I’ve turned into one of those guys that bitterly mutters things under his breath all day at work while watching the clock tick tick tick until 4:00. I wasn’t always like this though.
Much the same way I got every job I’ve ever had in my life, through networking, I finally ended up getting a job. I had an interview on a Wednesday and was working the following Monday. Exactly one-thousand and thirty-five days after being laid off from “Square Records” I started work in a warehouse.
To say the adjustment getting back to work was a little rough would be an understatement. Actually scratch that, it was easy going back to work. After a few days though, I was physically exhausted beyond what I had felt in years. My job is a physical job, doing work that doesn’t require that much brainwork. After the first day my hands and wrists felt like they were going to break off. The third and fourth day I was on my feet for eight hours straight. I could barely stand by the time I got home. I thought “I bet this is what it’s like to get off heroin” or what Nelson Mandela felt like.
After working in the music business for most of my life, I figured getting a normal blue collar job would be an easy adjustment. Here I am a couple of years later and I spend forty hours a week hating every second of my existence. The job itself is easy, mindless work for the most part. It doesn’t matter what I do for work, or where it is. What does matter though, are the people I work with.
When I started the job there was a small group of guys in their early twenties, a couple of them right off the bat rubbed me the wrong way. One of them was constantly coughing and spitting phlegm into the various trash barrels around the warehouse. The other guy was just plain dumb. I kept to myself for most days and just listened to their conversations. “Reagan, he was around like in the 60’s right?”, “Patrick from Spongebob is kind of a dickhead”, “Obama used to sell weed”, etc.
Over the next few months newer kids would start working there, the majority of them were hired because their parents knew the owners, or were somehow connected. They would work during breaks in school, the summer and the occasional day here and there. Most of these kids were young, Massholes-in-training. Everything was “gay” (bad) or else it was “bomb” (good) One day I flipped out on one of them telling him to stop saying everything is “gay” In retrospect, who am I to tell people how to talk, especially since I rarely have any kind of filter. And I’m usually joking.
One thing a lot of people might not realize, or want to admit, is how racist every white person really is. You get any group of white guys together for an extended period of time the conversation is eventually going to get racist. One time they told the story of driving down the street and calling some black guy a nigger out the car window and laughing about it. In 2011. Upper-middle class white kids who wear camo baseball hats, chew tobacco and like modern country music. Good old Americans working boys.
One day my friend who got me the job recommended another of his friends a job there. He was closer to my age and apparently really into music and craft beer. I could care less about beer, and even less about craft beer, but the idea that we may have an employee that like me, knows every verse to “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” was enticing. He was into stuff like Guided by Voices and Dylan and “good music”, with an encyclopedic knowledge of those artists. Most of the time though, he wore headphones, presumably to drown out the constant barrage of racism and “gay” talk. On a couple of occasions he flipped out on them and it was extremely funny and uncomfortable at the same time. Thankfully he was there for the brief time he was as well as one of my best friends’ younger brothers. He was in his twenties now and worked alongside me for the time he was there and we had a great time listening to hip hop and making fun of these other fools. There is also a younger guy there that works alongside me now who is into music like Rush and Iron Maiden. I think he is maybe twenty years old, and is a great kid. I still feel disconnected to a lot of these kids since some of them I am double their age.
The other thing about all of these kids: They’re all future serial killers. Talk of killing animals is the norm. Everyone owns guns and has killed various animals; sometimes on hunting trips, other times just for the fun of it. One particularly gruesome story told was about a rooster that was making too much noise in the yard (who has a rooster in their yard?) so one of them hit it with a bat, another one slit it’s throat with a knife. AMERICA.
For the last year or so there has been a former policeman working there. I’ll call him “Frank the Cop” Frank the Cop is a former cop who was injured on the job, had to retire, got addicted to pain medication, worked at a couple of different strip clubs and DOESN’T TAKE SHIT FROM YOU FUCKING KIDS. He works alongside the twenty somethings in another area of the warehouse but when you turn the music down a little you can hear him in all his glory. He talks and talks and talks all day. They ask him questions like “Frank the Cop, who do you hate more blacks or Hispanics?” He immediately replies “oh, spics” He talks about getting his dick sucked and Chinese food and tittie fucking and movies. Frank the Cop knows about every movie ever. Except he doesn’t really. He knows about the last nine Clint Eastwood movies, that kind of shit. He’s the kind of guy that will go see a Denzel Washington movie in the theatre in 2013. For whatever reason Frank the Cop is allowed to just kind of come and go as he pleases. Some days he just won’t show up, no call, no text, nothing. Some days he leaves at 9:00 AM, comes back an hour later and then leaves at noon. He’s pretty much the reason you don’t like cops if you don’t like cops.
The bleak days there are tough to deal with forty hours a week and I find myself burning out fast. A low paying, dead end job at my age, surrounded by people I wouldn’t associate with outside of there is tough to swallow. Having a routine is comfortable, it numbs your brain. Most days though it belittles me and makes me feel like a failure. A series of bad decisions, depression and no motivation brought me to this place every day and I need to escape it soon.