"Sixteen and college-bound", the teen-aged girl in the poem Patty's Charcoal Drive-In learns the challenges of having a first job: hard work for little pay. Her role is to serve, to accommodate customer's needs by "presenting each tray as if it were a banquet." Then after working hard hopes to merely earn tips from loose change "flung carelessly as the stars."
I can understand the challenges of hard work for little pay. I work for Starbucks Coffee Company as a shift supervisor. I have to wake up at three in the morning to prepare the store for the busy day and I am not morning person. I have to coordinate partners, assign daily tasks, and deal with customer issues. I have to be nice and cheery, regardless if I am in a bad mood or ill. After smiling, chatting, and serving my hope is the customer puts their change in my tip jar.
In our high school year and early college years, many students work the undesirable jobs with the goal of making the big bucks one day. The teen-aged girl realizes this "job is temporary as the summer sun, but right now, it is the boundaries of [her] life." She is beginning a journey into adulthood, understanding the value of grueling work. Through trial and tribulation she recognizes this job is merely a stepping stone to her desired future.
What I find interesting though is she refers to her future as a cold wind, indicating a fear of what is to come. Her future seems to haunt her, the fear of the unknown. The girl seems content with her life and not in any rush to grow up. She is happy with the steadiness of the work and her "purse fat with tips." [continues]
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