My New Job as a Madagascar Penguin

As the world was deciding whether or not they should open back up, FMG and I have been busy starting a small business. So I wasn’t really looking for a job when I got a call from the local police department asking me if I would be interested in a part time position as a crossing guard at a local elementary school.

I had applied for the position maybe a year ago, give or take a few months, and I was kind of surprised my application was even still on file. The officer who called me seemed a little surprised that I said yes, sure, I was interested.

I imagine I was at the bottom of a long list of people who he had called before me with way better resumes who said no they aren’t interested anymore or didn’t feel comfortable working during a pandemic. My resume is full of lots of short term jobs with glowing reviews, but short term nonetheless and that can be off putting for people who are looking for solid employees. I bore easily or quickly realize that I hate working for other people.

But for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon to be able to cover my mortgage, I was in. Plus, I felt really fortunate to even be able to find a job in today’s market. So, I told him, I’d love to be a crossing guard and it turned out that the school he needed a guard at was 6 minutes from my house.

The school I was assigned has lots of students who live in government housing. There used to be a community of apartments right across the street from the school. So, historically, there have been dozens of children walking to school and needing to be crossed.

However, last year, they tore those apartments down to rebuild them and placed all the families in other housing units forcing them to either ride the bus or get dropped off.

So on average, I have one kid a day. And he’s in middle school. I see him almost every morning right before my shift ends as he walks to school. And he’s kind enough to humor me and let me cross him, even though he’s super smart and can easily cross by himself. He actually, has to cross by himself in the afternoon because middle school gets out about an hour later than elementary.

So, since I only have one kid who crosses, I had a choice to make. Did I want to be like the crossing guard who trained me and blow my whistle at every car going by who is speeding and stress myself out when they ignored me, do I want to sit in my car and play on my phone until I see my one kid coming to cross, or do I want to become known as that annoying crossing guard who is always standing right at the corner every morning with a big smile and a wave.

Guess which one I picked?

Yep, annoying crossing guard who smiles and waves at EVERYONE.

Some people really seem to enjoy the wave. Some roll their eyes like, “here she goes again.” And one completely and intentionally ignores me, but we will talk about her tomorrow.

So, basically, I have a job as a Madagascar penguin, you know, “Smile and wave, boys, smile and wave.”

Sometimes I tuck my phone in my handy dandy police jacket pocket and if a good song comes on, I may end up singing or dancing unknowingly, and then I bounce back to reality when I realize people are watching.

It’s really crazy that there are big blinking yellow lights and people seem to “not see” them and they fly through the school zone. And I don’t mean they are going 35 in a 35 instead of the 20 mph they are supposed to be going. They are going 65 in a 25 when they should be going 20. Sure, it’s annoying, but I was told that my job was only to cross children and not worry about speeders. So, that’s what I’ve been doing, which is a good thing because a lot of the people speeding are city workers. Instead of setting an example, they act like pace cars. And I don’t really care because there are no children. Maybe if there were children, I’d be angry. But, maybe if there were children, they’d slow down.

I guess we will find out eventually.

But for now, I will just continue to smile and wave.

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