Men at work
Monday to Friday, I work in a Cleveland manufacturing plant, it is a dirty place located in an ugly neighborhood with little amenities. We don’t have fancy restaurants within walking distances or any kind of boutiques. We can walk to the Speedway for a gas station special, a hot dog and a soda and maybe a ding dong if you feel like it.
Once you park your car in the secured parking lot and use your badge to get through the clinking steel turn stall, they own you for the day. As you wave at the guard shack and arrive at the front door, you are greeted by all the forbidden, you can’t carry a weapon, but that is a good thing considering the way that I feel some mornings. You can’t go past the yellow line without personal protective equipment; that one always makes me smile, they mean hard hats and work boots that protect your head and feet from all kinds of nasty accidents, I think prophylactics. The biggest poster is that no one is allow to smoke within 30 feet from the doors and absolutely no smoking inside presumably to protect all the non- smokers from harmful smoke, a thoughtful if ironic management position if one considers what kind of toxins the average worker breathes per hour in the plant.
In spite of a dreadful setting the men and women working in the plant are gracious to me, always greeting me and opening doors and lifting gates on my behalf. They show the kind of thoughtful behavior that makes living in society harmonious.
They are smart and but they shine the brightest when they attend the mandatory state of business meeting with our plant manager. They scheduled these informotials about twice a year. Normally, salaried employees attend during business hours. The plant employees attend according to their shifts.
Last year, I missed my time slot so I went to a second shift session. The new plant manager was excellent at pointing the improvements that were in the works for the employees. She was on a roll untill the question period, when a guy in the back raised his hand.
“I just want to point out Mam, that we used to have seventeen custodians taking care of this plant.”
“Yes?” She said with intense interest.
“We appreciate all the new flowers and fresh paint in the Human Resources area but if I go to the bathroom and there is no toilet paper in the stall and no paper towels in the dispensers, I am left in a difficult position.”
Everybody cracked up with this very polite and clever way to tell her that she was full of crap. Never underestimate the insight that comes with sitting on the toilet with time to think about what is essential.