Wednesday is the day the body men in my shop line up the repair orders of the cars they are currently working on and stub
. Each has their minimum of hours per week that they like to keep regular. One by one they filter into Tom's office, who writes down numbers on little white tabs, peels them off the sheet and sticks them to each work order. The carbon copies go to Sandi who types them into the computer, applying them to each individual job
The work I do enables my weeks to go relatively fast, since the busiest day for me is Friday instead of Monday. Everyone wants to have their cars ready for the weekend, so every painter and body man knows that Wednesday is the day of fortune telling. We sidle up to each man and wriggle out a time frame from them, trying to keep everyone happy.
It's also the day all the shit seems to hit the fan lately. Last Wednesday we were told that all advances would be taken out within 30 days in full, when for the last 3 years I've worked here we had a relatively unlimited time frame to repay. Today we lost our biggest account and are still mourning.
So I do what I can to get over it. Usually this would be my night for Bible study, but since Maggie, the church leader's daughter, had her baby last week, meetings are cancelled for now. So I'm drinking a mudslide, waiting for Carson to get home, waiting to see if I'm sober enough by then to go out for beer.
On the drive home tonight across the bridge, black women walk swiftly by, their legs crossing one another so softly that they don't seem to touch the ground. Women in sweatpants and bedroom slippers, in flannel shirts and socks. Women who pretend to walk quickly when they know you will wait for them to pass. You will not sound your horn. Crackheads, says Sandi. The neighborhood between hers and mine seems peopled only with crackheads and children too young to be running to streets after dark alone, on bikes or still in their school uniforms. I put Janis Joplin in the stereo. She, like Morrison and Henrdrix, looked older than 27, the age at which all three of them died I believe, within the same year. The drugs must have aged them. That's what everyone tells me. What are drugs doing now, preserving us? Keeping us young and vital? Or are they simply keeping the same age for a longer period of time?
The rain is coming. It came earlier, but not with the wind it does now. I left my car windows down earlier and came home wearing a plastic sheet and a wet ass through jeans. Now paper plates are being thrown as hard as shingles. The numerous cold spots in my building begin to speak up, to connect into a ribbon of movement that ties my balcony door to the front door and that to the downstairs door. I am eager for the weight of someone else to hold me down, like I too would follow the ribbon down the stairwell. Was that a plane or thunder? Too deliberate. Must have been a plane. So I wait.
I wait for hump day to end.