I’ve done a little career shifting of late (which should surprise no one, really) and have jumped head-first into the retail game. Sure, I was ankle-deep in it at my previous job. But I still sat at a desk the majority of my day. And one could argue that I worked in retail previously as an assistant buyer, but I was ten steps removed from the customer at that point, and I rarely got up from my desk chair for anything but bathroom and lunch breaks.

These days, if I get ten minutes out of nine hours to sit down, I’m shocked. I won’t say ‘lucky’ because I don’t really mind all the activity, and not getting to rest makes the day go by so much more quickly. On the other hand, my feet….. well. They hurt. I’ve got blisters. My toes are tired of being shut up in shoes all the time. I’ve taken to propping my feet up to relieve the aching. And oh, the smell. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I’m the only one who has to endure it when I get home. The Ex (formerly known as ‘Hubby’) is lucky to be outside of a five-mile radius of my feet after a day of work.

I’ve been working at this bookstore for going on five weeks now. My first two days were sketchy. I was certain Retail and I were going to be deep, loathing enemies. There I was, shelving books, holding back tears. I just knew I was going to be awful at it all. Sure. I loved helping the customers at my previous job. That, besides all the lovely people I worked with, was my favorite part of that job. There, I learned that customer service is easy. Smile. Be as professional as possible. Represent yourself and your employer with grace and poise. Keep a calm, patient demeanor. Do whatever you can to make their experience exceptional. It’s sort of like Super Professional Smiling Liz who answered the phone so pleasantly at the university store. Only, in person.

I stifled the tears for those two days, and then something clicked. I got on the register. I sold some things. I got a kick out of reading the customers and trying to do what I thought would make them happiest. I started to enjoy what I was doing. I took a second look at my preconceived notions of Retail. I relaxed a little and gave Retail the benefit of the doubt.

After a couple of weeks, I was ‘promoted.’ Something I’m doing in this position for the first time is managing others. Again, I was ankle-deep in this before, and I learned a few lessons from having my ankles bitten a little. The nice thing now is, I know the answers. People can feel confident asking for my authoritative advice. It’s nice knowing that my previous work for this company is coming in handy now, because I have a level of confidence I never would have felt anywhere else. That makes the limited managerial responsibilities I have much easier to bear. Almost enjoyable.

Plus, as has been the case before, the folks I work with are just awesome. And pretty amusing. I’m lucky to be in the position I’m in. And if you couldn’t tell, Retail and I get along pretty well these days. Especially when the customer grins back at me when I finish ringing up their purchases. Or when my attempts at small talk actually sound natural. Or when a co-worker gets bright-eyed to find out we’re working the same shift the next day. Those are good moments indeed.

So, Retail, it’s very nice to meet you. Let’s see where this relationship takes us, shall we?

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If you keep up with my Facebook status (or remember my weakness for awesome heels that define ‘beauty=pain’), you’ll have an idea that I really wanted to rock some heels and a skirt at least ONE day of these sales conferences. Well, today was the day. I had absolutely no problem in my cute little kitten heels until the end of the day when I decided the wise course of action would be to take the subway the fifty or so blocks between my meeting and my hotel.

This, of course, sounds completely logical. Subway 50 blocks vs. walking 50 blocks? No brainer. My feet would thank me.

Or not.

Believe it or not, this post isn’t even really about my feet. Don’t get me wrong, they are in pain. But I’ve already written about my feet. And while they are fascinating and unique, the story wouldn’t be all that different from last time. Blah blah, walking, blah blah, standing, blah blah, blisters… you know how it goes. No, this isn’t that sort of post. It’s a bit more complicated than that.

I stepped on to the wrong E train tonight. I knew I should have stopped in the doorway and turned around when I saw puddles of water on the floor of the subway car, and in some of the plastic seats. That can never be a good sign. But there were people in there, so on I got.

The moment the train starting pulling away, it began to rain in one corner of this subway car. Very, very close to where I was standing. Keep in mind, I’ve spent all day at an art publisher’s new title presentation, where “surrealism” is a frequently used term. Needless to say, this was a very surreal moment, and I recognized the beauty of that image. Especially as this rain didn’t fall or splash on me.

And then the train started to slow down. That’s when a surreal moment turned very real. Yes, I got “rained” on. No, I don’t know for sure if it was rain. And if it was just rain, I was WELL underground (the E is like 3 flights below the street at that point) AND inside a subway car, so it was likely some seriously nasty rain. Ew.

But I was committed to this train ride, and in all honesty, it brought me out of my shell. I stayed sort of  huddled in my corner (where it hadn’t rained, but was definitely in the splash zone) as the rest of the car was filled to the brim and I warned oncoming passengers at each stop that they shouldn’t stand in certain spots unless they wanted to get wet. I was friendly, and I know they appreciated it. It surprised me that no one else warned people, even people who had been on the train when I arrived never said anything about where not to stand. That is rude.

Anyway, that wasn’t the end of my troubles. From the E, I had to transfer onto the 6 to get back to my hotel. Usually, the signage is quite good at these stations, but I had a hard, hard time finding the 6 from the E at 53rd and Lexington. I went up three flights of stairs (NOT an escalator, blurgh) in my heels, with my briefcase/bag on my shoulder and my skirt beginning to be more of a bother than an asset… {Allow me to also state that at least twice in my journey upward, the heel of my shoe caught on the lip of the stair and was yanked from my foot…. ewwww subway stairs barefooted!!} only to realize when I FINALLY reached the top, that actually, I was never supposed to have climbed all that way in the first place. So, I turned around and clomped back down, slowing everyone behind me down I’m sure. Very embarrassing.

As it was rush hour (or rush 3 hours, as it were), it took me at least an hour to get back to the hotel. At which point all I really wanted was to pick up my computer at the front desk and crash on my bed for several days… but this was delayed when the dude at the front desk couldn’t be bothered to turn around and retrieve my bag without summoning a bellhop first. This took another good ten minutes. When he finally arrived, he couldn’t find my bag. Apparently they store bags in several different locations at this hotel. I was too tired to panic, and thankfully he did find the bag (right behind the desk all along)… but it was certainly a struggle to stay on my feet those last few minutes.

The best part of today was coming up with the title for this post. When I write my memoirs, don’t be surprised if this becomes the title to that, as well. Well, maybe we can work to transform that MISadventures into something more positive between now and then! Wish me luck!