Friday, January 20, 2017

Bart the driver

I just now had a flashback to the remote past so hard it's like being there all over again. I can smell it. I can feel all the vibes of that time. I thoroughly feel the apprehension of joining a new work crew, an established clique with their strange cohesion, their obvious pecking order, all males except for one young woman with a learning challenge who was hired by a unique arrangement, and an old man who smokes a pipe, a very odd old-school boss. This would be a tough nut to crack. It was the night shift, and that is a whole different vibe. At the end of the work cycle, work so strange involving turning trays of processed checks into bundles with their page of computer listing and sorting piles of bundles of checks into a wall of bins made of metal shelving, then at the end of it large canvas sacks containing bundles of checks processed that night through Federal Reserve Bank high speed sorters must be delivered to five major downtown banks so they can get a jump on their own processing, and the rest delivered to the downtown U.S. Post Office nearby. Other sacks would be picked up by delivery companies hired by various banks. It was a quick trip around the downtown area, actually a circle within a grid map of the city, but considering the sums involved it was strange for the bank to assign the task to two little dummkopfs like us.

Bart trained me. And Bart was the worst of the lot when it came to responsibility. He drove like a maniac. He didn't care about damaging the delivery truck. He ran right up on sidewalks, bashed through snow banks, He tossed the bags into corners as if they were potatoes. We were twenty years of age. Bart looked like the cartoon in the Gorillaz video Feel Good; 5'7 or so, thin as a rail, thick shoulder-length raven hair, blue denim shirt, skinny jeans, oversized heavy mountain boots, his trademark. He drove a vintage jeep that he restored himself and taught himself to play the banjo, the one thing he was good at. He is second generation Mexican but speaks only vulgar Spanish. We hung out, eventually became friends. To my dismay this break away from the bank after a night of work and constraint for the independent task of delivery, an undesirable task relegated to the bottom rung of the totem pole, the two new guys, was Bart's opportunity to torch up and I am now complicit in a minor crime, at least a firing offense.

The first night delivering bags of checks and driving through the icy downtown streets, the whole thing completely new to me, a bit overwhelmed by the fortress aspect of the bank, with their own FRB guards who have their own firing range right there in the basement, and having just departed the containment bay of the garage where armored trucks deliver and accept the same canvas sacks of coins, that purposefully slows entry and egress and runs parallel with a port staffed by guards behind bulletproof glass so that they can inspect and control the set of seven-ton doors that closed slowly behind us before the regular garage doors rolled up to release us, one bay for entry another bay for exit, this song came on the radio and Bart turned it up loud as the radio goes in the dead of the cold winter early morning when regular people are fast asleep. Neither of us heard this song before but it's so engaging and so simple we both started singing along automatically because we actually were hitting the road and given the choice we would just as soon not come back.

What a trip. That was a very long time ago, the very beginning of my work experience. My only work experience. I grew up there.


11 comments:

MamaM said...

I thought we had a better understanding, says RayC at the end. Nope! Hit the road Jack. Your tour is DONE!!

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

What a lovely blog post. Thank you.

edutcher said...

Too bad it won't be sung at the Inaugural.

Sixty Grit said...

An evergreen classic.

ndspinelli said...

I have a different perspective this morning. I detested Clinton on a visceral level. He is a bad man. I suppose it's part of my personality. But also part of my experience. I played sports and coached baseball for 30 years. I worked on criminal and civil trials for 4 decades. You win and you lose. I learned how to lose. It's REALLY tough some times. I also learned how to win. What really troubled me the last years of my coaching was how difficult it was to teach my players how to win graciously. There's an "in your face" mentality that comes primarily from the black culture. You win and pound your chest and scream at the opponent you just beat. That has in many ways taken over sports and leaked into our general culture. That's a bad omen. In 2000, Clinton was gone. His successor, Al Gore, was defeated. Same today. Obama is gone, his successor Hillary was defeated. The scoreboard says everything you need to know. The verdict says it all.

In this situation, Trump beat the ENTIRE establishment. This was the most difficult victory in history. Enjoy it. As best possible, let the anger from the battle go.

ricpic said...

Stop Swaying, Willya?

"Who loves ya, baby?"
Croaked Telly S
To the great Ray C.
"Right back at ya"
Sang the champ
His voice rising octavially.


Hey, Stevie Wonder is even worse in the swaying department.

rcocean said...

Nick, the battle is just beginning. The Establishment and the Democrats have made it clear they will stoop at anything, short of physical assassination, to destroy Trump.

Trump is not backing down.

So, if you don't like anger in politics, I suggest you tune out for the next couple years. We only get anger-free politics when the Republican establishment plays Washington Generals to the Democrats Globetrotters.

Chip Ahoy said...

I just got butt dialed from Las Vegas.

Terrible connection so I called back.

The dude goes, "Why you calling me, I'M BUSY! over here."

deborah said...

Great memory, Chip. You have a way with words.

Amartel said...

Great song but I think it's supposed to evoke some sympathy for Jack.

ndspinelli said...

rc, If you think about my history, I have NO PROBLEM w/ anger. I was just giving my perspective on today, a day to celebrate victory. To each their own. I know the ugliness will continue.