Thursday, July 5, 2012

Freedom

A quick note before you get into the meat of this post: I do love my job, and I do love the bright smiling faces I see on a daily or weekly basis. This particular week has been a little hectic. I needed to vent.


It didn't occur to me that I ought to celebrate the Fourth of July yesterday. The only thoughts I had on the matter were that I should celebrate that it was finally over. There'll be a short rest for me as far as holidays go. Then Labor Day will roll around and we'll all be back to grunting and grumbling.

I work in a meat market in a big, busy supermarket, you know. It seems that every holiday is a meat holiday. It's not like working in a flower shop, where the biggest, bestest holidays are Valentine's Day and Mother's day. Nope. Texans seem to need a slab of meat with every meal, and when a special occasion rolls around, meat makes up most of the menu:  prime ribs for Christmas, turkey for Thanksgiving, hams for Easter, so on and so forth.

We are a busy bunch of meat mongers. We roll in at six in the morning, start tossing briskets and hamburger. We cut, we grind we slice, we saw and we chop. We wrap and weigh and throw it in the counter just to watch it disappear within a few minutes. I've been stepped on, shoved aside, poked, grabbed and yelled at by some of the neediest, most demanding customers, and they have the audacity to snub their noses at me because I somehow failed to live up to their expectations by not having thirty pounds of cube steaks ready and waiting on the shelf for them.  As if I could even get to the shelf, as crowded as it is. I have to slink and sneak between people just to stock things. Lots of times, I don't make it to the counter. Shoppers often take what I've got straight from my arms. Sometimes I have to get a little pushy. I'm a real live person you know. I have my limits. (I'm such a bitch. I should be fired, really.)

whew!

Back to the point. I don't celebrate the holidays like other people do. By the time it's time to relax in the park with live music and an ice-cold beer, I just can't stand the sight of people. Not even the ones I actually like. I just want go home, lock the door, sink into a nice hot bubble-bath and enjoy the freedom and the solitude.

That's what I was doing last night when I heard the fireworks start. That's when I finally remembered it was a day of celebration, and that I probably ought to take a moment to respect it. I toweled off just in time to step outside and see most of the Grande Finale. I'm not sure which park it was, but I could see it from my house if I climbed up on the patio fence and stretched my neck. My neighborhood was eerily quiet. The pops and bangs of the pyrotechnics echoed against empty, dark houses.

A Lifestar Helicopter flew over, headed toward the hospitals, which are near my house, whoop, whoop, whoop. I wonder what the fireworks looked like from up there. Had the demonstration been as uneventful to the pilot as it had been for me? Was he more concerned about making it through the workday, or was he missing his friends and family, who were surely celebrating without him?

It occurred to me then that none of my friends or family had bothered to pick up the phone and invite me to celebrate with them. Likewise, I hadn't bothered to ask any of them to join me. I was too exhausted from working all week toward the one goal of making it through without stabbing anybody.

Barely made it.

I punched Domingo three times in the shoulder for being a disrespectful asshole, and I told Pablo to go to Hell, but other than that, the meat-heads remained relatively unharmed. I can't say as much for the customers.

My Fourth of July did not go out with a bang. I was in bed by eleven, alone and completely sober. I cherished every moment. Wouldn't have had it any other way. I will, however, be celebrating my 39th birthday next week, even if I have to bake my own cake. (My mouth has been watering for some Black Forest, just in case you were wondering what kind of cake you...er, I should be making.)



18 comments:

  1. Ham for Easter?!? What kind of fucking savages live in Tejas anyway? Lamb. That's what civilized folk eat...even if they couldn't really care less about the holiday.

    I have you beat; unconscious by ten thirty on the couch with my book. The night before had been the community melodrama and the after party, and the day was a bedlam of travelers and tourist being told where to go and trying to fathom why so many municipalities had canceled the blowing up of things. Still, I doubt either one of us would trade positions; I for one used to deal with meat, after a fashion, although it was that of monkeys being used for medical purposes.

    Happy birthday early. I might know how to cook...even in the kitchen, but baking's a skill I've yet to master.

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    1. we sell lamb, too, but it's much to expensive for most folks. A rack is $23.99 lb! And it's usually the Jewish community that asks for it.

      As far as baking goes, if you can read, you can bake. Decorating, however, is a whole 'nother reality show.

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  2. Listening to live music in the park with a beer sounds good. I've thought that your work place sounds tough when you've blogged about it previously, but this post makes it seem a real labour. I suppose I could hack it if I felt part of a team- that they were nearly friends. The only thing I can compare that to is Christmas shopping which has become a bit of an ordeal in the UK. We buy too much stuff. We totally miss the point. Anyway, I've digressed a bit there. I imagine where you work to be like the place where Rocky is employed in the first movie? No ok .

    Nice piece of writing Nessa :)

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    1. Rocky? hmm,I don't remember where he worked, but I bet it's that same kind of work with an upgraded ambiance. We're supposed to smile at the customers while we're daydreaming about hitting them in the head with a leg of lamb.

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    2. In the first movie he worked at a meat packing plant. Huge slams of meat hanging on hooks and would practice boxing them.

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    3. oh that's riiight! that actually clears up a lot of Rocky jokes that float around our meat market.
      But no, we don't have anything hanging on hooks. We just get the big slabs already in cry-o-vac packages.

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  3. Ah, I hear ya.

    You have Black Forest -- I would like a cherry pie, with vanilla ice cream -- and we can sit on the porch and ignore each other. :-)

    Pearl

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    1. Sounds like a great night. Bring extra ice cream.

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  4. As Dicky said before your work place does sound a tough environment to work in and I doubt I'd last five minutes. I can really to gritting your teeth to just get through the week and then having an early night. That happens far too frequently at the moment. Happy birthday for next week. My baking speciality is double chocolate and Bailey's cake, would that be of interest to you?

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    1. Sounds wonderful! You and your cake are invited to my birthday bash!

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  5. Reading this post has made me hungry. Off to grab a thick juicy steak followed by a wedge of black forest yuuuuuum :)

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    1. I was thinking I'll need a nice margarita to go with that...

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  6. Hmm the art of monging (??) meat made me wanna go out and grab a slab of porterhouse and start chewing...im anemic atm though my pic looks like my blood is carrying plenty of raw bloody meat in my veins...
    anyway i getcha with the national celebrations biz...it does play 2nd fiddle to my life and heck im too tired to celebrate weird things like that...
    am i making sense? is this thing on? hello??

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    1. I'm anemic, too. I should probably eat less cake and more steak. I always think really hard about it, and then settle on cake anyway...oh well.

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  7. Celebrating constitution/birthday/anything in solitude can be quite nice, I think. A good book is all I need >:)

    Cold As Heaven

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  8. Utards like their meats, but we tend to think that we're having a bbq when there's hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill. There's a reason why all the good beef from this state gets sent elsewhere and we get stuck with the old dairy cows. I didn't even watch fireworks this year. There were so many new ordinances and bans that it wasn't worth the effort. Though, nothing spells entertainment like watching a mountain side catch on fire.

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  9. I am not a meat eater. I don't know the first thing about cuts or how to cook meat so you wouldn't find me at your counter. Hubby does his own meat shopping. I like to the bother the fish guys, though. I feel kind of bad for them--they seem forgotten at times.

    Well, happy 39 Nessa, you young thing! 39 is the age I said I would always be. Never a year older. But once I hit 50, I couldn't play that game anymore. 49 is the new 39. And 39, well, you are simply sizzling! Hope the cake was decadent. ;)

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