When I was a child I remember visiting Greece and being offered pistachios at someone’s home. The package said ‘Product of Iran’. I remember thinking if I should even be eating these with the sanctions and all that. I was an odd kid. They were at least twice as large as the pistachios back home in the U.S. and 1000% times as tasty. So how about sending some pistachios my way Iran?
Slowing Iran’s weapons capability is great too but––pistachios.
I hung out with her at that job. She was so anti-establishment and fight the power but in the end? She has been at that same job for the past 17 years. We thought that they gave her a choice to join the ‘man’ in order to survive those layoffs–––that was probably not true. She kept her head down and they looked over her even after she was so vocal with us about the cuts that lead up to the layoffs but she shut up when the shit hit the fan and she is there now. She probably imagines she is fighting the power still–––but with a regular paycheck and health insurance.
Bonus story:::::She borrowed the X-files DVD box set from someone. She kept for long enough that she was given an ultimatum from the owner. Buy me a new one or give me my property back. She told anyone who would listen how embarrassed and stunned that she was spoken to that way. It still took her weeks to get it back to the person. The whole thing was fucked up. DVDs scratched the booklets water damaged, torn with pages missing.
The owner of the box set was angry. I had lunch with the borrower once after that. She really had no idea why the owner of the box set was angry. Not a clue.
When I was a kid we were in Athens at my Aunt and Uncle’s apartment.We were there for the night and were going to go to an island the next day. There were three families in one tenth floor apartment. All of us kids were in one room and we were supposed to go to sleep. What it turned into was a ‘Lord of the Flies’ situation. If anyone nodded off the rest would wake them up. There were cups of water involved at one point and punches in the arm. It made me twitchy.
At some point in the night we all passed out where we stood. I had managed to claim some space on a cot and my cousin jammed her way between me and the wall her knees on my back.
At about 4am there was an earthquake. Some of us jumped up and others slowly looked around trying to figure out what was going on. It seemed like it was going on for minutes when it probably lasted seconds.
My immediate reaction was that someone was trying to wake me up again.I took a swing at my invisible tormentor. I ended up on the floor trying to figure what the hell just happened when my Aunt came running in to the room to make sure we were all okay where she found me on the floor.
To this day my family thinks that the earthquake knocked me out of bed. I wanted to correct them but everyone had such a good laugh out of it that I hesitated. Plus, how do I explain that I was trying to assault my cousin?
I started my career doing temp jobs. It was a great way to get experience and see a lot of what kind of jobs were out there. In the past 15 years I have managed to romanticize that whole period in my life. Everything was so interesting and I was learning so much. It was great!
I am temping again and there is a part of it that I covered up for all these years—it is totally debasing and humiliating. You parachute in to a situation and no one has the time to sit with you and give you any kind of guidance. You want to come in and do some good work but it never quite works that way if it is any kind of job more complicated than stuffing envelopes. Your co-workers keep you at arms length which guarantees that there is no warning that you’ve messed up until it comes.
I was pulled in to a conference room today and told that I just disappear daily (that’s called lunch) and they knew it was slow but I was not doing enough during downtime. It hit me like a punch.
I had a career and I had confidence in myself and what kind of job I could do. I don’t have that anymore. I wanted to say fuck off and walk away but it has been a rough couple of years for me financially. I need this gig so I apologized and grovelled. I will show up Monday and try to do a better job. I don’t have a choice.
I romanticized temping before because I was meeting people and learning new and cool stuff. I didn’t want to remember this feeling. It is the feeling of powerlessness. You want to tell them to fuck off and that they can’t treat you like this and that they should have given you some warning but you can’t. You have to show up even after being called out like that because you need the money. You don’t have a choice.
One of my favorite poems says that ‘Success is counted sweetest by those who never succeed…’. Someone needs to write a poem about people who have succeeded, lost it all and are feeling powerless again. A feeling that they thought was long forgotten.