Trail of a Heart 21 – Bob’s Jobs

 In Autobiography

You might wonder what plans Bob had for employment. He had been working as a hairdresser for several years by the time we were ready to leave Colorado, and decided it was not for him. His dream of having beauty shops of his own to oversee had been suppressed by what he described as the tedium of working on women’s hair wherein he was naturally subjected to maintaining small talk that he did not find interesting. The road to ownership was looking further and further away. He decided he would have to make his fortune some other way.

Aiding his decision to switch careers, we had been inundated by our female neighbors who thought it was okay to come into our house to get Bob to cut or curl their hair, sparing them a trip to his beauty shop. Most of them expected this as a neighborly favor without paying at all. I still don’t understand how all that got going. Our moving, however, put a stop to that as well, much to Bob’s relief.

To work as a hairdresser in California, Bob would have had to take the State Boards. In view of how he was feeling about that profession, he declined to continue his career in cosmetology.

I don’t remember how he made the decision, but he landed a job as a new car salesman in our new home of Santa Maria. This establishment was the home of the “Hiking Viking” as the billboards advertised. Bob continued in this job for a while, but the stress of it was hard on all of us. As I remember, it was strictly commission. No sale, no pay. I was earning an income, so we had a buffer, but Bob was working on a bigger plan that required that we both have lucrative jobs. He wanted to amass a fortune as early as possible and live off the interest. He had some difficulty with relationships in the car sales work, primarily with the bosses. He was never much for taking orders.

How or why he chose to work as a short-haul truck driver has slipped my mind, but that is what he did. He would work evenings and nights picking up crude oil in the fields and delivering it to the refinery. Even though this work gave him the autonomy on the job he craved, it was understandably hard on our family. I would get home from teaching just after 3 o’clock and get his dinner so he could go to his job.

Then Monicqua and I had evenings together. We had some time back decided to stop renting and had bought a trailer that we envisioned we could put out on a piece of land and either build on to it, or just build a house. The park we were in was upscale, complete with swimming pool and large recreation center, but there wasn’t a lot to do there for entertainment. Since I was teaching English, I had many papers to grade most evenings, which kept me very occupied. “Neek” found playmates among the families in the park.

Bob would come in before we woke up and would be asleep as we got ready to go to school. It reminded me of when my mother was a night-time switchboard operator. When she came home from work, it was difficult to maintain a quiet household so she could get her sleep. Even though my “ancestral home” was small, it was not as tiny as our two-bedroom trailer. The most common sound in our house was shushing.

Watch for the next installment of my life story…

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