Tag Archives: THAT girl

Call for Help

4 Oct

You just barged in

On my glass-faced

50’ bamboo shoot

With permission from

Your uncle, the baker

Closed down up top

Schools out

Foods on, the table

Turned legs up

For liberty

You sat in on my sit in

Trampled my tiles

With your horse feet

Cut up besides

Boracho barbers

I can hear the chewing

In my sleep

Advertisements

Living the dream

10 Apr

So, I know this guy and whenever you ask him what he’s up to, he says: “Livin’ the dream.” And he smiles this sardonic, sarcastic smile that reminds me of the scar tissue on a bleeding ulcer. But it’s true for him. He is living the dream of the typical American – work hard, make tons of cash and save, save, SAVE for retirement. Except he works so hard at working that he has zero time for a home life where things continuously and predictably fall into disrepair. He works so hard at working he has no time to eat or exercise so his body falls into disuse and disease. He works so hard at working that his family sub-conciously creates disaster crisis scenarios for him to fix because that’s the only time he responds to their pleas for attention. And every day is a crisis because the guy is a genuinely good guy and people want him in their lives.

He thinks himself different than most because he practices austerity. He fixes things. He knows how to cook a good, healthy meal for his family and he does so on all the very special occasions or very nearly. He buys things with cash. He has no desire to wear the latest trends or sport the newest ride. But he’s no different from anyone who ever mouthed the words, “I need to be financially stable to feel secure.”

What does that mean exactly? For me, it means cutting my expenses to the point where I know I can get a job anywhere, anytime to meet them and gaining the experience to do whatever job might come my way. To him it means $300k a year. To you it might mean, $56k but the fact remains you’re putting a numeric value on security. Security which by every standard of American living in the last century was all but guaranteed to you if you “worked hard”.

So what is working hard?

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.

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.

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?

SDH Pt. 5

19 Dec

Day 8 is a great day! So says, O. who unlike yesterday is fantastically organized, in a happy mood and muy prepared to kick some bi-lingual azz. We even have time to stop for lunch. AND eat it. This is the first time I have ever used the restroom on the job. For being on the computer so much at my “real” job, I am surprisingly energetic. On this third day of actual work running back and forth from the truck—I mean walking at a brisk pace back and forth from the truck—the only thing troubling me is my right pinky toe and the heel of my left foot. I’ve stuffed some cotton in my eight-hole Docs with the original Air Ware heel pull loop and classic trans PVC DMC Air Cushioned outsole and am feeling pretty keen about actually doing work in them after a couple decades of just wearing them for fashion’s sake.

There is hardly any time to talk and it’s loud so O. is definitely not experiencing the full force of my sarcastic wit. Once we’re on the road, it’s all business. We’ve exchanged pleasantries of course. He’s been with the company nine years, straight outta high school, loves it, hates it, has a plan to retire at 50 and move to the beach. Has a gf and a couple baby mamas. Loves his two kids. Is from San Diego, but not that one. It’s a little like flying right seat in an aircraft. You stay quiet and let the pilot focus unless he asks you for help, especially during take-off and landing which in one of these trucks is about every 30 ft. The first day, my worst pain was in my thumb from all the clicking and unclicking but it’s the law and it’s also a safety rule so it is done fastidiously and by everyone without fail.

Tonight marks our first after dark delivery and it’s a little scary. NTR: Well-lit addresses on the sides of mailboxes get high marks from these guys. I’ve learned to appreciate the finer details of a home on approach.  Lighted door bells are underappreciated by the general public. BTW, as a straight path to the front door as can be made is going to happen whether you create one or not.  O. goes easy on me, taking deliveries on his side of the truck whenever there is one; handing me a flashlight and all the packages down the steps so I don’t have to figure out how to maintain three points of contact with my hands full. 248 stops. Not including the last one I made to CVS to pick up the Epsom Salts I longed for during last night’s bath.

It’s a bone-chilling 42 degree sunset after an enjoyably active sunny day. I don’t know if I’m going to make it back tomorrow but O. reminds me cheerfully that on this night we have seen some spectacular Christmas light displays. The once-cold and uninviting windows warm up to a golden glow when the people come home and inhabit their spaces Thomas Kinkaid style. The city lights sparkle and I feel like a princess in my brown polyester uniform presented with cache of precious gems: emeralds, rubies, sapphires and opals in a black velvet lined box. I say so. You know, you can close that door O. says after a noticeable shiver that had nothing to do with the cold. We both slide the heavy floor to ceiling doors with a satisfactory metallic CLATCH after the last stop and enjoy the heat from the engine coming through the vents in the sparse dashboard that includes a fabulously retro push button starter. It’s not the only thing old school on the truck. We silently cruise out of what is most likely the premier planned development in the city taking in the views on the way down. Put it this way: Even I recognize the names and I don’t watch sports.

A gigantic guard-tower looking thing appears between rooftops and hovers over the horizon in such a way that I can only gasp and say, what IS THAT? O. senses it must be something cool since I have been mostly dismissive of the ginormous, over-sized, why the f&*K would two people want to live in a house that big, been there done that castles on a hill to the point that we’re both kind of disgusted by them. I can tell we’re both feeling a tad self-righteous about driving around delivering Santa’s packages by the way his head is perched on the top of his spine. Can we go? I ask, almost pleading? Yeah, let’s check it out. I’ve never been there before. I’m slightly concerned that it’s going to be a house and I’m going to have to own it immediately because it is just my thing—a three-story Spanish mission style guard tower—sigh, home sweet home. Thank god it turns out to be the NDOs (residential group mail boxes). What a joke!

It reminds me of my last apartment—third floor on a mountain preserve overlooking multi-million dollar homes. I pick out the tiny one on the very top that turns out to be the club house. But, I’m in no mood to ponder how the decadence of western civilization will inevitably lead to a water shortage or how the mining companies are buying up rights and will ultimately profit from that too. We are FREE! And the air coming in the windows is crisp and clean and flushes our cheeks like starry-eyed lovers serendipitously thrown together by a dramatic but completely over-comeable life challenge culminating in a financial windfall followed soon after by a major land purchase we vow to be stewards of and immediately begin to dig out passive rain water collection burms, build an earthship, apply for conservation status and invite schools to field trip at our home; educate the children, get a tax write-off and all at once finally feel that this is what it means to be alive.

%d bloggers like this: