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Quitting the Boulangerie

Dublin, 1 September 2001 —

Your name: Olivier

Comment: You forgot to tell everybody what a crap baker you are !!

— From my guestbook, October 2004.

Yesterday I quit my horrible job at Boulangerie des Gourmets, and moved out of the house that my erstwhile boss owns. I had told Olivier, the boss, that I was quitting to move to Galway, where I'd found a job.

It is true that I had found a job in Galway. Or, at least, the likelihood of a job, at a place called The Malt House. Intervening circumstances, however, have kept me in Dublin, so far.

Let's back up a bit. About two weeks ago, I decided to make it out of town. I was sick to death of my job, and really uncomfortable with my relationship with the boss. He had been very miserly about giving me an advance against the monthly pay. And parental — he'd acted like it was irresponsible for me to ask. That galled me in a way that made me physically repulsed.

When I'd finally told him that I was going to be evicted if I did not get money from him, he'd suggested that he might have a place for me to live. I didn't like this, but okay. I didn't have much choice.

Anyhow (when I feel obliged to stay, it's time to leave) I quit my job yesterday. I'd had Olivier agree to pay me then, the 31st, knowing that if I did not maintain the pretense of leaving town he might not pay me until the 3rd, that being the Monday following.

Yesterday, I went to get my check. I felt very uneasy about the situation, knowing—as we say where I come from—that I wouldn't trust Olivier as far as I could throw him. Knowing, too, that I am working illegally in Ireland and have limited rights if any at all.

Olivier asked me "do you have the keys?" He wanted me out of the apartment before he would give me my check. Fair enough. Dirty bastard. So I went home. I slept for a couple of hours and went back to get my check. I didn't get my stuff out of the apartment, because I would not have time to make it downtown to the hostel (with my backpack and bag) and back, in time to get my check and go to the bank.

But before I went to sleep—before I could—I had to sit down and calculate what I was going to expect in pay. And I figured it out down to the exact percentages, not because I would demand perfection but so that I could represent my case with confidence.

And, of course, I needed the money.

Olivier gave me a check that was missing something.

He said "You worked eighteen days, right?"

"No, twenty-one."