Two down, three to go
Now this is a novel experience. Try going back to steady work after enduring over 28 months of consecutive unemployment. While it’s doable, and there’s a lot of energy there behind me, definitely helping me segue into this next episode, it’s kind of a weird feeling experiencing, for the first time in a long time, the days in the work week as they pass by. After getting up every day for weeks, months and years — well, like two of them, plus change — and trying to figure out how to put one foot in front of the other, and wondering if I ever was going to work again, locking into the daily grind is kinda, ahem trippy.
I wish my iPod could hold a charge so that I could dial into some Brian Eno or Cluster or Tangerine Dream for the train ride into the office. On the train before 6 a.m., meeting the same people every day, like this cool black cat who works for CalTrans. But on the train, it’s zone time, and the Folsom Boulevard route gets pretty boring — although I did see a new botanica, or santeria store — in the world’s ugliest shopping center at Folsom and Bradshaw. The neighborhood’s looking up.
The warehouse where I work is, well, it’s just business. Everyone seems pretty cool, and it has that kind of even-toned atmosphere where I thrive well. Even when the pressure is on, people are cruising through, one foot in front of the other. I work next to this Hawaiian ukulele-playing cat who blasts Gabby Pahinui and Keola Beamer records on his iPod, which is kind of lighting up a bomber of Humboldt County’s finest, meaning it sometimes isn’t so conducive to getting lots of work done quickly. Shit like that turns the office into instant New Orleans: “Where’s that hot line-stopper order I just gave you five minutes ago? That shoulda got done!” “Yah, whatever, mon. Like, just chill.”
After work, it’s back on the 3:45 Downtown train, which can be where the fun starts. Like today, with a buncha kids with dreadlocks and and a good old-school gumby fade. Then there was this black woman with a Mickey Mouse hat who was totally crashed out in a Light Rail seat, her head on a nylon lunchbox. She started snoring loudly, and then she woke up, still snoring while sitting upright. Then she kinda came to consciousness, and noticed the dreadlocked guys, and began screaming for them to shut up. “Now!” she hollered. “Shut up! Please! Be quiet!” They, of course, figured her out on the spot, and began telling her to shut the fuck up and go smoke some more crack. “Fuckin’ crackhead bitch, fuck that shit!” one guy opined loudly. She got up and stumbled to the other end of the car, with a dreadlocked Greek chorus hectoring her.
I got off while that shit was still going down. And noticed I was close to broke. I was doing fine existing on very light meals and little activity when I wasn’t working, but this job thing is kicking my keister for right now. I feel like eating everything in sight, but I don’t get paid until Friday. Anyone care to loan a brotha a couple of twenties until then?
And, hey, tomorrow is “hump day.” But I won’t be humpin’, because there’s stuff to do. –Jackson Griffith