Board-folding: a parable (or how I refrained from murder yesterday)


Yesterday,  I learned the valuable lesson of “board-folding.”

What is board folding?.. you may find yourself asking.

WELL, basically it’s folding a shirt, tank, cardigan, sweater (LARGE PIECE OF FABRIC)… while utilizing a plastic board as a kind of stabilizer throughout the process. The result is in theory, a neater folding job so that your stacks of clothing look organized and visually appealing for potential customers.

Let’s talk about these “potential customers” for a second shall we? They do not care about board folding. They care about finding their correct size. They care about small, medium, large and so on and so forth. And they will destroy any “visually appealing” masterpiece you have created in order to ensure they get there.

... and they all have red hair.

I board-folded 75 t-shirts (yes I counted) for 55 MINUTES .

When I was done, these shirts looked like they had undergone the garment version of extreme fabric makeover. To say they looked good is completely undermining the quality of performance I exhibited. These shirts were the Justin Bieber of the cotton world. They could do no wrong. But alas, I find myself entirely too emotionally attached to certain tasks and after spending almost an hour with these particular shirts, I felt a certain protection over their new perfection. I guarded them like a mother bear protects her cubs. I might as well have been growling at people. …It’s fine, I’ll never see them again. Anyway, I stepped away for a few minutes to gaze outside longingly at Noodles and Company (I never really stop wanting Mac and Cheese) and to stare down my stupid ankle and will it back to health in much the same manner Jesus does but with less success. Which was understandably disappointing.

A rookie mistake. Day dream ended, I observed in dismay as 4 (evil) adolescents destroyed my carefully calculated job in a matter of thirty seconds.

It was really all I could do to not strangle them, or myself. Or my boss. What was the point of all that stupid work to just have it destroyed by Miley Cyrus and crew? I just wasted minutes of my life on such a menial, retarded task and for what? So that it could be “visually appealing” for myself?

And the answer I think.. is yes. Because in the moments that the shits, ahem shirts, did look perfect I was actually kind of proud of how good it looked. And I know that sounds idiotic and like I have been brainwashed into thinking that my job has purpose (and maybe sometimes I have) but when you are stuck for 6 hours folding and refolding shirts and staring off into space and wishing you could time travel and wondering if any guy who comes into your store is actually straight… you might find a little pride in your shirt display as well.

Which brings me to my overall point (because I do have one) of the lesson that “board-folding” has taught me. I’m beginning to turn my mindless retail slavery tasks into life parables which makes me feel much less like what I am doing is sucking me of my brain cells and dignity. Anyway..

In life, there will always be things you will take the time to do with the knowledge that at some point, whatever you have accomplished will eventually fall to ruin.

This could be as simple as folding clothes for hours on end to have someONE destroy it in minutes or it could be making your bed very aware that that very night you will once again tear up the sheets or putting up christmas decorations knowing in two weeks, you have to put them away again or it could be something much bigger, like letting your guard down to let someone into your life with the knowledge that at some point, the relationship may fail and that all that “visual perfection” is really just one silly day dream away from coming back to terms with reality.

But we put the effort into making these things temporarily perfect because we know during the time that things are flawless, it’s totally worth it. It’s something to be proud of. To care about. To protect and prolong. And when it is ruined or falls apart, which sometimes happens, and is occasionally inevitable, it’s a comfort to know that if we created something perfect once, we can always do it again. And though getting there might be a tedious or monotonous or painful experience, the final result is always worth it.

So go ahead and make your bed and sleep in it too.

Let your guard down and let someone in your life knowing they might leave.

Fold some clothes and then throw them across the room in a giant pile and then, set them on fire.

Because guess what? The best part about metaphorical “board-folding” is that you GET (!!!!!) to do it again. And (though this doesn’t directly apply to beds or christmas lights) you’ll do it better. And it will last longer. And maybe next time.. perfection will stick around.

I don’t know. All I am saying is that next time I am forced to “board-fold“, the board will also be doubling as a baseball bat to anyone who touches my perfect sweater masterpiece.

*retail smile*



I’m not dead! (..yet)

Yesterday, I fell into a metaphorical pothole.

It was the first day of school for KU and also Bid day for Sigma Kappa, both of which I was obviously, just one year ago, heavily a part of. And there I was, standing at work, in the fitting room (or the cave, as I like to call it) going on my 3rd hour of banishment, wanting to stab myself in the eye with the nearest clothes hanger and then after several moments of trying to talk myself down… I was very literally bored to tears. 

I mean, really  THIS is my life? I get a degree. I go to school for four years. Spend thousands of dollars (thanks Dad) and NOW, I am working as a part-time sales associate where my only job is to “process” clothes (zip, button and fold) and greet customers with the same welcoming statement for hours on end? IS THIS A SICK JOKE GOD/AMERICA/OBAMA/ASHTON KUTCHER?! ….Please gag me with an overpriced scarf.

You. have. got. to. be. kidding. me. 

 So you can understand, how yesterday as I checked my stowaway phone (when do I ever follow this rule honestly) with pictures, status updates, tweets etc etc about the first day of school and how terrible it is and omg 8 AM class and ugh so annoying the library.. I wanted to come down to ‘ol KU and give a reality check to the entire student body in the form of a lengthy monologue about my sad, sad life. Yes, you could be going to anatomy at 8 AM. Yes, it’s early. Yes, you’re hungover. But for the love of Jesus Christ, you could be being taught by a manager at your employed retail store (cough, purgatory) of choice on what a “perfect” clothes rack looks like. Or how to treat your customers in the fitting room like the guests at a party you are hosting. All the while trying hard to suppress laughter at how “important” it is to put “add-ons” in the fitting room because “if you love it, the customer will too!” and also trying not to vomit at the unfortunate turn of events your life has taken. 

I’m sorry. This is literally dripping with sarcasm. The truth is, the people I work with are generally nice. A few are delusional with their own importance and some never take off what I like to call their “retail masks” but they are mostly  nice people and probably don’t deserve my word wrath. Unfortunately, as I pull no leverage there, I must have a place to say how I feel here. 

this summarizes my job search pain

Anyway, I was at work, went on a ten minute break to collect my life, stared at a pair of earrings I wanted and considered quitting on the spot and running out skipping and laughing and then never going back. But then, after the fantasy faded (which was lovely and I got much joy from it) I realized this would be rude, unprofessional and not really all that realistic, as then I would be actually unemployed and at least I am getting paid to be brain-dead and brain-washed. So, I pulled myself up by my imaginary bootstraps and told myself I would fold the shit out of any jeans that came my way until I found a job that will allow me to FINALLY do something I want to do. And when I do, I will put in my two-weeks notice with GLEE and then buy the entire store. (Because I will need to look good as a professional… AS AN INVESTMENT IN MY 

And then, I felt a little better. And I went back to my cave with a smile because I knew that I would not live there forever. And I helped the nice foreign asian girls like they were patrons at my imaginary tea party and I wanted nothing more than to give them crumpets and doilies until each came out of their  little eyeballs. …Oh yeah, I was THAT good. Because guess what? Someday, I will NEVER work in retail again. And there will be much singing and rejoicing throughout the land.

…So that was yesterday. Yes, yes, I was inspired as well. 

I woke up this morning thinking TODAY IS A NEW DAY! and TODAY, NOTHING WILL GO WRONG! and TODAY I WILL MEET JUSTIN BIEBER AND HE WILL WRITE ME A SONG! (I knew this was a stretch but I mean, I drank a lot coffee so I was feeling preeeeetttyyyy jazzed about the possibility… also just realized that rhymed, perhaps I will become a songwriter myself) 

So I went on a run. The birds were chirping a song out of Snow White. People will greeting me in Beauty and the Beast fashion. Several princes were lining up to sweep me into their Lexus RX Luxury Utility Vehicles (ya.. I don’t do the horse thing)

 The world was alive with possibilities. And then?

…I fell into a literal pothole. 

I know, I know. This was probably self-fulfilling since all I have been doing is talking about how wonderful and perfect Kansas City is to run in. Irony had itself a little chuckle at my demise today. Haha Meg, you survive the small craters in Lawrence only to fall into a tiny crack in Kansas City and have to go to the emergency room. Hahahahaha.. very funny, I’m dying of laughter. Touche, Irony.  

Yes, my ankle was the victim of this particular accident and I am now the proud owner of a new shiny pair of crutches (fist pump) and a swollen mass where my bone used to be. It’s not broken but it ain’t pretty either. And it also means no more running until it heals. Which could be a week. Or it could be a month. 

I am pretty.

But you know what? Some might be defeated by this event. Some might crawl back into their metaphorical pothole waving a white flag of defeat and sorrow. BUT NOT ME! Even though I love running. And I love walking without limping. And crutches may increase my klutziness (which is admittedly, already embarrassingly high) and this will mean I can not go into work for the next few days (…..wait, that’s AWESOME)  I WILL NOT GIVE IN TO THIS SETBACK! 

So instead of crying in my room, I used today to do much self-reflecting and job hunting. Both of which went ok, as I now know that I meant to be a judge on the food network (but a nice one, like Paula on American Idol) and also occasionally say off-color comments on national television (like Chuy, the midget on Chelsea Handler, who informed me today that he’s mexican. which I thoroughly enjoyed.) 

My point is, life is full of metaphorical and literal potholes. But as long as you find yourself a pair of pretty, shiny crutches (or mental crutches to propel you forward) and keep moving, keep your head’re going to be fine. 

I’M GOING TO BE FINE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks to Ms. Rolfes for this ending inspirational tune. 

(and to all you kids that are going out tonight and get horrible hangovers tomorrow morning.. you will be fine too. But I have no sympathy for you! The after-college hangover is a lot more painful and takes much longer to get over)

Ok, enough with the cheese ball metaphors.

Now, I sleep.