Do you ever just have those days? The ones where you wake up like, “Hey, I’m going to slay this day”, but it’s 4 in the morning and you just know, for sure you are going to be waiting in traffic, half awake, half asleep… whatever. It’s the same thing. And you just know that the day HAS to get better at some point. You just know it. Today was one of those days.
This morning began quite early. I can’t remember the last time I had to wake up at 3:30am. Who cares that I couldn’t fall asleep until midnight. I had an important company bbq to get to. The owner of my company would be there and I heard he is complete riot, so I was super excited anticipating what would happen today. Last year I missed out on his Ukulele rendition of Kumbaya, making every employee sing along, and restarting the song each time he saw someone roll their eyes. I mean, I work in trucking. I had a wicked case of strep throat during his last appearance and was unable to witness the mockery of puppets shamefully obeying our fearless leader. Was definitely a bummer. Imagine seeing some burly big rig driver in a flashy yellow vest holding hands with his muffed-out twin counterpart and belting out Kumbaya on a terminal dock… pretty funny to me. I even had a mind to pack my wireless mic that I use to surprise random guests with my impromptu karaoke of Alicia Keys when they come over. But that was last night, and by the time I stumbled out of bed into the darkness, got a brush through my matted locks, and brushed my teeth I was racing out the door and completely forgot to grab my priceless contribution. I was aiming to impress, but I figured me showing up early (or on time) would suffice. Fiddling through morning talk radio shows on FM radio, which I NEVER listen to, I noticed the full moon in the sky. And for a moment, I felt connected with the universe. Tony and Babs may have been trying to deliver subliminal messages about the negligence of the incompetent staff who filmed the Titanic, screwing up “Starboard” while filming the dead man walking steering the boat to the left, but my mind was most definitely focused on that full moon- in the morning. Now, when you consider a full moon, I think most of us envision ourselves at some romantic location, with the one you love wrapped around you on a crisp fall evening, gazing into the sky together, sipping on red wine, and thinking about how perfect life is at that moment. I know I do. But this morning, it was simply me, my windshield, and a bunch of early-rising assholes suffering from 5am road rage, and tossing back our shit coffee from AMPM. And I’ll tell you, it was just as romantic as I have ever imagined. Today was going to be okay…
I showed up at the terminal wondering if I had dressed appropriately for the occasion. It’s a Good Ol’ Boys club in this place. I’m the youngest sales rep, and not to mention, the ONLY females on our team. You either have to be able to hack it, or you have to work it. I like to maintain a little bit of both. Hair down, rusty conservative turtleneck sweater, black leggings, and heeled booties seemed like the proper mix given that this would be a bbq and not a sales meeting, per usual. Rumor had it, our owner was a hippie at heart. During my training I walked through our location and noticed a plethora of scribbles that had been blown up and placed meticulously on the walls of the office as art. COme to find out, these were his meeting doodles where he felt his thoughts and ideas would transpire into something bigger. Brilliant. I like the guy already. I felt he would appreciate the casual approach I was taking to our appearance as part of our sales team. On a typical day at the terminal, my attire consists of pencil skirts or freshly pressed slacks, a frilly blouse, a Nordstrom-esque blazer, and sales-appropriate pumps (you asshole dudes in sales don’t know how good you’ve got it). SUPER old school. To my right, in the parking lot, before entering the building, was my manager having a conversation with one of our drivers, in a casual long sleeved logoed top and jeans. I knew then that I’d be perceived as a typical bay area basic bitch at that point, and proceeded with confidence. Granted, I’m not from the bay area, but did live there for a hot minute, and also banked on the fact that owner was none the wiser. On my walk up to the door, all I could think about was what kind of shit show I was about to embark on.
It began like any other work bbq. Half of our sales team pretended to be working while our stomachs began to grumble, and the consensus was to go out and join the roost of hungry beasts that were on the back side of the terminal, bbqing steak and chicken and individual veggies burgers for our leader. We made our way to the group of appreciative truck drivers, tireless terminal staff, and there he was- our fearless leader. To my demise there was no Ukulele. There were no microphones, and there was no stage. Only a bald man in a brown pleated jacket, staring at the table. He had no delicious veggie burger in front of him, nor did he partake in the array of soft drink beverages that were so generously provided at 10am. I strategically sat down next to Mr. X and proceeded to carry on a casual conversation about a vegan diet and the qualms of living with a family who doesn’t conform to the new and healthy lifestyle. Mr. X asks me, “Danielle, nice to meet you” (forgetting I had met him about a year prior, “How long have you been with the company”? I inform him and we continue on with our conversation about Trump Tariffs and what has been happening to our diminishing sales across the board. Each sales person is eager to chime in with their own opinion and justification as to why we should still be employed during this “recession”. Suddenly, we Mr. X inquires, “Should we have a meeting”?….. I felt the load weigh down on me like fully loaded standard freight pallet on my back. No ukulele. Just a sales meeting… right smack-dab in the middle of our anticipated enchanting bbq. Okay fine. So today might not be the one I had expected.
I took a quick puff of my Juul as I sauntered back toward the steps of the trailer terminal, anticipating what this could really mean. Are we being fired? Are we going to start shipping nuclear explosives that can desecrate an entire nation? Did our VP commit some heinous act that we need to preface when we visit our customers? My mind immediately flashed back to my 21-year-old self when I worked for a well-known beer company, and they thought they were going to “go another direction with their marketing structure” and I was broke AF. I mean, I have a child to provide for. Well, I didn’t then, but I do now. And Mr. X did not disappoint. From that moment on, my career in “outside sale in freight” changed forever. What happened to Kumbaya? What happened to the careless hippy I was so eager to impress?