8.11.2005

let's hear 'em: workplace horror stories.

...
(glances at blog)
Uh... ah gee. I guess it's been awhile. ahem...
"Hello!" (anybody?) "Hi."
ok, why not... let's talk jobs.
Shit jobs. Degrading fucking jobs. Jobs... jobs with no social value whatsoever, besides the fact that you exist, that your labour is cheap, and the reigning moral order can't stand the idea that you should exist without 'earning a living', which is to say, calling people at their homes offering them phony vacations, or handing them scottish mints with stainless steel tongs at a restaurant, or parking their cars, or...
This is kind of an open dialogue at pleasure(blog)spot. Let me hear some horrible work stories.
Let's preface this with the illustrious Matt Groening.
Here's mine: now, I've worked a lot of jobs in my time. Well, maybe as many as you, but rest assured: every moment has been altogether too long. I've been ticketed putting up sex posters for dimitri-the-lover@yahoo.com, I've inhaled tons of black shit in a warehouse, I've tried to sell useless services to people outside subway stations, tried the bike courier racket in the dead of Winter, gone door-to-door for a terrific charity, been publicly chewed-out for failing to succesfully bleach bloodstains out of towels, delivered Chinese food on Christmas Eve, (this one time, the dispatcher, who ran the delivery business from her living room, had a minor heart attack on-air... I'm pretty sure it was due to somebody else's fuckup that time)... surprisingly, the best job I ever had was a care-worker for a guy who happened to be parapelegic. You get used to holding a spoonful of soup steady in front of a man's face in a restaurant. And while the guy was an asshole a third of the time, he was interesting (or drunk) the rest of the time.
This story isn't about any of that shit. This is about the shittiest job I've ever had.
thus far. (oh, right! I forgot! It can always get worse, can't it? Ha! Ha.)
For a summer I moved back with my parents and worked two jobs: delivering pizza and working at an upscale golf course. I was a locker attendant. That means: our 'office' was the utility room in the basement, right beside the boiler. Didn't mind being in there too much, 'cos the rest of the basement area was a designated 'rich naked flabby man-ass' zone. And we had all the flabby asses in town: all the used-car salesmen, with their commercials on the oldies radio station, they all used our facilities, pissed in our sauna, drank sleeman's honey brown at 2pm on a Sunday and then drove home drunk before we could call them a cab.
My job was everything, to be everything, to do anything. But there were naturally priorities. At 9:00 in the morning I punch in. I ignore the confirmed neo-nazis that were employed as dishwashers in the kitchen. Most of the morning I am rearranging tables and chairs in the main dining rooms for whatever function is occurring: Elks/Masons awarding a 'Businessman of the Year' award or some such bullshit.
Complications: the building is infested with pigeons. We are cleaning pigeon shit off of the newly-waxed floor. We are finding and disposing of pigeon corpses before the members complain. We are also warned: do Not drag the hundred-pound beverage service, as you will scuff the aforementioned Newly. Waxed. Floor.
Manager walks in around eleven. Shit-eating grin: "Eric! My main man!" I kid you not. Beneath his eyes are sockets of ash: this is a man who hates everything that ever walked or crawled on the green earth. He reads those manager self-help books. Ones with bold titles: 'How to Speak so Others Will Listen. How to Listen so Others Will Speak.' I never had the heart to tell him: nobody listens to you because you are a buffoon and your insincerity is palpable to everyone. It enshrouds you like the scent of death. You are a Disease. You are Gaping Void. Plus one day I went in to clean the toilet, saw his shoes under the stall door, heard a strange 'Fap-Fap-Fap' sound which suddenly stopped: ha! Caught him jerking off at work. Hating him became that much harder. He tried to sneak away after I left, so naturally I ambushed him and requested some time off. His winning smile was more of a winning snarl, but it worked... dude couldn't turn me down after that. Work-wanking is pretty low, I reckon... Kinda ruins the firm-handshake/winning smile illusion, doesn't it?
We got a lunchbreak at twelve-thirty. Employee discount of... what was it? 15% off whatever was in the kitchen. I still couldn't afford it. Plus those Nazis... I didn't know what they were spitting into the food. So fuck it. Eat my peanut-butter sandwich and idly scan the headlines of the National Post, the only thing I ever found in that place that had words on it. (Yesterday's headline: "68% of Canadians in favour of private health care." Today: "We retract yesterday's headline. Should have read: "68% of our subscribers in favour of private health care.")
1:00 to around 6:00 is usually reserved for fulfilling special requests from members, replenishing the footcream dispensers in the locker-room, washing towels, correcting some bungled operation performed by the wank-manager, or other Sisyphean work projects. Once during a tournament we were instructed by wank-manager to move a drink service, with several kegs inside, onto the green. The goddamned thing weighed so much the wheels promptly sunk into the grass. The british lady who outranked the wank ran out screaming (stoicly, natch) about us ruining the green, and to return it to the patio. There were four attendants working on this: we were no sissies, but finally we got it back onto the concrete with some help from employees at the pro shop. I think even wank-manager lifted a finger in the end. It took eight of us.
At around 7:00pm most of the members had vacated the golf course, and had proceeded to get sloshed on steak and scotch or that Sleeman's honey brown. Naturally most had started drinking at the ninth hole. They tromped downstairs, all white shorts boyish knees and bad breath, to deliver us their golf shoes for polishing. "I wanna see my reflection in those!!" Oh, yes sir. How very creative of you to request such a thing. "Hey, boy... there's a shiny coin in it for you." Boy?? "Hurry up, Eric, there are forty pairs to get done and we still have to hose out the sauna and I wanna get home in time for Law and Order..." Yeah, alright, but... boy?? To all rich fucks out there: you're lucky I'm not black, alright? Otherwise...
So I lived beside the boiler, spraying steaming hot water out of a tap, cleaning and polishing golf shoes, mindful of two things: I still have two hours of cleaning to do in the showers, but I cannot start until I'm sure there are no man-asses left inside ready to ambush me. I'm not being overly sensitive about men's bodies... boss left specific instructions not to go in while members were still on premises. "There's been complaints." Damn, when do I get to complain?
Also, there are usually three to five drunk members in the lounge area, making sexist jokes at the ladies tennis game on tv. Throwing out drunks was the only pleasure I got out of this job. Of course I couldn't do it rudely, but in an environment of such pompousness and insincerity, some of the fake folksiness begins to rub off. So check me out: I'm putting down my scrub brush and shoe, joining up with Greg, both of us adopting the Winning Smile-- stolen from our bourgeois enemies! and we go: "Hi Guys! Nice Day Today?" Ha! But they know: we are speaking their native tongue! We are taunting them! "Can I call you a cab?" How 'bout I call you an asshole. But I don't need to, because I am throwing you out!! Whee! This man makes more money than I have ever seen, and he's fucking drunk and can barely keep his eyes open and I am throwing him out. Call my ma and tell her to come with the camera.
Hey, it's a cheap thrill. But all I got to look forward to is cleaning shoes and scrubbing toilets.
My evening usually ended at 9pm, or 10, or 11... sometimes I could get off early to go work at the pizza place. Working there was like a soothing breeze of crisco-perfumed carbon dioxide. Employee discount= 20%! That means 'crazy sticks' are like a dollar-fifty for me. That's almost as cheap as if I had bought the Crisco wholesale. And if I stay on 'till midnight, I get a bonus. And then I get to drag myself home, cautiously smoke pot out my window, and avoid insomniac boredom by playing Dungeon Keeper on the computer. I barely stayed sane that way. That's right... not much in the way of social life. Maybe driving around in my parent's borrowed car, listening to Refused and Circle Jerks. Fun stuff. Very high school.
It wasn't all bad... oh wait it was. Shitstain boss. Following orders when you knew they were wrong. Degradation at the hands of pompous drunks. Smelly uniform. Dumb heat. Nazis in the kitchen. Long hours. Fifty cent tips. Boredom followed by tedium followed by mad rushing around. Getting in trouble for leaving the tv in the lounge on muchmusic instead of the Business Channel. Getting in trouble for flirting with Elizabeth, who was the female locker attendant. (She was lucky... not many female members. She just pretends to clean and stocks up the tampon dispenser every month or so). Umm, what else? Pigeon corpses? Covered that. Did I mention the Nazis? Oh, they didn't like me. I think on my first day, back when the courage hadn't been rung out of me, I asked some pointed political questions. I guess I was planning on performing some solo ARA stunt. Yeah... no.

Check this guy's story out.
Better yet, leave your own story. Let's build ourselves into a good old-fashioned towering Socialist rage. No splitting theoretical hairs, no infighting: just workplace horror stories and red bourgeois blood on a bedsheet, tied to a flagpole. Arrrgh!

1 Comments:

At 2:10 PM, Blogger Dimitri The Lover said...

Actually, my address is dimitrithelover@hotmail.com. Some of the other employees of City Postering were spit on, assaulted, called rude names, etc., so you got off light.

Dimitri

 

Post a Comment

<< Home