When I was 23 I was living in a fancy group home. I stayed 8 months in the hospital then my parents got me in this ritzy group home in a nice neighborhood in an affluent city. A lot of the other residents were children of doctors or lawyers. I had just gotten awarded SSI and I was the last person they let live there on SSI. In other words, I was paying about $450 a month to live there while everybody else was paying $2000 a month. This was in 1983 dollars.
Anyways, after 9 months I got a job. A lot had happened in the meantime. I had been going to a vocational program but I had no plan to get a job. There were about 12 other people attending and I was nothing special, I didn’t stand out and I was not a member of the main clique. I was friendly with a few people but I didn’t talk to most people. The counselors kind of liked me I guess. For some reason they started giving me little jobs. I mean other people had little responsibilities there too. A few of them ran the lunch program and shopped for our food.
A few of them supervised our mailing projects. The counselors gave me little jobs like supervising our yard work crew. I didn’t want to but they talked me into it. And eventually I got other responsibilities like running the cash register for lunch, and taking care of the landscaping.
Anyways, eventually they got me a real job. I worked at a hot tub/massage joint. Perfectly legitimate; I was the general handyman. I worked on my own and cleaned, painted, washed windows and walls, did laundry, straightened the machine room, etc.
My story is about a couple of the people there. The place was owned and run by this young couple in their mid-to-late 30’s. They bought the building and built their hot tub business from the ground up. My boss and his friend did all the plumbing and electrical wiring, installed the hot tubs and installed the 9 machines that regulated the temperatures and made sure the proper chemicals were circulating. They built 9 separate private rooms they rented by the hour with a hot tub in each and saunas with dry heat or wet heat. Their clientele was mostly young, couples with plenty of money.
They hired about 5 staff to run the front desk and take the money. And the bosses worked at the front desk too when they weren’t living it up in their fancy cars and doing the town.
There was one employee who was kind of at the top of the heap. He had a very odd name which I won’t give here. He knew martial arts, he was considered good looking and cool and he appeared friendly and charming.
He had been there the longest at the front desk. He was about 30 years old. His main friend there was a girl about his age. I couldn’t stand her. I was just the handyman and they were above me.
IDK, everybody liked the guy. I liked him but like I said I was the lowly handyman from the vocational program and he was way cooler than me. I used to talk to him and I thought that he liked me, at least a little. He told me he would give me lessons in martial arts. So I was friendly with him for a few months. It was usually me who had to approach him. And then one day, out of the blue, he called me an as*hole in a conversation. I couldn’t believe my ears. I had always been nice and respectful to him. I thought he was a nice guy.
And I slowly started distancing myself from him, IDK. Maybe he never liked me and he was so popular I thought maybe he was right.
But I’ve thought about this before over the years. And looking back, I remember how mean he was. The bosses wife was no beauty but she was super nice and most people thought she was cute, including me. She had a funny way of cocking her head to the side and smiling really friendly to you. She was in good shape too. But that guy loved to call her ugly behind her back and loved to tell the story that she once pursued him and how he rejected her.
And thinking back the guy was condescending and stuck up. He treated other people bad too. And I realized that he was like my friends older brother who hated me in high school. He called me an ashole once too which crushed me but he picked on all my friend friends. It took me years to get over that and realize he was the ashole. He was cocky and good looking and confident but he had to pick on a bunch of insecure kids a few years younger than him. What a jerk.
And I realized that guy at the hot tub place was nothing special, he had confidence which he used to put people down. I thought he was so cool back then but I realize now he was just some jerk cashier too that I shouldn’t have talked to or been nice to. Perspective and time are funny things when you look back on people like that.