Monday, December 27, 2010

Such is my life

I recall how in all those Peanuts TV specials, Charlie Brown never got any respect. When he went trick or treating, all he got was a lousy rock. When he tried to kick the game-winning field goal, Lucy would lift the football up, and when he’d miss it everyone would blame him instead of Lucy. I think I know how he felt. For example, I’m in a bank; the teller gives me a twenty dollar bill with a million crinkles; she must have thought I was either blind or brain-damaged. At K-Mart the cashier gives me a nickel for change—that is I think it is nickel, except that it looks like it was run over by a train, several times; other times they try to sneak in those Canadian coins that vending machines won't take. I go to a book store in downtown Seattle. When I walk in nothing seems peculiar—except when I leave, all of a sudden there’s a security guard standing at the door. I go into a donut shop. All the donuts in sight look healthy, but the proprietor reaches in the back and deliberately gives me the shriveled-up midget of the litter. This happens to me all the time.

Then there are the police, rent-a-cops, Metro bus drivers, old white dinosaurs, young Republicans, white people with kids, white women with issues, black women with issues (well, any women with issues) and people who like hearing their car flatulate. At McDonalds, the cashier asks the manager if it is “OK” to give the customer (me) a five dollar bill that is nearly torn in half as change; the manager say it’s “OK.” I tell the cashier that I will not accept that bill if she tries to fob it off to me. I’m learning.

Sometimes, a proprietor doesn’t even bother to serve me. I go into another donut shop, in the University District. There’s a street person sitting there, but no one behind the counter. I wait. I wait some more. Maybe someone didn’t hear the door chime. I walk out and come back in; the door chimes, and still no one appears. I do the chime routine again. Finally some Southeast Asian type comes out; there’s television blaring in the backroom. He gives me this turd-on-his-shoe look and asks me “What do you need?” Real contemptuous like. Taken aback, I say “What do you mean ‘What do I need?’ I don’t NEED anything here.” He’s saying something else with a sneer, and I tell him I’m going to tell everyone I know about his crummy place. He says “good, good” but since he barely speaks English, he probably didn’t understand what I was implying.

I go to a Kent Safeway’s deli bar for some Chinese food. The guy starts ladling some General Tsao from the bottom of the bowl, which is mostly greasy sludge. I tell the ladler to stop what he’s doing and ladle it from the top, where all the meat is. Instead of taking a large spoonful, he just picks tiny pieces off the top. When he’s done, I’m looking at greasy, sludgy soup. He actually thinks I’m going to pay for it. Right in front of other customers I tell him I’m not going to be treated like garbage—my money is as good as the white guys behind me; he can take this shit and shove it back up his you-know-what. I can always go to this mom-and-pop place where “mom” treats me like she is, even though I think I’m older than she is.

It’s 3 AM and I walking to a bus stop to catch the red-eye to work. I observe some guy wandering in the middle of the street. Is he drunk? No, he just wants to mug me and run to a getaway in a car where his buddy is waiting in the shadows. It wasn’t even a real mugging, I was just the subject of a gang “training” program. All the guy took was my airport ID badge that I had on a neck cord; I think he thought I had an I-Pod on the cord. He didn’t take my wallet or my netbook. The real injustice occurred when I reported the theft to the ID Access office. They didn’t believe my story; if it was “lost” rather than stolen I would have to pay a $250 replacement fee. I stood my ground and lost two weeks’ pay in the interim; this is when the real thievery occurred. What made it even worse was that the gang-banger was more honorable and respectful than the ID access office employees, since he had mailed in my badge (without return address, of course) and I was not informed of this until 10 days later. C’est la vi if you are a "little brown one" in this country.

I walk into the same Kent Safeway I mentioned before, and someone who I can tell by her outfit is a manager looks at me with disturbed look. She calls for someone over the intercom; I’ll call him “Joe” to protect the guilty. I take a cart and head to the produce area; “Joe to produce.” I go to get some chips; “Joe to the snack aisle.” I go to the freezer section. “Joe to the freezer section.” Then I’m off to the deli section. “Joe to deli, please.” “Joe” finally caught-up to me while I was inspecting the salad section; he was some big, burly black guy pretending he was doing something with a clipboard. He was standing next to me shoulder to shoulder, which seemed kind of odd and uncomfortable; I didn't even know the man. I looked at him and said out loud “You must be the security guy.” His cover blown, I made my way to the check-out counter, and even though there were only three people waiting in the aisle with ten items between us, the manager gestured to the person in front me who had one item to the next counter. I decided to join them. The supervisor asked me how my day was; I said “Since I came in here, terrible.” I “accidentally” dropped one of the pennies I gave her on the ground, and watched her pick it up. “Sorry about that” I said, but I wasn’t really sorry.

I really kind of had a shitty Christmas, somewhat alleviated by family assistance. I’ve worked four Christmases in a row (and Thanksgivings and New Year’s Days). You’d think that the company would lighten things up a bit. The OPs people have a Christmas tree and decorations, and they probably had a party too; but their office people, so they always have time for that (and it is my opinion nothing intelligible goes on in there anyways). But the cart runners and cleaners who work for the vendor across the hall not only have a tree, but set-up a Christmas buffet, and know I damn well every other company at the airport did something similar. I’m not saying our new station manager is a skinflint and not much into troop morale (but he is into all these new regulations that didn’t seem necessary before), but if the only Christmas “cheer” that could be afforded was one small slice of pumpkin pie (which I didn’t avail myself to, because I was outside all day)—well, I’m just saying. I’m mean, who reads this anyways?

Oh well. At least Charlie Brown had two girls who had a crush on him—Peppermint Patty and her half-blind friend Marcie, who always called her “sir” but who at least knew that Snoopy was a dog and not a “funny-nosed kid.” Naturally, it was the unattainable Little Red-Haired Girl that Charlie was in love with, not these two losers (PP got a D- in every class), but who else would have him? Maybe not even either of them, to listen to some people into revisionist history. I came across a Yahoo question-and-answer webpage in which there was a discussion on the matter of whether Peppermint Patty and Marcie were in fact “lesbians.” One person actually declared that Charles Schulz had intended to make them lesbian characters, but thought it too risqué to be too open about it. This is entirely bogus; Schulz was too “square” to contemplate that. Peppermint Patty with her freckles, split ends and big nose was always extremely self-conscience and hated being compared to “pretty” girls, and being called “sir” merely high-lighted her self-image issues. Unlike Patty, however, Marcie was less inhibited in stating that she “loved” Charlie. So all of this is just talk from people who are imposing their own politics on characters they otherwise have no knowledge of; but then again, it would be interesting to speculate that it would just be Charlie Brown’s bum luck to have the affections of two females who decided they wanted to be lesbians instead.

No comments:

Post a Comment