At Paco’s urging, I will, as painful as it is…recall the 3 weeks I spent working at Spectrum Color. I was home from college, and had known this little photo lab in town that did a lot of color and black and white custom printing Paco and I had delivered there when working for Tom; I had gone in, and asked Z—, the lady who owned/operated the store if she needed help for the holidays. She said she did, and I was hired at slightly above minimum wage to work for the 3 weeks I was home.

My job was pretty simple- Make prints from negatives, both color and black and white. I would make the prints, develop them, then have them checked by Z—, to see if they needed more time, more or less color, whatever.

Our darkroom was located in the restroom. This was fine because while I was waiting for prints to dry, or run through various stages of production, I could take a whiz, or sit on the toilet and wait, rather than stand.

But it also had problems…

One of the serious drawbacks to this location was the fact that Z— also used it for a restroom…

On many, many occasions, I would emerge from the printing room, go into the darkroom, lock myself in for work, and then notice my nostrils were burning…Z— apparently had no qualms about dropping a wicked deuce in the can while I was away…then leaving the remaining odors to torture my senses for those painful minutes I had to be locked in. I couldn’t leave…or wait to enter work needed done, I had to endure. It became like a sick game of Russian Roulette with turds…I never knew for sure if that odor would be waiting for me, to caress my nostrils with its pungent fragrance.

I think she gorged herself on spicy German food all day long. Not many days went by that I wasn’t floored by the smell, and forced to operate a darkroom one handed…as one hand was always covering my nose.

The worst part was I couldn’t just tell her….”Hey Z— for the love of Pete, could you sh** prior to coming to work, or somewhere else…because you’re making for some unsavory working conditions to be sure…”

I liked the experience of working there, and Z— was very nice, and helpful…even if she did have some colon issues.