Thursday, March 14, 2013
#scintilla13 ~ Whooo, Are You?
Do you recall the firsts? First jobs, the first times two very separate worlds that you live in collide, a little bit of reality mixed with magic? When I was seventeen, that time when high school is over and college is just beginning and your circle suddenly pulls apart, like a soap bubble, into two distinct spheres. It was during this time of transition that I began my stay as a cast member at the happiest place on earth.
Interesting that some of life's first real adult lessons associated with work happened at such a place of animation. I worked in main street merchandising and guest control (nice phrase for directing traffic huh?). What, you may ask, did this include? The diversity of tasks that presented itself to me was fantastic; money handling, film and sundry sales, watch sales, magic supplies, and of course the anything and everything in Disney's famous Main Street Emporium. More firsts then came; grave yard shifts and working on holidays normally spent in their entirety with family. One of my favorite tasks was when doing stints on guest control during the electrical parade. This always took place after dark and was followed by a fireworks show. Basically, I would walk up and down the sidewalk keeping paths clear and making sure those guests watching the parades were in designated areas. Why was this so good? Well I pace the street up until the parade stepped off, once the parade began people, including myself were transfixed by it. A favorite as a child, now it was a part of my nightly life, what luck! I would get a few minutes to suspend my disbelief before the duties got hectic again.
There was more to the Disney experience than just learning the aspects of a diverse job. There was also developing the relationships with co-workers and learning how to function in yet another sphere. The camaraderie of cast exclusive nights, when everyone on the attractions knows what is next, and participates in it, added its own magic. On that first cast night that I attended, loads of us crammed into the elevator in the haunted mansion. As the door closed and the story began, every single person recited it by heart using loud spooky voices in unison with the recording. So much fun!
Most vivid however was one morning after working my first graveyard shift for a grad night. When all of the energy of the thousands of high school kids had dissipated, I could feel myself along with the whole park exhale. Bleary eyed and more than a little punch drunk from the experience I made my way across main street to turn in my cash drawer and head home. As I meet the dawn I see maintenance workers sweeping and all else is quiet. Then, on the loud speaker above the firehouse comes familiar music, the theme song from Star Wars fills all of Main Street. So surreal, bridging the spheres of childhood and adulthood like a final kiss as the bubbles pulled apart.
This post is part of the Scintilla Project. Tell a story set at your first job.