A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

31 January 2014


So when we moved, I transferred. Managed to keep with the same company. But sadly, I'm pretty much the most junior guy in a shop where instead of four guys, there are thirty.

So I'm on the spare board. This means I take the shifts no-one at all wants.

So last week I was slated to work the lowest-paying job in the shop on Monday and Friday, and that was it. Then they called me in on Wednesday and Thursday.

Thursday arvo I come in and notice my name's off the board for Friday.

Oh well, I oh-welled, No worries. I don't need the hours and I don't exactly love that job anyway.

At six-something-ty this morning, the boss phoned. They want me to come in. To do exactly the job they pulled me off of yesterday.

I am not thrilled. My back hurts a bit, I had bad sleep and wound up being awake three hours last night ... Wah, wah, wah.

Somewhere out there, a person possibly named Miguel, or Rosa, or Frank, is dragging himself (or herself) off of his bed (or her bed) and putting his feet (her f-- ... You know, I'm gonna stop this now) on the floor.

Miguel is undocumented, and so makes less than minimum wage. The work is physically brutal, the shifts, while officially ten hours long, run twelve to fourteen, but nobody complains. There are no health benefits. The workers have a joke about "work 'till your break or work 'til you break." There are no benefits, and no breaks. Frank blew out his back last week--He's worried one of his discs may be ruptured.

Last year, a guy named Fidel started a drive to unionize. He and six other workers got a sign-up sheet going. Fidel got picked up by Immigration last month. And five of the other six haven't shown up to work since. The sixth guy just got promoted to shift supervisor, night shift--A position understood to mean "Company Stool Pigeon, Third Class."

Miguel can barely make rent, and can't afford to go to a doctor to get his back fixed. Besides, under new Immigration laws he thinks the doctor might have to report him as undocumented.

So he rises, grimacing, and slouches down to the bus stop with a cup of coffee in hand, trying to shift as he walks to ease the pain.

As he waits for his bus, he takes out the letter in his back pocket:

"Dear Husband:

The baby is better, but we miss you so much. Thank you so much for the money you send ..."

The bus hisses and chuffs to a stop, and Miguel grimaces, rises, and goes to work.

My job is unionized, with benefits, and I make a good bit more than the minimum here in Canada, and a $#!7load more than the minimum in the US.

Gratitude. I haz it.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

28 January 2014

Everything in Context

So I'm on Facecrack the other day, and I noticed a friend of mine had posted one of those Gordon Ramsey (I think it's him--all those Food Network Ain't-Oi-Edgy-Chef wankers look alike to me) meme pics.

You know the ones: Gordon yelling at some hapless schmuck "This (noun) is so (adjective) that (here's the punchline)."

Here's the one she posted.

The first comment read: "OMG Funny!!!"
Maybe it was the red mist that rises before my eyes at the sight of multiple exclamation points, but I was compelled to comment:

"So 'funny' now equals 'racist'?"

This prompted a mostly ALL-CAPS blast from someone declaring themselves to be "a proud, big, black, person" and defending Poster as "my best friend, and not a racist, but you [Metro] you're gonna find out what a racist is when I finish wit you ..."

I settled the person's feathers and told them that I believed Poster wasn't a racist, but the pic was, and that reflects inevitably on the person posting it (Poster waited two days and then seems to have quietly taken the pic down). I did this because any other course seemed to lead to an endless wrangle, and frankly I have better things to do. That porn ain't gonna surf itself, you know.

I also didn't want to come across as though I felt my friend was a racist. But she is, quite frankly.

A bit. Less than my grandmother, who deafly declared in the presence of a Comissionaire in a turban "Ooo--'Ave ye them here?--Pakis?" (The gentleman referred to gave my mortified self a smile and a wink that I chose to interpret as "It is no matter, my friend. The lady is old and not of our time, and she will be dead soon.")

A little. She'd be hurt and offended if you said outright that she is. And it's not as though she consciously tries to limit opportunity for people of other races than her own.

But she is. She'd happily call South Asians "pakis" even though she worked closely with a couple for years. She believes Muslims are all brown and wear burnoose and burkhas. She blelieves Aboriginals are lazy bums. In other words she has that stupid background-radiation racism of an unexamined philosophy and working-class background.

She`s not malicious. She`s ... just racist. And as such of course she's part of a wider problem.

We are what we tolerate. I don`t particularly want to cut her loose. But I will continue to call her on this sort of stuff. Interestingly, she`s occasionally posted sentiments that translate into "Offended you, have I? Well tough $#!7!" You know--the sort of thing posted by small-minded idiots who feel they're being "forthright." And she's definitely not an idiot. Intellectually lazy at times, but not an idiot.

I will continue to make the same comment about anything else similar that she posts. And if she tires of me and "un-friends" me, well I will feel I've done the right thing.

Because I like my friend, and would prefer that others not think she's a racist.

Even though she kinda is.

22 January 2014

Hello World. Again

*Tap-tap* "Is this thing on? Anyone still out there?"

So: When we last left Our Hero (Metro, for those of you who tuned in later than 2010) he was living in the wilds of a place I could call Leadbangville, a scenic desertish town with about 30,000 denizens. About that time I sort of faded from view.

But now, looky here: Here I am, writing.

There were a few reasons. I was tired of being the only person on the entire internet with reasoned, well-thought-out, opinions and a blog to express them on. I had a job, one that kept me writing--sometimes as much as several words a day.

And in the end, I have to say I just wasn't sure I felt like it anymore.

And yet, now, here I am again: Writing.

So fast-forward ... Has it really been four years? Mme Metro and I have moved again! Now we're in a place I could call Triumphuz. It's considerably bigger than our last abode. Mme had to move here for her job, and I perforce must travel with her. I called my company and arranged to be transferred ... I'm still driving a garbage truck. It's just that the local office is so big (my last place of work had four people, only two of whom drove) and I am so very not-senior (there are more than twenty drivers alone at this shop, and the most junior of them has a year on me) that I have no idea when I work, what I'm doing, or how much I'm being paid on any sort of regular basis.

Moreover, though I am 100% a union man, the seniority thing means that I may, in the pre-spring slump all trash places go through, not get any work at all.

I brought you around the long way to say that I want to get into the writing game again. And as Raincoaster points out (ad nauseam and whether you want her to or not) blogging is excellent practise.

And look at me: Here I am. Writing.

I'm not sure what to blog about, just now. Pretty sure I want to be lighter on the politics--It was really starting to eat at me there. And don't be fooled. I still feel Stephen Harper is the worst thing to happen to Canada in my lifetime, and have gone from merely wishing he'd go away to being unconvinced that a competent assassin couldn't make the country just a tiny bit healthier again. But the thing is, I DO want to write.

And so here I am. Writing.

I also want to revamp my entire online presence. I currently have at least half-a-dozen idenitites of various sorts cluttering up the internet. This may mean I bring some of them under the Metro-brella. It may mean I post here once a week and elsewhere once a week, and else-againwhere once a week too.

But the important thing is: Look. It's me.