Today we bring you a tale of humiliation, low wages, and moldy dairy. David Serchuk is now an editor at Forbes.com, has a blog of his own about being a dad and being in Brooklyn (http://www.brooklynbabydaddy.blogspot.com), and still has an issue with Emmental.
It didn’t start off as such a bad day.True, I worked at the Ninth Avenue Cheese Market, in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. True, I was paid $6 an hour. True, I was 30 years old.But if I just concentrated on the work, it was okay. The Turkish owner of the market, Pondo, seemed to like me. I ate all the cheese I could sneak, and there were several friendly shop cats to keep me company.But if it wasn’t so bad, it wasn’t so good, either. Pondo could be kind of a jerk. Once, for example, I tried to hoist the heavy wrought-iron gate onto the back of the store as he watched.“You are weak, like little girl,” he said.But mostly the market signified failure. I had been a journalist one year before, covering the financial world. Though it was kind of boring it paid the bills. I chucked that to intern at National Public Radio, which didn’t pan out. And then my old job was no longer available.Now I was broke, and basically paid in dairy products.Then one day Alicia, one of my former co-workers from the journalism job walked in.I knew it was her because her hair was so blond it was almost white. She had always been nice to me, but I couldn’t let her see me like this, in an apron. I hid behind a counter as she bobbed around the market, praying Pondo wouldn’t call on me. I was ashamed. It had all gone wrong, and I didn’t know how it would get better. There wasn’t much future in cheese. I prayed she wouldn’t recognize me.She didn’t.After she left I got out from my hiding. A customer needed coffee, now. I was summoned.