Going Postal: Day 25

superfly.jpgDay 25: Going…Going…Gone Postal

My paycheck was not waiting for me when I arrived at work, on time, and ready for my tour of duty. Needless to say, David Walker was not a happy motherfucker. There are all sorts of reasons why my check may have been delayed in getting to me, but I didn’t give a rusty, flaming or holy shit what any of them were. It didn’t even matter that I couldn’t go to the bank and cash the thing—I wanted my check when I was supposed to get it, not 19 hours late (which is what it was). My eyes were bugging out of my head and my nostrils were flaring, and I was channeling Priest from Super Fly—“I want my mon-nay tooo-NIGHT!!!”

When the supervisors finally handed me my check, I wanted to say, “Bitch betta have my mon-nay.” But the truth was that I was more like a groveling dog happy that his master had thrown him some table scraps. I was overcome with the sick feeling that my paycheck was little more than my massa pattin’ me on the head after a hard day of pickin’ cotton on the plantation. I took no more comfort in the check than I would if he had said, “That’s a good niggra. You pick that cotton real well, boy.”

Last night I was stuck “sweeping” the entire night. I know I’ve explained the process before, and at the risk of being redundant, sweeping really sucks. When you are running local mail—that would be Oregon and southwestern Washington—sweeping isn’t that bad. But when you run “states,” which are all the other 48 states plus foreign territories, sweeping is a nightmare.

After the “loader” puts the mail on a conveyor belt, the “keyer” enters the zip code of each parcel into a computer, and then places it on another conveyor belt that runs probably 150 yards or more. The computer sends each parcel down the conveyor belt, ejecting it on to a chute, where the package (in theory) slides down into a bag that holds all the other mail destined for that same location. Of course, things constantly go wrong like the parcels getting stuck in the chute, or missing the bag altogether and ending up on the floor. The bags are just over three feet in length, and they hang from four hooks that are attached to a pair of metal arms. The maximum amount of weight a bag is supposed to hold is 70 pounds (which is bullshit, because I lifted one the other night that weighted in at just over 100 pounds), and once the bag is full, either by weight or number of parcels, the sweeper takes the bag off the hook, seals it, and places it on another conveyor belt. Before you seal the bag, it must be replaced with an empty bag, and you must make sure both bags have the proper label affixed, so that it will arrive at the appropriate destination.

In a perfect world, without any pressure or stress, it takes about 90 seconds to pull a bag, replace it, seal the bag you’ve pulled, check the labels, place the sealed bag on the proper conveyor belt, and finally prepare the next replacement bag. Last night was so crazy that I was doing about two or three bags a minute. That means that I was not only breaking a sweat, I was also breathing heavy and feeling like I needed my thirst quenched by some Gatorade.

Part of the reason I was working so hard was because of Lazy Twat, this one chick who was assigned to sweep the back line with me and four others, who didn’t do jack shit. When it gets as busy as it was last night, five or six sweepers isn’t really enough to keep up with everything, so if one sweeper doesn’t do their job, then the person next to them has to cover. When you are trying to cover your post and that of another person, you start slipping up, and then another sweeper has to help cover the job you’re doing, which means the person next to them has to also pick up the slack. There is a domino effect that results in people having to work harder because someone is lazy.

Last night quickly deteriorated into chaos, because of one chick that was too lazy to do her job. But that was only part of what had David Walked pissed off. Since I am not the sort of person to give too much credence to rumors or gossip, I hadn’t really thought much about the scuttlebutt that was going around the processing center. Basically, there has been a rumor that one of the male supervisors is banging one of the female temps. Honestly, I don’t know if this is true, nor do I really care. But what I do know is that the female temp that is rumored to be screwing the supervisor is none other than Lazy Twat, which would explain why she was kept on, when most of the other temps were let go last week.

With each hour that passed in which Lazy Twat didn’t do her job, and the rest of us continued to bust our backs, the more and more I got pissed off. It didn’t matter if she really was spreading her legs for the supervisor or not, all that mattered to me was that she was standing around talking on her cell phone, while other people did her job. I was becoming so pissed off, that my eye started to twitch, and I didn’t notice right away that not only was there no feeling in my right hand, but the feeling was now completely gone from my left hand as well. Meanwhile, mail was piling up all around me, bags that needed to be replaced were overflowing with priority boxes, the pinched nerves in my neck had my hands feeling like they were shot full of Novocain, and Fishbone’s “Unyielding Conditioning” spoke to me like the voice of God. “Unyielding Conditioning/Tune out from all that’s happening/Nobody deserves empathy/Nobody feels for me/We’ve all been trained by our worlds. I cannot see no one but me/No one can feel my emptiness/Everybody must fend for themselves/We’ve all been claimed by our worlds.”

Then there came a moment of clarity, where the mail no longer mattered, and the pain was just so much noise and flashing lights that I was able to tune out from everything for a second or two to really hear what was being sung. No one can feel my emptiness. Everybody must fend for themselves. We’ve all been claimed by our worlds. And in that moment, I knew that I was done. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not after I find a better job. Right now. Right that very second.

As I write this, I know that I will not be going in to work tonight. I tried to call in sick, but there was no answer. Maybe I will try calling later. Maybe I will just deal with the consequences as they arise. Whatever the case, this chapter of my life is over. Five weeks of working what averaged out to be fifty-plus hours a week was more than enough to get me back to my blue collar roots. Now, I just want the feeling back in my hands.

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One Response to “Going Postal: Day 25”

  1. L13 Says:

    congratulations

    i hope your hands heal so you can father some “knuckle children” hehehe

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