"—to the end, when your cashier tells you your total, carefully watch what goes on. Scanning groceries is a lot harder than it looks. Almost every item has a barcode, but how do cashiers find them quickly to scan them? How does a cashier intuitively know that on a cereal box, it'll be on the bottom, but that for the cashew nuts, it's on the side?

And then there's produce. Each item—be it a bag of Jonagold apple, a California orange, a bunch of bananas, a celery stalk, or a red bell pepper—has a unique code that tells the register what to ring up. Typing in code number 4076 will ring up a head of green leaf lettuce, which is sold by the head. Code 4067, however, rings up zucchini squash, which is sold by the pound, while 4075 rings up red-tipped leaf lettuce and 4674 rings up yellow squash. All of these items have different prices and different inventories. Every once in awhile, cashiers will have to learn look-alikes, such as when the store sells bulk, Roma, and hothouse tomatoes, or when you can buy a seedless or a seeded watermelon. How does your cashier know which code to use? Again, cashiering is a lot harder than it looks.

I like my job. It’s the first time for me to work outside of the house. It’s my first paycheck, and it feels good to be putting money into a bank account. I like to be a professional and to be given the responsibilities of handling money and customer service. I like to interact with people, and working at a grocery store, you certainly run into a lot of people every minute of every day. It has opened my eyes to the world, working with fellow employees from different religious, educational, and ethnic backgrounds. It is always a challenge for me to step into the break room and to have to set boundaries with people, work out a give-and-take that suits us both.

The truth is, I’m naturally very introverted and private—I wouldn’t normally approach a total stranger and ask them about their day. Just walking around in public makes me nervous, so I knew I needed to do something about that. It’s one thing if you’re just naturally shy, and if you’re okay with that, but once your privacy starts hampering you and your personality, it’s time to give it up and break out of your comfort zone.

I’m a work in progress. I’ve come a long way in a month’s time. I’m already noticing a change in the way I think of the world and the general public (which, as we all know, is a gigantic, homogenous, anonymous body of humans we’ve never interacted with, right?). I don’t believe in people’s good natures quite as much as I used to, but I have come to appreciate the sincerity and honesty that working with the same people every day can bring. The world is darker, more overcast, as I see it now, but the sun shines brighter beyond the clouds.

Comments

Wow!

Wow!

Hannah | Wed, 06/13/2007

Your writings

I came onto apricotpie one day, just browsing over new things, and I came across your bio. I enjoyed reading it, very much.
I love your whole explanation of work and everything. It was so easy to relate with. :)

Since I read this, I have read your other writings, and I really enjoyed them as well. You have a great way of transferring something to the reader through your writings that really goes beyond the words you write. “Thank You Miss Jane” and “A Fathers Day Surprise” were really capturing stories.

You have a great talent. I'm glad you pursued it.

Keep up the good work!
--Brianna

Anonymous | Thu, 06/21/2007

Wow

Great job. You described yourself, and at the same time told the reader something of value. Not that cashier work is harder than it looks, but to not judge.

Heh, now I want to go and write a new bio for myself. =D

-Matthew

Matthew | Wed, 08/29/2007

-The Werewolf Prince.

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