‘The pink opaque’

Surprisingly, all the muscle I once had in my chest has loosened and now feels like a boob when I cup it in my hands.

The kids lost or broke all the cell phone chargers, so we ordered more from Amazon and the cat slept in the box while we drank and took pictures of her by the fire.

We watched the first Terminator movie and mocked the old technology, and then I made Lily watch Gary Numan and Flock of Seagull videos. And I told the story about turning the clocks back when I was fresh out of school, my first temp job: a plastics factory where they made cheap picture frames, those blocky cubes that come in all sizes, and cut the webbing of your hands when they shoot down the assembly line.

I was late getting there because the directions were bad, and the factory was in the middle of nowhere, intentionally, as it spewed toxic fumes and looked broken down and Appalachian, like they were trying to hide something. And they referred to me as The Temp when I arrived and no one asked my name, I just got on the side of the belt catching frames as they spit down the line and stacked them in boxes.

There was an old, round clock on the wall but they hadn’t turned the hands back yet and every time I looked at it I was reminded I had an hour more to go than I thought.

My friend Mo and I sat on my apartment floor drinking: a Monday night, so she was off from the bar, smoking and ashing in a coffee cup. Mo was short for Moira, Irish, with a host of issues that only grew worse and more complicated with age. She spent the night often but we weren’t romantic per se, just lonesome. And somehow between the two of us we decided I shouldn’t go back to the factory in the morning, so I called the temp agency voicemail machine and left a dramatic message about the conditions there, comparing it to the film Silkwood, and then Mo and I stayed up late and slept in the next morning.

The rain is general now throughout the region with the snow level coming down and the rivers going up, and I spent the afternoon browning beef and drinking beer with my shirt off, barefoot on the back patio cheering in the rain with my fist in the sky shouting ja voll! I haven’t showered or shaved since Friday but got a lot of work done and took a few naps.

Dawn pointed out the rainbow and it’s true, that little bit of color and mystery really helps this time of year with all the rain and gray.

Those kind of temp jobs are going away, or gone for good. I listened back to a recording of a guy I interviewed for work, who corrected a colleague of mine by saying, in the future robots won’t need to be programmed by humans, they’ll learn all they need to on their own.

Categories: humor, Memoir, technology

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

15 replies

  1. It’s been awhile since we’ve had a good image of you doing something manly while shirtless. But not sure what to think now you’ve thrown your boobs into the mix. I feel like Eberhard should have been in that scene somewhere.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Love the Terminator / job interview tie-in.
    And here’s another dollop of synchronicity: one of my summer jobs was night shift in a plastics factory. (No Mo tho’).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. and my temp job was in the foreclosure department of a bank where it was so depressing. ah – you’ve triggered a memory and a future post for me! thanks –

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah, no insights into plastic manufacturing for me – my jobs as a youth were all to do with measuring old ladies for corsetry and weighing out bacon at a deli counter (going home smelling of meat was the worst!) But I love your observations, love the fact you dumped the job after a day and that you’re saluting the rain and the onset of winter. One question – did you keep in contact with Mo and if so what happened to her?

    Liked by 1 person

    • My friend Loren has kept in contact with Mo. She moved to our neck of the woods and lived on a house boat, sadly got disconnected from her daughter I think, some other troubles. Sad case, great human being. Thanks for asking…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks to turning the hands back the sun now sets in New Jersey at 4:48. Twist and shout.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “The singularity” is such a benign expression for what it actually means, don’t you think?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I ducked out of a couple of temp jobs–picking daffodils in Puyallup in a March storm, and on the assembly line boxing up Panasonic stereos, back in the day both of them. Never went back to either after lunch break.
    Here’s to knowing the worth of our time now Bill!

    Liked by 1 person

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