My days begin at 6…no, 6:30. (I am notoriously difficult to drag out of bed.) What really matters is that we have to leave the house by seven, because there’s a bus to catch at 7:30 and it’s a couple miles’ walk to the stop. I *could* sleep in a little longer and catch the DATA 10, which goes right by the house — but I always opt for spending the extra time with My Fella. Whom, for the record, I love more than sleeps. (For anyone who knows me, THAT MEANS A LOT AND IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL.)
So that’s the first leg of the trip. The second is the brief ride to the station, where I disembark and wait for bus #2. There’s about a 20 minute gap between the arrival of bus #1 and the departure of bus #2. Sometimes I sit outside and savor the peace and quiet. Sometimes I go inside the terminal and hang out in the bathroom, which is a hive of activity.
Women style their hair and apply makeup — there are a lot of high schoolers who take the opportunity to vamp up their look before homeroom; I wonder if mothers realize that there’s no point in telling your teen not to leave the house “looking like that”? They gossip, either with one another or else separately, on their phones to other friends. (There’s a lot of comparing stories, even when all parties eventually conclude that yes, such-and-such boy’s no good for nobody, while so-and-so else thinks she’s something but ain’t.)
There’s quite a bit of singing and using phones like microphones (for the aspiring prima donnas) or transistor radios (for the shy). And some use the stalls like mini-churches or confessional booths, making their daily affirmations or talking out their troubles. (This morning, one young woman proclaimed, “OH THANK YOU LORD F*CKING JESUS MY SAVIOR,” then apologized profusely to said savior for using profanity in His presence.)
Eventually, bus #2 arrives and everyone shuffles on. I don’t think the DATA 12 is the most depressing route in the transit system, but it’s a strong contender. It drags its overstuffed belly along the highway, huffing and groaning. Occasionally it does a loop through the back roads, wandering like a stray dog through boxy, particle-board apartment complexes.
Eventually, I disembark at Meridian, which is a standard-issue office park built on top of a swamp — the herons still haven’t gotten the memo, nor have the frogs — and threaded with a vast network of rape trails. Upper management likes to spend their hour-long lunch breaks power-walking the trails. I just sit at my desk and shovel a small Tupperware’s worth of leftovers down my throat b/c taking a break means I’d have to take a later bus…which would add an additional 45-60 mins to my workday.
The substance of my workday is fine, even interesting. I like what I do. My real worry is that by doing it, I’ve closed a lot of doors on myself: my work is a different kind of librarianship than most people practice — how could it not be, when our founders invented a product that had never before existed, in a category/market that no one had ever really considered? — and that would count against me if I ever needed to find another job.
Hiring managers are not especially imaginative. Outside of the sub-minimum wage sectors, no one hires raw material. I was lucky that my company decided that they’d hire and train me to do the highly specialized work they needed someone to do. (I would not be able to get my own job, if I were applying for it today; I would not even land a callback, let alone an interview. I am not even kidding.) I’m also lucky that I haven’t been replaced by an algorithm or a couple of interns. Or maybe that’s not luck — it may just be economics: it likely costs more to hire developers to replace me with an algorithm than it does to replace me with an algorithm, if that makes any sense. (As for interns, I side with most of my relatives: if nobody wants to pay for your labor, you must be a pretty $#!++y worker.)
Anyway, that’s my day. I reverse my morning commute, more or less, and get home around 515-530. My Fella arrives slightly later, or much later, depending on his work schedule. So I take the Boxhound out, feed her, make sure the rest of the animals have what they need, and then either look around and assess the chore situation or prep for dinner.
My Fella is the cook, tho’ sometimes I’ll speed up the process by chopping vegetables or boiling water. We eat dinner, then sort of collapse on the ‘couch’ and enjoy not having to do anything…except that 10 mins later, I realize that I DO have to do something: work-work, freelance work, committee work, homework for night school…there’s always something.
My life is all work. I have 1 full-time paid job, 1 part-time paid gig, 1 full-time unpaid committee, and 1 part-time time-suck that feels like a job that I have to pay for. Plus, household chores.
So yes, there’s a reason that my brain makes exactly three ontological distinctions regarding the physical world: sharp objects, blunt objects, and cords.