Company picnic coming in 2 weeks and she signed up to bring decorations and her traditional Baked Apple Betty.
Last year she was too sick to go. Her co-workers still made her feel guilty about missing it. Not because they missed her, they just wanted the Baked Apple Betty. How easily traditions become repressive.
She thought ahead this year and made enough last X-mas to store in the freezer in the garage. She could just pull some out of the freezer and meet all obligations.
In the break room at work, she sits down for a few minutes with a cup of coffee and eyes her name embossed on two plaques “Best Employee” 2000 and 2003. She can’t remember one detail about getting either award. She must be getting old.
For the most part, the job hasn’t changed that much in 17 years. When she first started she had it rough, like anyone new to the work. She got all the night shifts, and they gave newbies the heaviest product to carry. Her hip is still out of whack from favoring her right side, and she had shoulder surgery a few years back to fix a torn ligament.
After five years, she got transferred to Driver for weekday shifts. Now that she is driving, she spends most of her day alone. She listens to talk radio and music she likes except when company reps are in the car, then she can’t listen to anything that might be inappropriate and has to answer all of their questions politely. But it never fails that every weekend she gets called in for overtime. She hates weekends more than anything. No one talks to her and she is exhausted.
And as for her boss…everyone loves him because he is a charmer. She’s known him 17 years and ever since “the incident” 12 years ago when he was almost arrested for lewd behavior while driving the company car, she has been disgusted by his presence. 12 years of disgust. But she keeps his secret—she needs the medical insurance (even though there is no dental or vision).
Every once in a while she calls in sick, eats a good meal, takes a Tylenol PM and sleeps all day and all night. But sure enough, work still calls to ask where something is, even though she has told them 1,000 times and labeled the drawers. They don’t say thank you or ask if she needs anything.
Saturday she was scheduled for a double shift at the last minute. She woke up, made coffee and drove away. For the most part, her job was done she figured. The company seemed to run fine without her anyway…for the most part.
3 hours into the drive the office called and she let it ring through. They left a message: “Where is my report?” She kept driving.
6 hours in and this time her boss called: “Are you picking up the kids?”
She threw the phone out the window and turned up the radio.
Betty was baked.