Friday, November 18, 2016

Yeah, Thanks

I am blaming more and more things on the younger generation.

"Every generation blames the one before..." -Mike And The Mechanics

No, Mike, I "blame" the one after, and even more so the one after that, the "millennial" spoiled brats.
Much of the behavior of Travis, my recent guest for 10 days, can be ascribed to the fact that he was born in 1980.

I Knew Them When They Were 16

 In 1996, I was in Florida, working alongside his contemporaries, who would have been 16 and working their first "real" jobs, at that time.

After my friend, John Abel, took over the particular Domino's Pizza place, where I was a delivery driver, he found himself saddled with a staff of mostly black employees, representative of the demographics of his delivery area.

One of these, stared icily at him from where he leaned against something, after John asked that he grab a broom and sweep. He was the first employee fired. He didn't seem reluctant to go, as he found that he didn't like the new manager anyway.

The previous manager of the store, who probably let his employees stand around or lean on things, was being replaced by John due to its pitiful performance under him, compared to Domino's in similar locations.

"I took over the store, and within a week, had fired 5 out of 7 of the black people," said John. Some of them would show up for work perhaps 3 out of 5 days scheduled, taking the rest off without even offering valid excuses, but delivering themselves of frivolities like "My friends are all going to the beach..."

"The only one's that I kept were Janice and Curtis," added John, his chest swelling with pride over having laid the foundation for future success with the firing of those who wouldn't work, and his pride in Janice and Curtis was also evident.

The two had been within earshot while John was telling me about the shakeup, as part of my hiring process.

Their reaction to him telling me about all the other blacks except them getting the ax, was non verbal, kind of a pursing of their lips, which basically signaled their assent to the move. I thought I could read: "They's some lazy ass niggas; they got what they deserve" in their expressions.

Janice was about 19 years old, kind of tall, thin and energetic, having a Michelle Obama (at 20) type physique. She had "very good English," and was looking forward to attending a fine college like Vanderbilt University. She drove to work some days, in an expensive luxury car, owned ostensibly by her parents. She seemed proud of the fact that she actually worked and had thus retained her job.
She made no secret of having a crush on Tiger Woods, the professional golfer who then was on the rise, and on the cover of many magazines, citing his lack of facial hair as a key component of his appeal.

Janice was one of the few girls who worked the phones who would ask me to give her a ride home after she was off work. The phone girls were all pretty much between the ages of 15 and 19 and, as such, by Florida law, could not work past a certain hour on school nights.

So, after the girl's shifts ended, they would usually grab a ride with one of the delivery drivers whose next delivery was taking them in the direction of their homes. Or they would wait for the next delivery to be ordered to nearby their home which is earmarked for a less creepy delivery guy.
This usually meant that Terry, the 60 something year old that drove a beat up pickup with a sticker for the local gospel station tacked on the back and the station that it represented tuned in and preaching through his speakers, was pretty much the designated phone girl drop off guy.

"I ain't gettin' in that car," said Amy, a 15 year old white girl of German descent with hair dyed blond once, after she had gotten off work and I was about to deliver a pizza to just about her next door neighbor.

I was living in my car at the time, and I could understand someone having the feeling that they were coming into my bedroom when they got in; and the fear that there would be some kind of reviling vestige of my spending so much time in the car, like a 2 liter Coke bottle half full of piss, from that night so cold that I didn't want to get out of my sleeping bag, rolling out from under her seat and bumping her ankle after I hit the brakes somewhere. Or, like, where do I stick my gum?

I could especially understand a 15 year old girl such as Amy having that fear.

The white girls at the store, in general, seemed to view the opposite sex materialistically. If I were to approach one of them to ask a simple question like what the time was, I would read in their deportment a communication of: "Are you hitting on me?" and some of them might just hold up a hand as if to say "stop!" and walk off without even giving me the time.

I thought that this was a "Florida" thing, at first.

I had moved there from Massachusetts 3 years prior, and immediately noticed that particular mindset. I soon even wondered if, had I had been struck by a car and was laying dying in the road and a carload of teen aged girls arrived on the scene, would one of them say something like: "He's ugly, let's just go..." So focused they seemed, on the opposite sex as a means to a material end. Another 15 year old phone girl, named Julia, said that she fell asleep every night with the movie "Pretty Woman," on a TV in front of her. As soon as I see that movie (and they have it at the Goodwill) I might be able to add to my psychoanalysis of Julia.

Amy would eventually become more comfortable with me; and then about 5 years later, after I was out of the automobile owning game and living in the woods, I would run into a guy who was still working at that store, who would tell me that Amy was messing around with crack, losing weight, not looking so well, and that even myself speaking to her, as someone who at least cared about her, unlike her new crack smoking friends, might help.
But, Janice would ask me for a ride home after she got off work, walking out with me with her head up, as if to show the rest of the girls, who gave her studied looks, as if thinking that it might be their last time seeing her alive, that she wasn't afraid.

It was almost as if she was trying to set an example for them about being non judgemental.

Curtis, was a stocky guy in his mid to late 20's, who was ex-Navy.
He too, evinced no shame over having been singled out as an employee worth keeping.

I suppose I am postulating that education and/or military experience are character enhancing, and perhaps the only hope for the children of the future.

I was leaving another Domino's which was in an upper middle-class area which was white enough so that a black man in the area might be stopped by police and asked if he needed directions, because he seemed to be "just driving around."

I was coming to the aid of John, whom I had worked under at that same store, which had fallen into disarray after he had left, as a means of getting myself out of that situation, and to help him try to turn around that store in the "Arlington" section of Jacksonville (Jacksonville is divided, if in name only, into about 15 different "parts" such as the "Goodby's Creek" area that I was leaving). He wanted to bring in known commodities, such as myself; an honest employee who wanted to work a lot of hours, didn't care when they were, had only missed one scheduled day of work in over 12 years, had the ability to memorize a map in a relatively short period of time, and who's friends never went to the beach.

Someone born in the early 60's.

So, seeing Travis, my recent guest for 10 days through this lens, and factoring in that he was born in 1982, yet saved somewhat through having been educated, helps me to understand him, to a degree, excuse the pun.

A Key For Kay

Kay Meurer, on the other hand was probably born closer to 1972, and the way she booked my couch 6 weeks in advance and then balked at the mention of her not having her own key, makes her seem like a pretty selfish person. She had had 6 weeks to ask all the important questions and get a pretty good picture of what the arrangement would be.

After we had met in Starbucks (for less than 3 minutes because she seemed to be in a super hurry to make it to her "runners meeting" at the restaurant) and I had helped her flag a bus down, which she got on, I noticed that it was not the bus that ran exactly to the Who Dat? restaurant. She had been in such a super hurry, not wanting to be a minute late for a runners club meeting, that she just caught the next bus to come along.

I texted her: "That bus runs parallel to Magazine; ask someone where to get off to walk to Who Dat; will be about 3 block walk."

She texted back: "Yeah, thanks"

At first, I thought that she was genuinely thanking me for helping her to get to her meeting, but, as the night went on and I had gotten no further messages from her, I started to read between the lines.

I had been the one to say: "Here comes the bus!" when one came into sight. I assumed that it ran by the Who Dat restaurant, or to within 3 blocks of it, and that in either case, it was her best hope of getting there in time for the meeting.

I'm sure now that, after having found out that she was going to have to get off that bus and then walk a few blocks, and probably having been told "You should have taken the (other bus)" by a well meaning fellow passenger who was unaware that, had she waited for that bus that was going to take her right to the restaurant, she would have most definitely been late.

"Yeah, Thanks." Thanks for putting me on the wrong bus; it was your fault that I was late; and I'm not going to rent your couch now.

The impression that I got from her was that she is a cold, calculating person who is impulsive only as far as those impulses serve her. There was something telling in how she had almost smacked me in the head as she spasmodically waved to the bus driver.

When we had been (briskly) walking in the direction of the restaurant with her in the lead (which was stupid because she wasn't planning upon walking the 3 miles to the place, and was going to catch the next bus, so, why walk any of the way at all, when you only add the risk of seeing the bus pass by when you are halfway between stops?).

 I mentioned Travis, my recent guest, in trying to explain how we had worked things out.

"I thought it was a Russian girl," she snapped back with the alacrity of a professional interrogator. She hadn't gotten all the memos and updates of my situation, due perhaps to spotty email delivery.

"She showed up with a big Labrador dog..."

"I didn't think you could bring dogs from Russia on a plane.." she said, without missing a beat.

All I knew was that she had showed up with a dog, but am not well versed on airline regulations, so I just shrugged.

Later that night, I talked to Jerry the Cook, who informed me that you absolutely can bring a dog on a flight from Russia ("in cargo") as long as there is documentation stating that it has had its shots. Jerry even had a job once where it was his responsibility to make sure "poodles" got where they were going at Louis Armstrong International Airport.

She asked me if I was going to play that night.

I told her that I planned to play, even though it was a Thursday night.

I started to tell her that I try to go out every night and at least play for a couple hours, and started to add "That way, I can at least say that I worked that day..." and heard an almost accusatory grunt from her after the word "say." Her mind was running a mile a minute, so that she was finishing my sentences in her head, I guess.

It was as if she felt she had caught me in some kind of deception, as if the sentence that I hadn't even finished yet was to be "At least that way I can say that I'm a musician, and (perpetrate some kind of fraud; perhaps use it to lure victims to my apartment).

I explained that, even if I play for a couple hours and don't make anything, I can still "say" that I did my part -I worked; I contributed; I honed my skills.

This was to no avail.

I think she probably works for the F.B.I. or maybe even at the huge federal prison that is in Minneapolis, I believe.

That would explain her sketchiness about talking about her home town, and the way that my e-mails to her seemed to have been subject to some quirky filtering, and the way that she was "all business" and how talking to her was like being interrogated, etc.

Her apparent sarcasm in thanking me for having put her on the wrong bus, and the fact that she probably had no "runners meeting" to attend but probably one with another prospective renter, after having offhandedly dismissed the couch that I had kept available for her these past 6 weeks.

She seems like the type who would call 5 cab companies and hop in the first car to arrive and then let all the others show up for nothing, knock on her door, wait, and then leave, shaking their heads over the time and gas they had wasted. And Kay wouldn't bother to cancel the other calls. "Not my problem; that's part of their job. I'm just going to make damned sure I'm not late."

The Silver Lining

It occurred to me that I may just have been spared a nightmare of a guest, even if only for a 4 day period. This was probably a blessing in disguise.

Yeah, Thanks.


alex carter said...

She sounds like a real PITA and I think she saved you a lot of trouble.

Daniel McKenna said...

Yup, she would probably have made Harold stay outside for 4 days so he wouldn't dig his claws into her tote; or would have said that she was entitled to a discount because I hadn't disclosed the fact that I had a cat; maybe even threatened to report me for subletting my place if I didn't comply...I'm sure she is one of those Republicans who are disgusted by the "entitlement" mentality, just as I am, but can't tell that from looking at me...

alex carter said...

Entitlements from free food stamps to trade for weed, a free apartment, free health care and dentistry etc., are treating you well. So you should at least be consistent and thing the entitlement mentality is great.

I look down on "gimme" scum like you, but at the same time, if we can't take care of our lowest and grossest, then what kind of a society are we? I say, take care of our scum! Keep them healthy, and provide easy to access birth control, drug treatment, education and clean needle programs to keep diseases from spreading, etc.

This is where the Republicans are very wrong. Clean needle programs and drug education are indeed a gimme, but a gimme that does tremendous good for society. Because diseases don't just stay in at the scum level, they tend to percolate up into the middle class. Scum who are stoned and sick and desperate do indeed share the same roads with decent people, whom they will rob, crash cars into, etc.

Things like methadone programs, clean needles, education, mean that less scum get onto drugs and those scum who are on them, are much more likely to get off of them. Less crack babies. Less opiate-addicted babies. Less babies overall from that portion of society we really don't need more babies from.

Just like a typical Republican she wants something for nothing. She wants a cheap place, the kind you can only get from scum who are illegally renting out their gov't housing, but she doesn't want what comes with it: Unexpected pets, filth, and the chance of being assaulted by either the scum or the scum's buddies who come reeling in in the wee hours. "Hey, is that your girlfriend, bro? Great, we'll all have a turn".

As mentioned even myself, making far less than this gal does, would simply save up for a real hotel, or if push came to shove, go to the India House Hostel which is at least legal.