Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Busting My Butt Yet Again

On the one hand...

I scored a great gig at [Hard] Labor Ready today. In a newly built office building in Doylestown (don't picture in your mind a glass box; it was a vaguely Federalist two story structure surrounded by a parking lot that could accommodate a attendees of a Major League Baseball game), the property manager is showing a unit to prospective tenants tomorrow. But the construction crews just got out of there and the place is a mess. So he needed somebody to haul lots of trash out to the dumpster at the far side of the vast parking lot, sweep, run the shop vac, and wipe down the woodwork with a damp cloth. The space was air conditioned, and nothing I lifted was more than thirty pounds.

And the property manager guy was great. When I got there, right off the bat he explained the job and said to take all the time I needed and do a good job and rest easy because he was going to write down eight hours on my job sheet no matter how long it took me.


I threw myself into the work. And I love to do that. Property Manager Guy told me I could break for lunch whenever I wanted, but I didn't. Reason being I had $3.24 to my name. My goal was to get the job done and get paid and then I'd worry about my growling stomach.

As it turned out, my painstaking work had the place looking beautiful at 3:55 p.m., after starting at 10 a.m. Property Manager Guy was thrilled and grateful, and wrote that Magic Number Eight down on my job sheet under the heading Hours Worked and signed it.

Back down in Willow Grove at [Hard] Labor Ready, the chirpy woman was pleased to see me, letting me know that Property Manager Guy had called to let them know how impressed he was with me. And for my days work, I got $ 48.00. Which increased my net worth by 1600%.

Leaving [Hard] Labor Ready, I noticed for the first time a hair salon a few doors up from [Hard] Labor Ready called "Suburban Visions." To me, that sounds much more like a threat than a promise.

So a good day at [Hard] Labor Ready?

Not quite.

Let's back up a bit.

When I showed up this morning, there were eight or nine Black guys hanging out front of [Hard] Labor Ready HQ. And the doors were locked. There was a note on the door informing us that chirpy woman had left to drive some workers to a job site and she'd be right back. I took a seat out there with the Black guys and went through the want ads in the day's paper. (Nothing.) After about a half an hour, chirpy woman showed up and unlocked the door, letting us in. One of the Black guys, Blain, had some troubling news: "I missed the bus up to Doylestown for that job. The next one doesn't leave for two hours."

Chirpy woman was something less than chirpy, saying that the guy on the Doylestown job was expecting someone to show up about now. "Blain," she said, "If anybody here has a car, I'm sending them out on the job. Is anybody here driving today?"

The one white guy in the room raised his hand. (That would be me.) (I think that if you were to call [Hard] Labor Ready and ask for "the white guy," I'd be the one to get your message.)

Blain wasn't having it: I've been showing up here for three months! You gave that job to me!

All those questions on the Screening Questionnaire about getting into fights tripped through my head.

Chirpy woman did her best to calm Blain down. There was this palpable tension in the room.

"Are you ready to go out on this job," chirpy woman asked me.

Now, my better angels probably would have said that the appropriate response was, "I'm sorry, but I'm not comfortable with this. You gave the job to him already, and that's not fair. Doylestown is a half an hour up 611. I'll drive him up there."

But I wasn't consulting with my better angels. I needed to work. I grabbed the job sheet and the directions and with nine pairs of eyes on me headed out the door.

And a little piece of me died.

Ho(t)me(n) Depot called. I have an interview on Friday. So hopefully my days at [Hard] Labor Ready are numbered.

But man oh man, do I have incentive to leave Ho(t)me(n) Depot as soon as possible. The position is part time, and the Rules for part time workers there is that you have flexibility in arranging your schedule Monday through Friday, but on Saturday and Sunday, your ass belongs to them. From 6 a.m. to Midnight on Saturday and 8 a.m. till 10 p.m. on Sunday there's the potential that you'll be working there.

I have no choice, of course. I've got to go to work for Ho(t)me(n) Depot if they offer me a job. Even if that means I'll miss the softball playoffs. And the softball awards banquet. And That Will Suck. Softball has sustained me through this long ordeal.

Sustained me how?

Good question.

I was thinking about this morning.

Last night, while I was making dinner, I watched Marty, the movie that won Best Picture in 1955, in which Ernest Borgnine plays a shy butcher who falls in love with a dowdy school teacher. I was, of course, weepy throughout. And it made me think of Special Guy.

And how the really special thing about Special Guy was that he made me feel special.

Really special. He didn't just like me (although he did), he wasn't just totally sexually compatible (although he was), and it wasn't just that he gave me a hard on just by walking in the room (although he did), those scant few months with Special Guy were the best relationship of my life because the man made me feel like I was something special.

And man I miss that. And I often wonder if I'll ever have that again.

But this morning, I realized that I do have that: my softball team, those guys, make me feel really special. Infield flies and torn hamstring and all.

And that will be a hell of a lot to give up.

So this Saturday, the first game of the playoffs, might be my swansong for the season.

Please God, let me find a real job soon. Please let one of the jobs that I've applied for, any one of which I could do really well, come through. (Got an email from the museum. They opted for somebody else to be their Fundraising/Development Assistant.

Unbelievable, I know.

I spent six months at the Previous Place of emPloyment and raised over $ 400,000 for them. There's someone out there with that kind of an impressive resume?

No. Of course not.

But there's somebody out there who's in their Thirties, and even if he or she has spent the past fifteen years in Federal prison, youth is preferred over experience always.

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