Monday, October 06, 2014

The working life: I joined a *different* army. I joined the one with the condos and the private rooms

You guys, I have a new job (I think you know that). I am no longer working downtown, where it was easy to get to work on the bus. I am now working out in the nether suburbs, in a converted manufacturing facility with almost no windows and almost no natural light in a neighborhood where there are no sidewalks and no place to get coffee, except for the 7-11 across the street and up a block, the getting to which requires hiking through two parking lots and over some grass and then risking your life to cross a busy street unless you want to go all the up to the light which of course you do not because you are just trying to get coffee and the getting of coffee requires that you take the straightest line possible.

So I am working way out in the middle of nowhere where there is nowhere to go at lunch and nothing to do at lunch so people take a short lunch and then leave at 4:30 rather than working until 5.

For a few months, I rode my bike to work. I was thrilled - well, not thrilled because I hate exercising - to discover I could get almost the whole way there on bike trails and side roads. This was good news because SH's solution for my new job away from downtown and away from the bus routes was for us to buy another car.

I am not working so that we have to spend more money.

I am working so we can sock money away in the bank so that once we retire and neither of us has a defined-benefit pension, which nobody has any more except public employees, we can afford to eat.

I am also working so I can buy shoes. But even then, I have enough shoes. I do not need any more. I am on a shoe moratorium and also a clothes moratorium. (See: Working with engineers means you don't have to worry about what you wear.)

So yeah - the whole point of my getting a new job, other than to get away from the insanity that was my previous workplace (just as I never really understood how truly horrible in-laws could be until I got some of my own, I never understood how bad upper management could be until I ran into the most jerky CEO I have ever met in my life. In two weeks, I will spend two hours on the bus just so I can see my boss from when I was in the Peace Corps - she will be in Chicago for a meeting. I know I am capable of having good, long-lasting relationships with a boss, so I know it is not me. I would not cross the street if this CEO were on fire and I think you know how the rest of that goes.)

Oh. I need to finish my sentence. The point of getting the new job was so that we would have more money, not less.

It is now getting too cold and too dark to ride my bike.

Fortunately, the city has just started a new route to the suburbs.

I rode that route today, hoping to find the new Goth Girl and Goth Boy.

That was not what I found.

I had to connect to the new route a few miles west of our house. I got on the bus on what must have been its 10th or 15th stop. It was jam packed full. So much for my visions of sitting on a seat by myself and reading my book in comfort.

I got on the crowded bus and noticed I was the only white person on the bus. This is not racist. It is a fact and it is somewhat relevant to the plot, I think, because the woman in front of me turned around, looked me up and down, and asked, "Are you sure you're on the right bus?" I don't think she would have asked me that question if I were not the only white person on the bus.

I wish I could have said that I was clearly on the wrong bus, that I really should have been on the bus with the with the condos and the private rooms. But indeed, I was on the right bus, and I rode the whole way standing up, trying to read with a book in one hand and holding the upper strap with the other.

There were no teenagers on the bus as far as I could tell. Just working people. Although I did eventually have a nice conversation with three people about their jobs as order pickers at a warehouse. They like their jobs, which I am glad to hear. But distribution center picking is not as interesting as teen romance.

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