Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee
A lady flicked me off in my office. Well, she wasn’t flicking me off, exactly, but it still sort of felt like it. We were trying to get her accounts straight. Unexpected expenses, overdraws, that sort of thing. So I try to get to know her and she’s in some kind of uniform so I ask about her job. She tells me she’s doing hotel work. She tells me that the work never stops.
“They’ve gone through three general managers in the last year.”
There’s a rough patch of skin on her neck. It looks like a series of cigarette burns. My eyes keep going for it, but I try to pull them back.
As we’re getting down to business, I go through her information – confirming correct phone numbers, addresses, that sort of thing. We come back around to talking about her job, and about her salary, and she tells me it should be five thousand higher, but her bosses keep denying her a raise. That’s when she gets angry.
“So I tell them, ‘I know what I’m doing, I don’t deserve this,’ I’m looking for another job. But I need the money so I don’t let them fire me. I just need them to get off my nut-sack.”
What I WANT to tell her is: “I’m on your side, you deserve something better, fuck a world that treats people this way,” but instead I say “Sounds real awful. Hope you find something better soon.”
Devil’s in the details, and she knows it too, because that sets her off.
“Yeah, yeah,” she says, “we’ll see.” She pulls out her fingers. She’s flicking off her third GM, the hotel, this whole horrible system that pays people less and less for their labor, doubly so if they’re a woman, and of course – rightfully – she’s flicking off the part I play in all that. Because to her, I’m just the banker who left her with ‘better wishes,’ not the soldier standing beside her on the frontlines of social change.
I hope I gave her useful advice, at least. Some help with her finances, a better outlook down the road. I want and need to believe in that possiblity, to let the belief that I can be something positive set my pillow to it’s cooler side at night. But in the end, I’m not the one to judge that.
Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller
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Butter was plastered on to the roll with no regard for the hard labor of the cow.Kate Atkinson, Life After Life