Rhonda pulled into the A&W drive-in for a root beer and a burger, driving her parents’ 1962 Ford Fairlane. Yesterday she’d quit her job on the assembly line after her third week. Her father was furious; he’d gotten her the summer job in his factory– her first real job. She’d be a junior in high school next year, and apparently she had no marketable skills at all.
They’d put her on what the other workers called “the baby line” since she was new and therefore slow. After two weeks of trying to go as fast as everyone else at four very simple functions, she’d finally gotten up to speed. With that challenge behind her, she turned to other ways to combat the boredom. She’d taken to working even faster to free up ten seconds to read a clue on one of the crossword puzzles in the newspaper that held the parts. It was not enough. At sixteen, the repetitious work for eight hours a day, with two, fifteen-minute breaks and a half hour for lunch came as a shock. She’d look at the clock, and the hands would not have moved at all.
Her feet were still numb and her fingers full of cuts from standing at the line, handling the metal, the cardboard boxes, the tape, and the stapler. It irked her to give up and quit, but she had been ready to scream from the boredom. She crunched a French fry, sniffed back a tear, and contemplated her future.