Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Don't read this. I've ranted.

Today, I decided to quit my job.

Actually, no. I just lied to you. Today, I decided that I can no longer go on in life having any respect for myself if I continue working in that noisy, testosterone-scented, caveman-filled, bad-attitude cesspool of a cutting room.

Not that I hate my job. I rather like my job. It keeps me mobile, and I like doing hard work, and the guys are pretty funny most of the time. Actually, most of the guys are pretty great almost all of the time. We got a couple of bad apples, but it's nothinng I haven't been able to handle up until now.

There's lots of reasons for me to stay: my sweet morning shift, my four weeks of vacation, my eighty hours of personal time, medical, dental, vision, 401k. Need I go on?

But sometimes the guys are also pushy, mean, and disrespectful, which makes me want to be pushy, mean and disrespectful right back. Well of course I have to be the best at everything that I do, on account of that competitive streak I have, so naturally, I become the pushiest, meanest, disrespectfullest bitch in all the land!

And that's not who I want to be.

I want to be pleasant,  and want to be liked by people, and I want to be able to leave my job with some sense of empathy for the rest of the human race. I want to be part of the world that celebrates things, anything at all, even if it's just that I made it through another day.

I can't do that these days. I leave work every day in the most furious rush to get home, slam the door and forget about everybody I came in contact with all day. BECAUSE THEY ALL SUCK ALL OF THE TIME!

(do you see how I get caught up in a continuous loop? "They're cool, we get along--->that guy was rude---->They're all horrible jackasses---->I hate everyone!---> nah, it's not that bad--->That one guy's okay. We get along.")

So when my boss came back from vacation today, I told him I think it's time to redefine my position with the company. There are many different positions I could handle, but I don't think he's taking me very seriously.

I might have to just quit my job.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Eye Contact

She had that look. I've seen it before-shoulders hunched, arms crossed over her chest with a plastic shopping basket hanging awkwardly off her elbow. She was scanning the pork counter for good deals, and I was stocking nearby. I tried not to pay attention, but some internal instinct drew me to her.

She reached a slender hand toward a thrifted package, and then the husband walked up behind her.

Another person might have believed he was loving and kind, but I could see the grip he had on the back of her neck- so casual, yet so firm. She cringed, not so much that it would be noticeable, but I noticed.

I've been there before. I've been the one under that icy grasp (not his, but someone like him). I know that feeling of helplessness and fear. I know that trick he's playing, making everything seem cozy and sweet.

I suppose I blend into the scenery at my meat counter. He didn't seem to notice me. Either I am invisible, or he is not threatened by the presence of a little girl like me. He was smiling, but his stinging words defied the expression on his face.

"You buy that fucking pork, and I will shove it down your throat whole, bone and all."

She gulped and withdrew her hand. He patted her back in that loving manner and stepped away, whistling.

I moved down the counter and locked eyes with her. A wordless exchange between us revealed a bond that neither of us wanted to claim, but couldn't deny. That kind of sisterhood is never welcome, but sometimes survival and sanity depend on it.  There are others like me. I am not alone.

She moved away from the counter with a silent nod, and I haven't seen her since.

Friday, June 7, 2013

One Table Over: Party at the Playground

            “Hey ya’ll!”  A skinny, blond woman waves cheerfully to the small party gathered at the covered picnic tables.  She makes her way across the grass from the parking lot. The folks in the group look up in unison but do not reply. They look back at one another and murmur amongst themselves. “I didn’t think I’d ever find ya’ll!” she hollers to them as she approaches. She’s walking determinedly, her flip-flops flapping, her jaw yapping. She pushes her sunglasses to the top of her frizzy, bleach blond head in a well-practiced move so they can get a better look at her, as if they have forgotten who she is.
            They are silent, immobile, and ashen.
            One brave soul breaks away from the group and moves to block her. He is the patriarch of this small family, if that’s what they are. He alone will protect them if he has to. He holds his hands up, signaling her to stop where she is.
            “You can’t be here, Rhonda,” he states boldly.
            Her jaw drops, almost comically. She stops walking and clutches a bony hand to her freckled chest. “What?” she gasps. “Why not?” She shifts the bag over her shoulder to a more comfortable position. The strap of her hot pink tank top falls casually off her shoulder.
            “One hundred yards, Rhonda,” he says pointedly.
            “But it’s her birthday!” she squeals. “You won’t keep me away!”
            “One hundred yards,” he reiterates. She stomps her foot like a child and stands her ground. Another member of the group, a young woman with nothing but a camera approaches them. She holds the camera up, a poor shield, but a powerful weapon.
            “What the hell are you doing, Amanda?” the blonde demands to know. Receiving no answer, she tries to swipe the camera away, but the man steps in her path. She huffs and retreats a few feet. She adjusts herself as she thinks of her next move and then reaches into her bag. When she pulls something out, every person in the group gasps and sinks to the ground to avoid the imaginary spray of bullets.        
            “Aw, COME ON!” the woman howls, exaggerating her dismay. “Do you really think I’d bring a gun to a birthday party?” She throws a small wrapped package on the grass at the man’s feet. “THERE!” she screams. “I hope she likes it, ‘cause I spent all my money gettin’ it for her!”
            She turns and stomps away, but she does not leave the parking lot. She props herself up on the hood of her dented Cadillac and smokes a cigarette. As she watches them, they pack up their party and grumble. When they approach the parking lot, she hops off the hood and backs away, giving them their space. They try to ignore her, but she throws a lit cigarette toward them as they climb into their van. The woman named Amanda starts to say something, but the man pulls her by the elbow into the van. They drive away slowly, leaving the blonde alone with her fury.
            She never goes back for the package in the grass.