There was a time – two months ago, really – when Tessa Fielder would have been the first person to tell you that she had the most boring life ever. School, homework, trips to the mall with her friends, nights spent in front of the television and then when summer rolled around, schlepping off to the most boring job a high school kid could ever be expected to work.
But now Tessa is telling everyone a different story; a story that is full of adventure, romance, important life saving research, poopy diapers, and adorable service animals. How did Tessa stumble into this new life of hers? She became an amusement park ride operator.
Anyone who’s anyone wants to be an amusement park ride operator, and who could blame them? Nothing is more fun than standing on your feet in one hundred degree weather ten hours a day, cleaning up vomit, yelling at parents to please not throw their kids onto the ride while it’s moving, yelling at parents to please not try to remove their kids from the ride while it’s moving, and having sweaty stinky person after sweaty stinky person walk past you as they go through the line. So much glamour and it pays minimum wage! If anything can help Tessa save for university, it’s a minimum wage job.
There’s just one minor hiccup to this otherwise perfect job: people insist upon asking her stupid questions. “How did you become a ride operator?” “What do you do during the winter?” “Is it hot enough for you?” It has got to the point where Tessa wonders if maybe the customers have suffered some catastrophic brain injury as a result of eating too much candy floss. Do these people actually wonder if maybe she had to get a four-year degree in amusement park technology in order to be considered qualified to push a button all day? What else would a high school student do during the off season other than return to high school? And do these people think she’s from the sun or some other place warmer than an amusement park during the dog days of summer?
For the first couple of weeks of the season, Tessa put her customer service skills to use and answered every question politely and honestly, but then she grew tired of it and said, “Fuck it! Stupid people deserve stupid answers!” That’s when she started making shit up.
“I’m a P.H.D. candidate studying molecular biology at Harvard University,” she told one customer when he asked what she did during the off season. “We’re currently researching the affects of candy floss on the brain. We think it may be the cure for all neurological disorders. Have you visited our candy floss stand yet?”
When another customer asked the same question five minutes later she said, “I sit at home with my two-year-old quadruplets. Oh my God, the diapers I go through!” She told another customer that she was saving every penny to open a training centre for service dogs, and another that she had met a super sexy Russian who had a thing for roller coasters, and she was moving to Moscow at the end of summer to help him bring this western pastime to those behind the Iron Curtain. “I worry about the cold, though. It can never be hot enough for me,” she then said.
In a few days, she’ll return to high school and go back to answering boring math questions, but before then this globetrotting, dog loving, diaper changing, health researcher has another pile of puke to hose down.