If there has been one constant in my, uh, "career", it's been that i have mainly toiled in the world of manual labor. In fact only once have i ever held a job that didn't involve me lifting shit or unloading trucks or moving furniture around. And while i may have been the most well-read guy on the loading docks that really amounted to fuck-all when it came to earning a living wage, except of course at the Big World Bank Machine, where i did eke out just enough to subsist on after a few years... of course there was that "other" career i had which was quite lucrative but there is a whole other series about that, this here is about the legit jobs that i've spent time at over the years. And so it's no surprise that i'm once again working a gig that while it does involve a modicum of mental acuity also involves more than it's fair share of physical effort.
In a nutshell (again) my gig goes something like this, find a batch to pick, or in my book (and i'm guessing others as well) find the easiest batch that pays the most. Problem is there are many quick fingers out there and one cannot dwell on the batch too long or it is gone, picked up by another modern serf in the gig economy. Now like most gig economy jobs there are rules and rights but that usually entails having to call the home office, wherever the hell that is, and arguing your case that this was actually a heavy order (weight wise) and deserves the whopping $2-$4 dollar bonus, which if you've ever called the home office could take anywhere from ten minutes to an hour, time probably better spent just doing shit so you can get done and get on to the next one. In my case i usually just get on with it as that i'm a big enough guy that lugging eight gallons of milk up a flight of steps, while a pain in the ass, isn't all that undoable. Besides i've become quite adept at quickly scanning and picking profitable batches. On good days i easily average over $20 an hour, which sad to say is the most i've ever legally made per hour.
Of course the gig does bring me into contact with the general public and this can sometimes cause an issue especially in a pandemic where we are supposed to be wearing masks. Let's just say if someone is not wearing a mask or wearing one on their chin like a fucking idiot, they may get a gentle or maybe not so gentle reminder to put one on or pull it up. On a normal day i mainly talk to no one but the people who work at the stores i work out of and after a six months of this a good portion of the employees know me. They help me find shit when i need it and for my part i'm not a dick when the order changes so i actually put the stuff back where it goes instead of tossing it anywhere which is something i've witnessed from a few of my fellow serfs. Or like a character from a James Kelman story, it's nice to be nice. Unfortunately though, with the general public, this is not always the case.
And so it was the other day as i pulled into the parking lot of one of the stores i work from, a large BMW with tinted windows almost slammed into me. I kinda threw my hands up and said what the fuck! but couldn't really tell who or what was happening in the behemoth Beamer. I thought nothing of it and parked and then i heard someone laughing, it was said fuckhead from the Beamer standing next to his car and staring at me. There is something about my working class roots and Rust Belt upbringing that i have a hard time shaking, mainly being when some dick in a Beamer is giggling my first thought is to walk over and knock him the fuck out. Which, i can honestly say crossed my mind, you see i always think it's quite amusing how brave people are when standing 30 yards away but find their nut sack tends to shrink a bit the closer i get to them. I stopped and looked back for a second and then thought, fuck this idiot. I didn't say a word or give the flying V i just went about my business. No use wasting time. Of course the blue collar kid in me kept thinking this asshole thought he was someone special because he drove a fancy car and was going to work out at LA Fitness but then by the time i left some 35 minutes later he was gone... to which i thought, what kind of workout is that?
It didn't take long for humanity to rear it's ugly head again in fact it took just an hour or so. This time as i waited to check out. I stood patiently in line while the cashier girl hit the buzzer to call more people up front to ring. I was next in line when one opened and the woman called me over but as i began to step towards the lane a guy who was behind me in the general queue suddenly thought he deserved to jump the line. Not having lost all my quickness i made a quick step and cut him off and began unloading my cart, he mumbled something as he looked at me and i very politely said, is there a problem? i do believe you were behind me in line but if i'm mistaken please feel free to correct me. He then put his head down and shuffled off to another line and it sorta dawned on me that, shit, maybe i was growing up? There was a time not that long ago where that would have been my second fight of the day but here i was acting like a civilized human. One could go so far as to call it progress.
The universe being what it is i'd be remiss to say that though i deal with a fair amount of shitheads these days i'm am equally greeted with random acts of kindness and general goodwill. Even after the checkout lane fiasco, as i went to speed away to deliver the goods, i began to pull out, the woman next to me did so as well and i stopped and motioned her to go, she then smiled and waved and motioned for me to go instead, she smiled broadly and mouthed the words "go ahead". It's the little things, as Hank once said, that can push you over the edge or as kono once said, keep you sane. It's the people leaving snacks on their porch with signs saying, thank you for delivering my shit, please have a snack. It's the envelopes taped to doors with extra cash above the tip on the app showing their appreciation. Yeah some people suck and complain about the minutest of things but there is a balance to things, the yin to the yang, one just has to remember to keep the mind clear and they eyes open so they can see it... or as i like to say in keeping with that yin and yang... namaste motherfucker.