I just returned from a company picnic
. Bland hamburgers
and Coors on tap
. I sat on a folding chair and didn't talk to anyone, didn't stroll over to people I see everyday and say hello to their plump wives
and well-dressed kids
who were helping themselves to squirtguns bought by the General Manager
's secretary for the event. Every car in the lot was either a demo Expedition
or F150. Three Harleys lined in a row. Cover band playing Brown Eyed Girl
, Play That Funky Music White Boy
, and Me and Bobby McGee
. Mechanics wearing their wedding bands
for the first time since the Christmas party (they tend to cause people to lose fingers
in this business, in more ways than one).
I work in the Body Shop, the ultimate lowest rung of the dealership hierarchy, which may be why I've been working there for two years; I relish working with underdogs, men who get dirty and do more than change out parts and kiss the service manager's ass all day. The men I work with are the genuine article, real for all their ignorance of modern life. You give a body man a computer, he'll look up porn sites. You don't give them a book, you give them a magazine with models in them. And that's just fine with me. They don't understand why a girl with an English degree and no kids yet at the prime age of 24 would do what I do, and that's fine too.
But upper management are so beyond me that I've long since given up on them. They actually try on occasion to figure me out, since I am articulate and jaded like they are, because I can clean up so good for a company function that they barely recognize me. But I don't give them much of a chance because my philosophy of life prevents me from seeing these people as having any recognizable soul. I see them tarry about their cars and condos and connections like these are the things that will give them the satisfaction they seem to continually crave. I see them in monogrammed shirts with cufflinks taking credit applications from one impoverished young couple after another, trying to sell a world view that they feel every American should want and does, according to our regional success.
I work in the area people come to when they perpetually wreck their over-priced bundles of joy, so I get them with their pants down, when a caring voice and a willing ear is just what they need and is found in the least likely place. What I do seldom involves cheating people or talking down to them, so I see it as a job that won't cause me to crush the guilt I may initially have if I was a salesman.
The upper management comprises a large portion of people, either those who worked to get there or those who wish they were there already. They are the people I make fun of and think myself better than, people with no soul but a great credit portfolio. People with kids too early and paunches and nagging wives and ex-wives. I wonder if, when they hit fifty and look around them, will feel that they have really lived a full life. I just don't see how it's possible.
In the words of Henry Rollins : "If we were in the jungle, they'd be in the pot and I'd be stirring." Rock on, aging rock icon. Rock on.