As soon as I turned sixteen, I started looking for a job.
I was desperate to buy a car, and I needed to save up enough for the purchase price and insurance.
I filled out applications at all of the local businesses. I never considered that the shoe store, pharmacy, grocery store and hardware store are all air conditioned. I was so anxious for a paycheck that I took the first job I was offered. I ended up working at the ice cream parlor, where I learned how to make sundaes, milkshakes, hamburgers, hot dogs and french fries. The building is very small, with no indoor seating. There is barely sufficient space for all the ice cream machines, coolers, grills, deep fryers, dishwasher and restroom. Orders are taken and the food delivered through an open window. There is no need for air conditioning to keep customers comfortable. Plus, the cooled air would just escape through the windows. We typically ran several box fans at maximum capacity non stop. The fans didn’t make up for the lack of a central air conditioning system. The heat and humidity inside that little building was excruciating. The temperature frequently climbed into the triple digits. We’d leave the back door open and hope for a breeze to cool us down. The grills, deep fryers and heat coming off the machines made the situation worse. I was also required to wear a uniform that was heavy, scratchy and uncomfortable. At the end of every shift, I was always drenched with sweat. I’d rush to my car and get the air conditioner blasting. After that summer, I looked for a job with proper temperature control. I was no longer willing to work without air conditioning in the summer or heat in the winter.