Archive | December, 2011

Returned my uniform yesterday

28 Dec

R. says as long as he likes me, and he does—I can work with him every day this week. I ponder the thought and begin planning how busy I will be with my real job tomorrow. Probably so busy I won’t even get to go outside I say aloud. When I get home, I’ll check my e-mail and let you know for sure this evening. It’s feast or famine this business.

I’ve finished almost the entire bottle of water and I can tell R. is getting a little miffed. Either that or he is tired after a busy day of deliveries that will surely be followed by another two weeks of busy days; followed by another 20 years. But, at least we’re outside, he reassures himself over the blower motor. The blast of hot air from the engine compartment reminds me of O. I miss him in all his incompetent splendor. He was a good guy.

The company has a strict policy regarding sexual harassment. They didn’t tell us what it was, just that it is very strict. After three days of riding together, you learn a lot about a person whether they tell you or not. As R. pondered just how great our communication would be in three days if it was already this good today; I was getting sentimental over O. My first driver. I guess you never really get over your first. They’re the ones who teach you how to do things for the first time. Right or wrong, you’ll always remember them and compare their ways to the ways of all those who follow. Beyond that, there’s a trust established when you are forced into a new or potentially dangerous situation with complete strangers and come out alive.  Just like the driver helper group initially bonded over our common need to find a job and found ourselves gathered around a table just like Thanksgiving Dinner I felt myself thrust into the great brown world of logistics—it’s sustainable don’tcha know.

O. and I established a higher level of trust than most by the second day. He had no sooner confided in me that his boss was no less than requiring him to have a better day and entered the code for the gate when a car zoomed around us activating the only one car per entry mechanism that sends the boom gate—the wooden thing that goes down at railroad crossings and airport parking and apparently, this complex—into action. There was no time to respond. We went barreling through and the thing came down a lot more violently than I ever expected between the force of the big, brown truck and the forward movement. It cracked like lightening over the passenger mirror. I closed my eyes and leaned to the left as far as possible while covering my face with my right arm. It dragged alongside the outside of the truck until it finally dislodged itself, broke off and fell to the ground with a hollow thwack. Apparently, this was not going to be a better day.

Jesus! Are you okay?! O. shouts and unbuckles himself as soon as we have come to a safe stop. I’m kinda stunned but fine. Your face! Let me see it, he laments and reaches cradled palms toward my chin, lifting it up to his eyes. Not a scratch. Did that scare you? I’m really sorry. No, no. I’m fine. Really. He gives me little signals that he really is a good dad and a caring person but this is something more. We sit there smoking for a minute before O. makes the call to his boss. We’re going to be here for a while if you want to snack, he says pushing gently past me to exit on my side. I’m still buckled in. I don’t understand how you eat so much and stay so thin. Well, there’s not much room to pack it in so I eat often. Do you want some of my almonds and apricots? Girl, you know I have a toothache and you’re offering me that hard-ass shit? It’s all I brought.

There was a time I would have taken that personally but this is not it. I know he is suffering. He plays it off but I am beginning to wonder if the reason I didn’t hear from him on the fourth day is because he got fired. The damage to the truck blended right in with the other scratches. Apparently, live oak is just as strong as whatever that non-splintering material in the gate was. Thank god there was no shrapnel, O. thinks to himself so loud I can hear. Could have scratched her face up bad. The security guard for the complex shows up and assures O. that he will be getting a bill in the mail for $150. O. shrugs that off too and seems confident in the knowledge that the company will pay. I’ll be a witness if you need one, I say. There was absolutely no way you could have stopped. That car came out of nowhere and cut right in front of you. At every subsequent gate, I look into the mirror for him as he enters the code and give the all clear.

Advertisements

SDH Pt. 10 – Where it turns into to something else all together

27 Dec

I’m not paranoid. I’m OBSERVANT! I shout silently—impudently and hop in the truck. A quick flash of me in a candle lit room on a table under a white sheet caresses my brain. It’s 45 degrees and R. won’t let me shut the door because it sticks and I have to struggle to open it fast enough. I feel that if I practiced, I would eventually get better and faster but he insists. I’m not cold. I feel a heat radiating from my core and pat myself on the back for being centered and maintaining my power zone. The way they explained it in training there are “right ways” to practice delivery driving and logistics. According to the company videos: stretching, breathing, eating healthy and taking part in relaxation are all integral to maintaining a long, healthy and prosperous future at work and at home. Or maybe I inserted that last part.

In the interest of full disclosure, the story you have been reading is 100% true. I think. Mostly. I mean it’s my version of reality. I will admit to you that I am parting my veils a bit for you right now. This is the part of the story where I tell you the kind of things that drove my husband so mad with desire he actually questioned if they were true.  I assure you they were not. Totally. I mean some of them sort of happened but not really and then those got mixed up with the ones that were not just true at all. So, hold on. We’re going for an exciting ride and it’s going to be fun. Well, at least for me and isn’t that what it all comes down to when you hear me moan your name in voice so deep you know it’s coming from that spot just below my navel. The spot you love to bury your nose in. Your hands around my hips, your fingers pressing into the firm muscle of my upper buttocks. I whisper, “What is that called again?” Into your ear and you reward me with an audible shudder. I make my breath hot and say more. This time I’ve altered my tone and all you can hear is how much I want you in every deeper confession.

“I like it when you bite my neck. I think it’s a button. Yeahhhh. When you do it right it releeeases tension and ohhhhh, yessssss. That’s the one. Oh myyyyyy.” More hot breath, more confessions, more pleasure exchange.

“Do you see where this is going?”

Yes.

Do you want to try to push my button?   MMmmhmmm.

Obstacles are the whetstones upon which creativity and resolve are sharpened.

26 Dec

SDH Pt. 9 – Where I ask myself, “How many parts are there going to be?”

24 Dec

I dumped my water out while I was using the restroom at Big’s (Read: Valero). I made eye contact with myself in the mirror. I told myself I was not paranoid. If there ever has been a bigger better to be safe than sorry moment in your life, this is it. This is your chance to live to tell the tale. To be the smart chic in the horror movie who makes it out alive but still somehow unfulfilled. I pour my bottle of water in to the Smart bottle, noting that my hands are steady and I feel completely in control of every circumstance I can be. Splash some water on my face and prepare to face my fate.

It occurs to me that if this were a movie, I could make it as sweet as possible. I’m beginning to wonder if there was a little something in that water because I’m actually fantasizing about it. Well, the lead up to it anyway. I imagine he fulfills my every dark fantasy. By dark I mean the dysfunctional pleasure response created by the thing I was lead to believe was love as a child. The thing I named love as an adolescent. The gateway drug that became an addiction in my teens. The intense emotional experiences  I created in my twenties. The dissatisfaction I felt in my early thirties. And whatever this thing I’m doing right now is because they were all THE best thing I ever felt at the time they were happening.

Even the bad parts—you know the ones that even though there aren’t really any bad parts or good parts; there are just parts—you still kinda wonder what that really means? Even though you KNOW that to be true, still you doubt? Yeah. Even those.

SDH Pt. 8 – Another day, another $32 after taxes

22 Dec

Here, I bought you some water. Drink up, R. says. What a guy. Not one of my other drivers has even offered me a drink. Luckily, I brought my own after the first day of being without for two hours. I did have gum, which is the only thing that made it tolerable. Not running is thirsty work.

We’re getting along great. My pet peeves are his pet peeves. It’s Smart Water he says—even better for you than just plain water. Yes, I say. Thank you. It tastes great. Out here in the country the drive ways are more than long, they’re distant. He drops me off at one, drives to the next and then turns around for me. Don’t worry he says, I’ll always come back. It really had not occurred to me that he wouldn’t. Something makes me feel grateful that I texted my location or at least my last location to my friends before I hopped in the truck. Beware of dogs! He shouts as he rolls away.

It’s kinda creepy navigating through the overgrown bush of the wild places in peoples’ front yards out here. It’s also almost exactly how I would choose to leave my land if I had some. Lush, native with little to no “improvement”. I feel an uneasy comfort approaching the fenced in exotics many locals keep as pets or game. Zebras, Oryx (a sort of long-horned antelope), llamas, ostrich and the spiral horned goat-looking thing that rammed our car at the drive-through zoo a couple years ago. Texas: It really is like a whole ‘nuther country.

R. does return and compliments me on my graceful three-point entrance with a caveat. Can you speed it up a little? Sure, thing! I say, wondering if my other drivers felt the same way. Please do let me know if there is anything else I can do to help you out or improve what I’m already doing, I add. Oh, I’m pretty outspoken, says R. yet somehow I don’t really believe him. He startles when I laugh and rarely makes eye-contact even when he is not driving.

I’m thinking we’ve already had some pretty deep conversations when somehow, we get on the topic of religion. R. wants me to know that he is a repressed Catholic boy. His words. I begin to wonder where this is going when he asks how come I’m not drinking my water. I really should be. It’s a tall bottle – maybe 32 oz. and I’ve only made a dent in it around 1/8 of the way down.  Oh, right, I say and grab the bottle instinctively, already falling into my normal pattern of obedience and control in the presence of a tractable male. It’s comfortable here. In fact, I feel so comfortable and safe that even as the lip of the bottle touches my lips I can’t recall if the lid snapped when I turned it off the first time. The text of a little yellow sticker flashes through my mind—Do not consume if safety seal has been broken.

Did it snap or didn’t it? I can’t remember! I’m starting to feel sleepy just thinking about it. Is that his plan? I wonder how many of us have gone before? But he’s a delivery guy, they do background checks! How would he maintain a career and a normal life? They always do. And they’re the nice ones too. The ones who get along just fine with everyone. The quiet ones. He was a great neighbor—never a bother. What a tragedy.  Who’d have guessed? All these years he’s been luring seasonal driver helpers out into the country, drugging them into the back of his truck and driving them home like a COD who didn’t answer the door.  You never know what’s going to be inside, but it’s got to be good.

Holy crap! I’m driving around in the middle of nowhere, TX with a serial killer! Suddenly, time slows down to a crawl. I feel very, very calm. All I have to do is stay awake. He’s not aggressive, at least not yet. He probably won’t attack unless I’m unconscious. Okay. So, no more water. But, how do I maintain the façade that I am drinking it and Jesus, God I am SO very thirsty all the sudden. I have mine own water in my bag in the back but how would that look? I take little sips and hold it in my mouth for a while hoping something in my saliva counteracts the sedative before I swallow. Thrity-six more stops before break-time he announces me out of my thoughts. I don’t’ know about you, but I have to take a potty break! Oh wow, okay maybe he is human after all. The other two never even mentioned it.

Of course he’s human. That doesn’t mean he’s not a serial killer. They hire these seasonal helpers en masse. One or two could easily go missing. They’re just the type no one would miss either because they’re the ones who are always doing something just a little out of the norm. If he starts to ask me about my family connections, I’ll know he’s researching. The problem with that is even though I love my family dearly and they love me right back they would absolutely not question my absence for at least two days before beginning to inquire. By then, I could be buried in this guy’s backyard.

At least he’s nice. I mean, if you’re going to be heinously murdered I suspect the experience could be made as pleasant as possible by a caring killer. He seems genuinely interested in my “real” job. Raised his voice for the first time all day when he exclaimed, how COOL it must be to do the thing I do. To get into the minds of my clients and give them exactly what they want, even when they don’t know what that thing might be. Well, at least that’s the goal, I respond quietly almost modestly; secretly thinking wow, this guy really gets it. I’m probably glowing in the dark. I’m definitely smiling as we pass by the bank of mailboxes in one of those incredibly weird sub-divisions where all the houses are packed tightly next to one another for a few miles surrounded by vacant land again, and again, and yes. We ARE driving in circles.

SDH Pt. 7

21 Dec

I have the weekend off to nurse the whiplash inevitably caused by living out the motion of being rear ended over 200 times a day. Thank god because Day 10 is a freak show. My driver says to meet him at the Big’s off of 46. You know where that is? Yes, I say, I know where that intersection is. The big gas station on the corner? Yes, that’s the one, he assures me. It’s noon and he says maybe he’ll need me around 2 or 3 or maybe 4 o’clock. I’m hesitant because foul dude was sort of just as indecisive and I’m already getting the vibe that packages will be thrown and doors will be slammed so I make a note to braid my earplugs on a string into my bun. This one is far out of town, a solid 40 minutes from where I live and we’re already on the outskirts.

I’m getting used to gearing up in my Browns and hanging out working on the computer for hours while I wait for them to call and say meet me in 15 minutes at Blank. I don’t like to be late. I also don’t like to live up to the stereotype that women take forever to get ready. But, with a mane of Texas-sized hair to tame, I need a minimum of half an hour to shower and get out the door. More if I need to pack a lunch.

Around two, R. calls to say he’s ready and we should be out until around 8 p.m.  Great! I say, thinking how nice it will be to  be gone for the nephews’ nightly bedtime ritual of screaming, throwing fits, getting really thirsty and then wanting to give hugs and kisses to everyone they just gave a thorough beat down to. There is no Big’s on the corner. There’s a big gas station. It’s called Valero. I drive past thinking maybe it’s a bit down the road and there’s another one. It’s also called Valero. I’ve been on the road for 40 minutes. I call the driver. He doesn’t answer. I pull over in a subdivision and plug Big’s into the GPS. It says there’s one about seven minutes away so I follow it, waiting for R. to call me back. No call. Around 3:30 I’m back at the intersection he originally said to meet him filling up my tank at the Chevron across the street from Valero. I only use Chevron. Valero gas is like cool-aid – great when you’re a kid and all your mom can afford is a flavor packet and couple cups of sugar. As an adult, there’s no substitute for high-quality fuel. And if you don’t put crappy gas in your car, why would you put it in your body?

This is the conversation R. and I are having after he finally calls and clues me in to the fact that Big’s IS Valero and I hop in the truck with him after texting my location to a few friends. Everyone in TX knows Big’s is Valero, he exclaims with a hardy ho, ho, ho even though it’s nowhere to be seen on an actual sign. No, see it’s on the DOOR. Oh yes, about 12 inches high. Clearly visible from a parking space right in front of the entrance. Apparently, just another I’m not from around here moment.

R is rotund. There is no better word to describe him. If you looked up rotund in the dictionary, R’s picture would be there. He’s a redhead too with preternaturally preserved pink skin and a child-like gaze that I simultaneously adore and find hideously creepy in a nearing 50-year-old man. He tows the party line like the other two. Been here eleven years, love it, wouldn’t trade it for the world. Couldn’t really since I’m vested now and they work us around 12 hours a day every day with no lunch so the only thing we can do when get home is eat and pass out and do it all over again the next day. I quickly recall foul dude’s emphatic, I have a degree after telling me that he entered soon after high school and never left because the money was too good.

But back to R. He’s dreamy. Polite. Soft spoken. Communicates where we are going next and what my role is. Asks questions and gets lost but ultimately finds his way and never, ever throws a package. My question is: How in the hell do you work somewhere for a decade and still not have a clue how to excel at it? I’ve been with three drivers whose experience totaled the entirety of my youngest sister’s existence. Three different types of people. Three different approaches. No uniformity. No organization. No training? I have to think they must be thrown out into the world just like we, the seasonal driver helpers were. I’m beginning to question the logic of a company that has made seemingly zero improvements to a system that IMHO should include state of the art dispatch. Instead, there is an sadly  out-dated DIAD that weighs about a 120 pounds around one foot outside the driver’s regular range of motion causing him to lean out of balance while driving and put his back, not to mention his hand at risk for repetitive motion injuries.

Why doesn’t a profitable company whose sole function is to deliver packages have the most awesome bouya baby get it there gadgets the western world has to offer? Why aren’t its driver’s—the humans behind the machine—getting lunch instead of working through the pain and ending up that fat dude with toned and tanned legs? I wonder what the risk of heart attack is among them. I make a bet it’s disproportionally high.  R. nods. When did it become standard operating procedure for a hard-working American man to sacrifice eating for his job or for anything for that matter? R. and I agree it’s a shame people easily understand that a car won’t go anywhere without fuel but still think they can deprive their bodies of vital proteins and nutrients and continue to live a high-energy, disease-free  life.

SDH Pt. 6

20 Dec

Day 9 – I think O. may have called in sick for his tooth because I haven’t heard from anyone and it’s 10 a.m. Or maybe I shouldn’t have texted him that picture I took of him all proud in the back of his empty truck at 7:35 the night before? Oh well. Maybe this new driver will have his shit together on the very first day.

One o’clock rolls around and I get a call back. Will we be stopping for lunch? I ask, thinking I should probably eat before I leave anyway since breakfast was at 7 a.m. What? Yeah. Lunch? He responds as if I have just asked him to rub my back before I’ll accept any packages. I should have eaten more than half a peanut butter sandwich. This would be my most challenging day. The dude was foul from the start. Had me meet him in a residential area and then wait outside the gate with no code to get me in. Barely shook hands before telling me his was two hours behind and took off before I even had both feet in front of me in the jump seat, much less a belt on. I almost got back into my car after the first neighborhood where he proceeded to not just throw packages like O. had done but speed pitch them into the corners of the truck with a hearty, GODDAMMIT! when he could not find a particular address or worse found one that he had already passed. That happened several times within the first hour. But, I figured you know, everyone has a bad day and even O. had a few bad days there at the start. Let’s give this guy a chance.

Bad idea. About half way into my shift I want out. He is not anything like O. Who, despite his disorganization on the first day, welcomed my help in the back of the truck and even thanked me for putting packages in order as I looked for the one that had gone missing. He cusses incessantly and when he’s not driving at least double the speed limit, he is slamming on the brakes so hard I fear for my internal organs. The jump seat was plenty comfortable for my posture before, now it’s a torture device. Instead of going to the rear to find the next box when we stop, he is texting and talking on the phone. He texts while we drive 70 mph down the not a lane, half way in a half way off the dirt in the median to the place where he unloaded half of his truck and coincidentally where all the missing packages have gone. I text my friends and family when I get dropped off. Glad to be alive.

At some point during this day, I think to myself there is no way this is worth $8.50/hour. And then I think, what is? I mean, here I am outside in the sunshine getting exercise on a day when I would otherwise be stuck in front of a computer pounding away at a publication. Granted, I would be getting paid four times as much but I have no work right now so in reality I would be surfing for dollars or shopping for that new bike and not actually any making money at all.

I’ve always been a hard worker, just out to earn a decent living. My first job was on the weekends at an insanely busy donut shop. I was 15. Granted, at the moment I’m sitting here snacking on some Chex Bold Mix, downing a couple Shock Tops to ease the pain on the second level of my sister’s kick ass house in a desirable zip code but what do you think SHE did to get here? Any guesses? Anyone? Bueller?

She WORKS. She works for the same reason I always worked. Because we knew we had to.

She didn’t get here by protesting and she didn’t sell out her dreams to work for the man 9 – 5 Monday through Friday in some dead-end paper pushing soul crushing job where she would never see her kids either. She got here by deciding what she wanted and going after it and all she ever dreamed of doing was being the best mom ever. She not only pursues her happiness, she accomplishes it over and over. Day by day her dreams come true and are decimated by a car payment, revived by her spirit to carry on and do it all over again the next day only to be stripped by a single trip to the grocery store to feed three hungry growing boys. Her hands are nearly crippled from grasping and reaching and grasping and reaching in a surprisingly similar occupation to the one I’m only toe-deep into and griping incessantly about.

But, that’s another story.

Or is it?

%d bloggers like this: