My co-worker, Randy, will sometimes walk into the office at our usual 7:30 a.m., sit at his desk, look at the wall clock and exclaim, "Shit. That hand has to go almost all the way around before I'm out of here." We work from 7:30a.m. to 6 p.m. five days a week in our office, the office of a body shop
. I don't think our own customers are aware of our long hours. They are long because perhaps, we do not have what is known as office jobs
, most of which time would be spent behind a desk. We run around the shop, catching up on the details of our works in progress, following through on every step, from repair to refinish, clean up and delivery. Being that my job is cleaning up dust
, among other dubious details, we are all shod in navy blue work pants and shirts, work shoes and work socks, not to different in attire from the people who do the actual work on the cars, the men we represent as a sort of middleman, or translator
I would say that the blue collar workers we orchestrate have it easy, even though they're the ones who tolerate 90+ temperatures and grueling physical labor in order to provide the daily bread. They don't have the mental anguish of dealing with stupid people, day in and day out; all they deal with are the stupid people's cars. There are days when I even envy the porters, whose main jobs are to do what we tell them (go get parts, drop this customer off, pick this up, move this) and wash the newly painted vehicles. There are days when I wish someone would just order me around so I wouldn't have to think, just be on auto pilot for the day.
But now, Friday has blessed my week and I am home. I see cars all day and I talk to people all day, so even the short drive home is fighting for my own space. When I get home, I don't want to deal with cars, being in them, being behind them, waiting for the ones in front of me to figure out where they want to go. I don't want to deal with people right away either, at least face to face. I'm usually up for a taste of detachment by the time I get home.
I drop my gym bag at the kitchen table, look down at the phone to note that no one called me today. My apartment is warm and dark, so I go from room to room, flicking on lights and fans, soothing my apartment into my presence. I press in the power button to my computer, rest on my bed while it warms up, staring at the low ceiling framed in tacky wood paneling. And I write about how my day went, how it affected me, or I read about how others have done the same thing. I let my mind slow down to fit the cozy surroundings of my humble abode, drifting out past the limited skyline that is framed on every side with rooftops and sodium lights. I wait for night and the temperature to fall, hearing the cars rolling by, the open windows and people in porches, the collective drip of window units all around the neighborhood.
A fitting opening scene for the weekend.