I haven't made a secret if the fact that I'm working at the gym I spin at - at least, not in the Internet World. In my real life, my close friends and family know what I'm doing to make ends meet (that sounds like I'm doing porn) but I haven't advertised the fact that I'm collecting sweaty towels and hawking bottled water and rented shoes to acquaintances and business associates (read: my manager). In a business where Image Is Everything, I prefer to keep some things low profile. I haven't thrown in the towel - sweaty or otherwise - on the whole writing thing, and for that reason, my Old Life and my New Life don't intersect.
At least, they didn't used to.
The phone rang and I answered it with the gym's name and she asked when the next spin was. I told her, hung up, and thought she sounded like a woman I had run into months before in class. But side by side on the bike and standing behind the counter are two different worlds. Sort of like the first time I ran into someone after I made the jump from Assistant to Writer. There were a good number of people who couldn't remember my name when I was answering phones and fetching lattes, but when I became One of Them it was like we were old friends. I distinctly remember wanting to punch them in them in their oh-we-can-be-best-friends-now! face.
But the only thing I was feeling now was dread, as I saw a car pull in and knew it was her. I grabbed the clipboard and scribbled down her name before she walked in, and she looked confused for a second when she went to sign the class register and her name was already there. I smiled and said hello. She asked if I was spinning, and I shook my head, scribbling down the names of the other clients as they walked in the front door.
Her brows furrowed in the way that we're reminded not to lest we want to discover what a friend we have in Botox, and the realization crept across her face. She handed me her credit card to pay for class. We made small talk about our mutual friend's small island wedding that had taken place in St. Bart's.
We were so sad you couldn't make it!
She wasn't being snotty, but suddenly I wanted to be snotty, I wanted to shake her and scream are you blind? I'm disinfecting rented shoes and taking out the trash for ten bucks an hour. At what point did you think I was going to make it?
She went inside and I was upset but somewhat relieved. So people know. While I scour the job boards and call the temp agencies, this is the best job I can get. And to be honest, I like it. Sure, I have to be at work at 5:30am some mornings and I have to work some nights and I feel like I never see my husband except the occasional weekend.
But the work is easy and most of the people for their money or their fame or their self-entitlement are actually pretty damned nice. They know who I am but nothing about what I do or did, I'm just the girl who takes their money and hands out buttpads. I can interact with people and observe them simultaneously, and in an odd way I've felt more creatively inspired and writing more than I have in ages.
Perhaps that's what handing out rented shoes will do to you.