work

Life–Well, It’s A Cheesecake, Isn’t It?

Life–well, it’s a cheesecake, isn’t it? I’m not talking a single piece of cheesecake, no; in fact, I mean a pie of cheesecake. See, you can say you love every flavor in one of those creamy things, but we all know you’re lying. No one, no one likes all those pieces. There’s always the singularity–the missing link, if you would, that we all wish would get the hell out of Dodge, you know?

Life is interesting for me. It has been interesting for me. I work a pretty fair job in the field of manual labor. I’m a regular blue collar, sweeping brooms and wiping out toilets. It’s meh, to be truthful–and if there is one thing I have learned from this job, it is the sometimes nasty truth.

Drugs, for example, are nowhere on my to-do list. Day in and day out, I see people ravaged by constant drug use. Their faces are old, older than their age; and in their eyes is a haze that never seems to dissipate. I can see the blankness in some of their faces, and it is hard to watch at times.

These folks do this for fun, mind you; and, hell, perhaps it’s to find an escape. But, for me to know what it will do to them in the long run…it can be heartbreaking to see someone throw away their potential like that.

I speak from no experience; and, yes, I might also be speaking from a safer perspective, but I am innocent, after all.

I come from a small town where the craziest thing I have ever witnessed is a bleeding lady taken away on a stretcher after her husband’s psycho ex-girlfriend drove her motorcycle into the back of their car. Before this job, before this peek into another life, that was the craziest crap.

I have seen stuff since then. People who absolutely loathe their lives. Temper tantrums that can get way out of proportion. Worms swimming in some worker’s shit, and let me tell you, that was in two different Porta-Potties.

It is disgusting, but at the same time eye-opening. Would I have experienced this bit of life, this slice of cheesecake, if I had not taken this job? Would I be less of an innocent man than I am now? Would I even be writing this post?

The answers aren’t clear. When are they?

Life is a lot larger, a lot nastier. There are tendrils where I used to see sunshine. Adults can be total assholes, immature for that matter; or, they can be some of the best of the best.

A cheesecake? How about a loaded die? I’m serious. You don’t get to choose what happens in this world. The die is rolled–the numbers are chosen, and you either deal with the unfair, or you get out and do the best you can to force those numbers into your favor.

Win-win, or a lose-lose. No way of telling until you’re standing right in front of it. By then, too, the smell can be so bad, you aren’t sure you want to test your luck.

I say do it, but do it wisely. If you’re dumb when it comes to making those important decisions, you’re going to get landed with a nightmare, one of which you have to climb out of yourself to reach those sweet dreams.

Be smart out there, guys. It will pay off.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

An Ice Cream Miracle

Ahhh! It’s so friggin’ late! I might just fall asleep at the keyboard and never finish this post! Luckily, this is actually a normal time to me, since I have to wake up at 3 in the morning, every morning.

So, no biggie.

Alright, let’s get to this posting crap. Uh, okay, I know what I can talk about. Here goes.

I work in a pretty negative environment.

Let me rephrase that.

I work in a disastrously negative environment.

Yes, I sound so much more sophisticated now that I have used an adverb. Kudos to all those who spotted the improvement, and I hope all of you are proud of your being English nerds–even though, adverbs are the simple stuff.

Any who…

Construction sites are not the places most people choose to work, save for, you know, an idiot, like yours truly. They are stinky, for one, and the porta-potties are beyond disgusting–I once saw worms in someone’s–well, their…leftovers. I got the hell out of there and patted at myself for dangerous butt worms.

The workers barely communicate with each other, especially not with other crews. They just listen to their radios and chop wood and saw things and throw garbage away. Some will toss dirty glances my way, for whatever reason. I think it’s because I stink up their potties, but who can tell?

When they do talk, it’s fuck this and fuck that, and I start to wonder whether or not they know many other words than their choice term; although, hey, it’s a neat slang. I bet you could form a killer song out of all their varied combinations.

Then, there came a day, a glorious day, disregarding my being a little in the dumps. I was working in a neighborhood near a beautiful mountain range, finishing up vacuuming in a house, when I heard a cheery chime, those kind you hear at carnivals and on carousels; and so I looked out the window to see an ice cream truck slowly chugging its way up the already truck-infested street.

“Yippee!” I said. Did I really say “Yippee?” Gee, that’s kinda lame…

“Guys,” I shouted to my coworkers, “there is an ice cream truck out there! It’s so awesome! I gotta to go get some!”

Now, understand, we were working in eighty degree weather, so I had good reason to be freaking out over ice cream. It’s not often when you’re cleaning out a piss-stained toilet that you see an ice cream truck pulling up to the curb to save you from the horrible smell.

I eventually convinced my boss to let me go buy ice cream and ran out to the car to grab my wallet–but I stopped short. It turned out I was not the only customer interested in frozen happiness, as there were those grumpy forty to fifty year old construction workers waiting eagerly at the door, with dollars in hand and smiles on their sunburnt faces. The driver greeted each of them in a raspy, yet gentle, voice, and he pulled treat after treat out of his mini-fridge–waving to them as they walked back, licking ice cream and chatting to one another in engaging conversations.

I was witnessing positivity in a climate I thought entirely devoid of such a feeling. The workers were smiling at me when I ran to catch the truck before it left. These grown men stuck doing tough work and, who had, only a moment, been adrift in a funk, watched me with the eyes of children surprised at anything new or nostalgic.

Such a shift in attitude should have been impossible, but with a simple jingle and a cold cone to lick, the impossible was overridden. The mood stayed in this lull until I left the construction site. All of the workers smiling with their teeth, a jovial atmosphere unfamiliar to the location and its residents.

I bought an ice cream sandwich, but the worthwhile part was, for certain, watching the workers turn from men to children in a single minute, just because of an ice cream truck appearing at the right time.

And now I’m craving Rocky Road, so alls well that ends well, right?

Go treat yourselves, why don’t you?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

This Life of Mine

Recently, I have realized how fortunate I am in this life of mine. I have a caring family, a supportive house, food, and clothes; not to mention, I have the opportunity to experience a university and become educated enough to pursue a lifestyle of my choosing.

My ultimate dream? Be a professional goddamn writer, to see my books on bookshelves; but, the truth of it is–all I want is to be happy. I care not whether I have bags o’ money running out the windowsills, or owning the largest mansion in America, even the world.

Material wealth means little to me; granted, it keeps me alive, but tis’ not my lifeblood.

I am able to think those thoughts and dream those dreams, because I live in a place of good fortune, a place where determination is my motto. I will head off to college in two months with the mindset that whatever comes out of these upcoming four years will be taking me the tiniest step closer to where I want to be in this life of mine.

And isn’t it incredible? We all have our own lives, our own motivations, the somethings no one can take from us without putting up a fight. It is will. It is will, and it is confidence. Those are our superpowers in a universe of chance, since all that happens is determined by the roll of the dice, right?

Or wrong?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

The Old Song and Dance

I heard the Mexican version of A Devil Went Down to Georgia today, and I have to say it was pretty impressive, despite the howling vocalist who, whenever the fiddle went into its solo, cried to the moon.

C’mon, we’re talking devils here, not werewolves.

The construction workers had their stereo blasting in one of the houses I cleaned; in fact, right when I walked into the place, a singer did the ol’ ai-yai-yai-yai! on his song. What a way to invite someone into an atmosphere is what I say–that, and the workers were singing loudly along to a couple of the songs. Hey, it made me smile. What else is there to do in that situation?

Some of these houses can be so damn filthy, you know? You’d think if the workers spent half of their energy belting out Spanish serenades, they’d be able to use the other half to not mess up a house after it has been cleaned. We then have to re-clean it, if you did not get the picture. Yes, this includes the bathroom and the basement and the garage and anything else capable of collecting dust and carpet worms, or, those pesky wriggling rug scraps I always seem to miss with the vacuum, which is comprised of a dust bag and a single pole, as if we were stuck living in the friggin eighties.

I have become somewhat of a working amateur, what with my speed at wiping out disgusting tubs in which dirt has engrained itself, as well as the craft–I meant to say craft–of window washing: a wash of a sponge, then a rinse of a squeegee. Simple as pie, or easy as cake–oh, what the hell is that phrase?

You also tend to pick up some Spanish when you’re working around Spanish-speaking folk; for example, I have added la extension and no comprende–what they usually say after I foolishly talk to them in plain English–to my vocabulary. It’s pretty easy to tell, too,   who can speak English fluently, and who cannot speak it. Heavy accents sometimes signify more of a comfort in the classic Espanol than in old-fashioned Americana chitter-chatter–vice versa for the other side.

Boy, can full-time work make you tired. Did you guys know I walk up and down stairs almost all day? It is a job in of itself! Jeez Louise and a bucket of cheese, talk about not getting paid enough. I mean, I’m sure I need the exercise, as I’m getting to the point where the Freshman Fifteen is becoming more of fact than fiction, but come on, people!

Ah, well, at least I have writing, without which I’d be liable to crack, or, you know, go completely nutso.

I hear we’re cleaning a sanitarium tomorrow.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

The Working Life

Guys, I gotta break something to you. It’ll be tough to hear, but here goes…

I…I have a job.

A full-time job, to be exact. I’m a window washer, dudes–no stains stand strong under the weight of my sponge and squeegee! It’s a pretty sweet gig, considering I get to see how restaurants operate before opening time, and I wear a nifty utility belt that would make Batman jealous.

Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-Batm–wait, Batman, where are you going?

To wash windows, Boy Wonder! Screw the Batarangs. I’m off to follow my dreeeam!

We have to wake up early, see, because restaurants can’t be cleaned during business hours. Such a pain, if you ask me. Don’t know why I shouldn’t wash windows and drip water all over the floor while people are eating their fresh food. God, society is so puzzling sometimes.

House calls are interesting. What a way to start a paragraph, huh? They’re interesting. Makes you wonder, don’t it? I wondered today; in fact, I wondered about the cute beagle following me around a house and freaking out when I powered on the Shop Vacuum to clean out the tracks of the windows. I wondered what his owners would have thought if I left with a dog shaped bulge underneath my shirt.

Boss is cool; granted, this is my first job, so I don’t have much experience with the work environment. We can wear what we want. We can eat what we want. We can drink what we want. We can smoke what we–hold up, I think I remember smoking be a big no-no in this job.

No, I don’t smoke–at least, I don’t smoke until I get home. Heh. Get it?

You guys are boring.

I did have my first embarrassing moment this morning, and since all of you are now dying to know what went down, what was so crushing, I shall tell you. I wrecked my shins on a table at Village Inn and almost knocked a pile of dishes on the floor. Yeah, talk about amateur…actually, let’s not talk about amateur, makes me feel worse than I already  do. Of course, it didn’t help when, right after I fell, an old man having breakfast asked me if I was okay.

Well, I busted my shins, cut up my hands, and made a general fool of myself, so…

Getting paid pretty well, so it makes the constant bruising and scratching worth it, not to mention the lifelong embarrassment and anxiety issues forever requiring weekly trips to a family psychiatrist.

Yes, and you said you burst into tears whenever you see a window?

Doc, I told you to shut the blinds! Shut ’em! I’m begging you!

Mm-hm. That’s the life of me, as of now, and likely for the future. Thought you all needed an update, seeing as how social media is just not enough of an up-your-ass privacy invasion. No way. We have to go deep, you see? It’s the only way to go about life anymore.

On another note,

Anybody interested in having their windows cleaned?

I’m a specialist.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

A Nightmare On College Street

It’s beginning to sink in…

You see, college is just around the corner, and I feel unprepared. It’s not as if I’m not ready, which I am; c’mon people, gimme a break! But it is scary to consider there will be no more guiding leash. Only yesterday, my mom was telling me I had to get a full-time job this summer. Geez Louise, Mom, I’m eighteen, it’s not like I can be a functioning member of society!

Eight hour work shift, my ass. I’ll go the full nine yards–yep, that’s me, being the overachiever. Get busy at a restaurant washing dishes, or pile horse crap onto a trailer at some farming store. Sure. And how much am I getting paid again?

College’ll be fun, of that I have little doubt. I’m studying for a teaching degree, gonna educate these high schoolers about the beeuty of grammar–oops, spelling error. I look forward to attaining my degree and becoming a teacher, which will be my safety net while I write stories and send them off to publishers. I’ll teach stuff. I’ll say stuff. I’ll write stuff on a whiteboard. Man, it sounds like the best job in the world, don’t it? Add on top of that a shitload of coffee and–well, you know what comes after you drink a lot of coffee.

Dorms don’t seem my cup of tea. I have heard plenty of horror stories about roommates and their different variations. It’s like someone puts together a Build-Me-Frankenstein doll kit and sticks all these body parts and brains on bare bodies. Yuck, gross image, right? Might have to go wash out the old noggin after that one.

But I digress–God, I hate when people say that–college is not all it is cracked up to be. No…it’s much more terrifying, a real fright for the kiddies. When people leave college, they always say…”I had to ask where the bathroom was on the first day” and, even scarier, “The kid in the desk next to me drooled on my notes.” The horror! Oh, what a monstrosity!

And on top of all that,

I have to pay for it!

Think daily,

A Southpaw