The lost boys and girls. The six of us who worked third shift were not invited to meetings or parties. No one sung Happy Birthday to us or bought us a cake. We were the forgotten souls that haunted the trucking halls after everyone went home. Yes, I know what it is like to be a ghost.
There was a certain level of mad freedom that came with working this late shift. For all of the rules were nonexistent for us. They disappeared in a poof of smoke once the day people left to continue their real lives.
No internet? Sure (until the boss left).
No music? Of course (until the last car drove away).
Scheduled breaks and lunches? Yes (whatever).
Before I began this job I used to consider myself a good worker, trustworthy. But when thrown in an occupation I had no interest in, I seemed to be a lot more questionable than I ever imagined myself to be. It seems I am somewhat a rebel. James Dean. Marlon Brando. Go figure.
We did have a supervisor, but we rarely saw him. There was a good reason for this actually. He was having an affair at the time and checking in with us was one of his excuses for meeting up with his mistress. I never had to answer a call and make an excuse to his wife (who, by the way, was home with a baby), but other employees did. If I did ever get his wife on the phone, I am almost a hundred percent sure I would have told her.
The mistress was a secretary from the day shift, and oddly in that office this affair was not too surprising for me the longer I was there. Right from the first day sitting with Marian I could sense the amount of flirting going on around. In many ways it was like an uninhibited high school. No teachers or parents here to tell you no! And we night owls knew everyone’s secrets. Continue reading →
For two years I had the awful song “Convoy” stuck in my head. I hummed it as a I went into work, sometimes sang the chorus out loud on the drive home, and had even been known to mumble it under my breath while walking down hallways.
[On a side note, did you know the creator of that song is Chip Davis? For those that don’t recognize that name, he went on after that success to create Mannheim Steamroller, which was formed on the bad notion that 80’s synthesizers would sound great with classic old instruments like a harpsichord… and then put it to the test with Christmas music. It’s astonishing the amount of musical torture that man has to answer for once he makes it to the pearly gates.]
My wife was in graduate school, and it fell on my shoulders to pay the bills and the rent. We had just moved back to Michigan from Los Angeles. On the day we arrived back in my home state there was a major power outage throughout the region. I made a joke to the movers that our return must have caused it. The movers actually believed me (thinking I did something with a plug, I guess) until I explained it was a joke. That failed joke moment, as well as the power outage, were both foreboding signs for the two years ahead that my wife and I should have taken.
While I thought having an MFA in writing from one of the best writing schools in the country was pretty awesome, most businesses didn’t agree with me. Actually, I could see the expression of confusion cross over employer’s faces each time it came up and I had to on numerous occasions answer the question, “Why are you here?”
A very good question, Mr. Employer! Of course, a better question I have tried to answer since then is where does such a person with such a degree belong at all? Continue reading →