Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mattress Lady

There is a woman who stands on the street corner at the entrance of  our local Costco parking lot with a sign board for a  mattress store.

She is my hero.

This woman, who I have nicknamed  "Mattress Lady",  takes her job seriously.   And when I say seriously, I mean she gives her all to being a walking (dancing and swinging) billboard.  She's out there on that corner all the time (no one else dares to try to fill Mattress Lady's shoes)--so much so, if we don't see her for a couple days we start to worry.  She's working  in hot weather and cold, sunshine and rain.  She always has her headphones in and is dancing to the beat, swinging her sign board back and forth to the tune, with a smile on her face and waving to the cars as they go by.

I don't know what they're paying her, but I'm sure it's not enough because Mattress Lady rocks.

I have never seen anyone do what would seem to be a boring, un-fulfilling job with such enthusiasm.  I really don't know how she does it--I can't even stand in line at Costco without feeling my life slipping away.  Mattress Lady, a 60-ish woman in mom jeans, ball cap and tennis shoes, however, seems like she's auditioning for  "American Idol."

There are a few other companies that pay people to hold sign boards just down the street from Mattress Lady's corner.  There's the guy who dresses up like the Statue of Liberty during tax time, looking uncomfortable and embarrassed; the sullen 20-something that holds the guitar shaped sign for some pizza place; and the teenager with the sign for the local gun range, who is either texting or talking to her scraggly-looking friends the whole time.  I couldn't even tell you the name of the companies they represent.  They just don't have the joie de vivre, the je ne sais quoi, the toe-tappin', hip-swinging, work ethic that the Mattress Lady brings to her sign holding.  Amateurs.

The Mattress Lady has become such a fixture in our community that she was invited to the high school's Homecoming Pep Assembly last year and one of my daughter's teachers dressed up with a sign board and head phones for Halloween.  We recognize a true original when we see it.

Often times at that same corner, across the street, there is a young couple  (late teens, early twenties) with a cardboard sign begging for money.  They usually take turns standing there with the sign that claims they are living in their car and need money for food.  Now, I don't know the real story behind this couple, maybe while one stands with the sign the other is out looking for work.  Maybe there was abuse at home, maybe they have psychological issues that keep them form helping themselves.  All I know is they picked the wrong corner to look helpless.  There, right across the street, is a woman old enough to be their mother, busting her behind every day, giving all her energy and enthusiasm, while they ask for a hand out.  I can't help but wonder what she thinks of them. 

So all hail to the Mattress Lady, may your days be sunny and your sign board be light.  Thank you for reminding me that any job can be fun, if you just have the right attitude...and some good music.