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Archive for the tag “blue collar”

The Warehouse of Brand New Dreams

Urban Lumberjack 02

In my favorite picture of me, I look like classed-up shit.  Or maybe just shit on the outside, and class, invisible, on the inside.

Either way, it’s me.

I’m told I look skinny.  But I must make up for it in ways not seen by the naked eye.  And get your mind out of the gutter, right now.  My kids could be reading this, after I’m dead, of course.

In the thoughts that went through my mind between that last paragraph and this one, I realize how many things I’ve written that I know won’t see the light of day before I’m gone.  Things I’ve written that are so honest, they even scare me when I consider the possibility of making them public while I’m still around to reap the consequences.  And not things that are acceptable between consenting adults, but things that a lifetime of reinforcement cause me to share only with myself and the blank computer screen.

I do hint at them, in poems, mostly.  Sometimes in song lyrics that only have music playing inside my head as I write.  Regrets about the past.  Fears about the future.  And how many people I’ve hurt from there to here.  As a writer, I know it’s assumed that everything is fair game, especially those things that you’ve lived through and survived.  But most of them are an embarrassment to me, and I will probably keep them locked away for safe keeping, until I have made peace with them in this life, or am at peace in the next.

This evening, I had my daily talk with one of the drivers who come in and out of the warehouse with freight and parcels headed from point of origin to destination every day.  I’ve known him my entire time here. I was the one who spotted the heart attack he was having back in ’09 while he sat in a chair waiting for his truck to be loaded up for another run.  There’s a closeness between folks when one recognizes the looming mortality on the face of the other.  Mortality that could just as easily be your own face as his.  On this day, he was stunned when I told him that in two weeks, when I finally work my last day here, I will be leaving just three weeks short of nine years.  Nine years as, essentially, as a blue-collar temp. 

He’s been here for sixteen.

Today, we talked about all the drivers and warehousemen we’ve known, and how much each one ended up hating the work they did.  The same work he and I have done.  By the end of our conversation, he asked me if I regretted the last nine years, on the road and in the warehouse.  I told him that without those years, which seem to have passed overnight, and taken me through a lifetime’s worth of trials that, without it, I would have learned nothing, had nothing, to show for my fifty-some-odd years on this earth.  That seemingly, all the lessons I’ve learned in my life came to pass in these nine years, doing something I hated, just to survive.

And that in leaving I know, looking back, this was exactly where I needed to be to understand anything about where I’m going.

A couple of days ago, I posted something on social media that went like this,

“I used to call this place The Warehouse of Broken Dreams. No more. From this moment forward, I call it The Warehouse of Brand New Dreams.”

I’ve got two weeks to go until I step out of here and into an unknown future that these last nine years have prepared me for.

And maybe then I won’t be afraid of the all the honesty I’ve kept hidden in this life, while there’s still more life to be lived.

More to follow.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

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DIY Life Coach

nano do as I say

 

It’s November 14th, 2015.  Tomorrow marks the half-way point for what I, in the past, have mocked harder than France secretly mocks Jerry Lewis.  Yep, NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month.  A time when normally shunned people rise up from their nerd coffins and attempt to make the internet explode.  A time when the average blogger, cyber reader, or Bloody Awful Poet tries to post more in one month than in the previous twelve months combined.  I’ve known bloggers who, following participating in NaBloPoMo, have taken ill, quit jobs, lost relationships, and otherwise simply dropped out of society.

Having said that, here are a few observations I’ve made through the first two weeks of this self-inflicted Blogmageddon…

Observation number one.  Contrary to popular myth, THIS SHIT IS EASY. 

I used to look at regularly published posts as something to be feared… even dreaded.  Like uncompensated on-call hours for that blue-collar job that you make-believe is SO COOL, but is really just a life-suck that pays a lot closer to minimum wage than your used car salesman of a boss is willing to admit.  Putting your shitty life on hold for a few weeks to write what amounts to three chapters of a bloated Stephen King novel is chump change in comparison to sitting on your ass waiting for a drive from LAX to Culver City for twenty bucks… minus the gas YOU have to pay for out of your own pocket.

Life lesson number one.  Work sucks, but we all need the bucks.

And posting everyday breaks up the monotony of being insulted by working a ninety-hour week, and having the guy who signs your paycheck tell you, with a straight face, that you really only worked a fifty.

Observation number two.  You don’t know what complaining really is till you learn what complaining REALLY IS.

People in France have a right to complain.  Not blue-collar workers in Los Angeles.  Not blue-balled bloggers in their mommy’s basement.  People with real problems have a right to complain.  While “hard is hard”, some hards are harder than others.  Bitching about blogging, much like bitching about your job, means you have one… and possibly both.  Blog or don’t blog.  Work or don’t work.  Blogging every day has taught me that if you can do it, and choose to do it, you give up your rights to bitch about doing it.

Life lesson number two.  Quit yer bitching.

And yes, I mean ME.

Observation number three.  In a month that has taught me more than four years of high school, thirty years of marriage, and fifty-four years of life, here it is.

Do what makes you happy.  If that means blogging every single day for the rest of your life, then do it.  If that means working a job that doesn’t allow time for blogging… or for that matter, a life… then do that.  And if life gives you the clarity and the opportunity to know and do what you love, then jump the hell on it and ride it hard off into the sunset.

Life lesson number three.  Oh, fuck!  There IS NO number three!

Just do what I said.  Because, for once in my life, I’m going to.  Whatever that entails.  Which, at the time of this writing, I have no idea what it is.  But I’m going to find it and do it.

So ends day 14 of that hashtag that changed my life, forever.

 

© Copyright 2015 Bill Friday

Colored by Neon

Sepulveda Tunnel c 2015 Bill Friday

Sepulveda Tunnel c 2015 Bill Friday

 

So, you know that feeling you get when you wake up at noon following a 24 hour day, the day… and night… and day before, and all you want for breakfast is coffee and cookies?  Yeah, or as I call it,

“Nano Poblano… DAY 3!!!”

I, like most of the people reading my Bloody Awful Poetry, work for a living.  I say “work for a living” like there’s any such other way.  Sure, there must be poets who are trust fund babies, but I’m not meeting them.  I work like my dad worked, and his dad before him.  Blue collar.  Dirt under nails.  Underpaid, but consistently so.  My work is in a warehouse, and on the road, as a deliverer of things that not even UPS or Fed Ex can.  I work in the middle of the night, when most of the world is blissfully ignorant of deadlines and dispatchers looming like the nightmares the day folk share when I’m on the clock.  The hours are long.  It is dark, but mostly well-lit.  And the dirty places most people think of as ugly are beautiful when colored by neon.

But this leads to bad habits.

You can catch me at 4:45 am, washing down tortellini and meatballs with a can of PBR, trying to crash before sunrise so that the distractions of the day don’t ruin any chance of a normal “night’s” sleep.  Or you can picture my breakfast, at noon, of chocolate chip cookies and the blackest coffee, just so I can make it to the shower before life starts, too soon, all over again.

So, about that trust fund.  Anybody got one of those they’re not gonna be using?

The rest of my bad habits are in my poetry.  They’re well-documented, however thinly-veiled.  I tell myself I’m going to remove them from the interwebz one day, but I never do.  Maybe because I want them there as a reminder to myself.  A scrapbook that most people reserve for Facebook or Instagram.  I blog my bad habits, in the form of poetry and prose, for often-too-curious minds to see.  It’s my scrapbook, left open on the living room table of WordPress, for all to see.

Alright, you’ve been warned.  This month’s posts will not be a series of fluffy bunny rabbit pictures, or how-to tutorials on nail and cuticle care.  This month’s 30 consecutive posts will be about the places that I hear and see before you do.  The ones in my own head, that I let out a little at a time.

Because, “…the dirty places most people think of as ugly are beautiful when colored by neon.”

© Copyright 2015 Bill Friday

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