Escape From Christmas Tree Land (#722)

( Bear in mind please, I interviewed with this person through several phone conversations and emails.  She was always polite and professional on the phone, telling me I would have time off from the 12 to 14 hour work days and it would be fun.  I was amused by her gravelly voice which reminded me of the never-seen but heard mother of Howard on “Big Bang Theory.”

I arrived in Reno, Nevada at the Christmas tree lot where I was to work as a lot manager on a beautiful blue sky sunny day, parked in the shopping center lot with Atlantis (casino) in the background and went over to meet everyone.

Meeting with my employer for the first time, she seemed pleasant enough.  With the pleasantries over, we proceeded to get the Christmas trees tagged and set up.  It was Monday, November 19th.

For me, as it turned out, it was a day of reckoning.   Before my eyes and those of my crew members, my boss turned into a screaming, raving, tantrum-throwing psycho.

I was stunned, shocked, embarrassed for her.  Was she having a breakdown?!

Over the first week (and yes, she made us work on Thanksgiving Day) she went from twitchy to distraught to raging and then to pleasant for a minute, maybe two.  She threw her clipboard on the ground, called people idiots then said she was not really like this.

That first week, I felt so sorry for her.  I forgave her all the yelling and demeaning words; conniptions, as my Mom used to say.

Oh, but on the end of the 8th day….when I realized I was happy….only because she had not yelled at me all day, that is when I broke down and cried.  That is when I told her I was quitting (the 1st time 😉

She begged me to tell her why.  So I said, You have to treat your employees with respect.  So many have quit already.  If you can be respectful to us, I will stay.

And then she miraculously was very nice to me.  I decided to play it out.

The next day, I asked for a couple hours off to get groceries and do laundry.  She threw things and screamed and stomped into her trailer.  I quit. (2nd time)

I got an hour and a half off.

With just me and the crewmen the lot was a great place to work.  We worked hard, sold trees, had fun.  But whenever she appeared, great tension.  People quit every day.

Finally, I knew this was it for me too.

She begged me to stay one more day until she could get someone to take my place.  I agreed.  After that day, she said: Oh no, you have to work tomorrow too. 

I said No, you gave your word.  I am leaving.  

She could not talk me out of it, harrass me into staying any longer.  It got to where in 2 short weeks, my stomach hurt at the sound of her voice.  She would text me at 5am and start calling at 7am even though my work day started at 9am.

To give myself some comic relief, I changed her ringtone to a quacking duck.  It made me laugh every time I heard it.  Often, as she micro-managed us to no end.

I was told to lend my car to other workers to do her errands.  I refused,  I was told to lend my phone to workers to talk to her. I refused again.  She told me to open the lot at 8 instead of 9.  Yes, I said no.

It was now the beginning of Week 3.  She started to complain about all her troubles and how she is not really like this.

That is when I decided I had nothing to lose.  I told her the story of how my Dad used to say that there are people in this world who are rich in money but lead a very poor life.  So I told her that.  And she agreed saying that she knew people like that.

Then I told her, But….. it is you I am thinking of when I remember my Father’s words.

It is now Friday.  I have driven through 20 degree temps with snow and dense fog at 6000’ altitude down into 60 degree temps, sunny and pleasant.  Along the way, I have met the most extraordinarily kind people who (to my mind) were deliberately going out of their way to make my day.

I am back on the coast in Northern California letting the ocean soothe my soul; appreciative of so many things and people in my life who are honest and good and caring; happier than I have ever been.

Happy Holidays Y’all ~


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