hail & sexism & jobs & other things.

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on tuesday evening i was taking the bus from my job to the main library. the bus was crowded & loud, and all of a sudden, the sky got really dark, almost like it was night, even though nightfall was hours away. the bus quieted down, and you could tell that everyone was having the same creepy feeling, that something was going to happen. what is it about extreme weather that does that to us?

when the first piece of hail hit the bus, it did so with a loud thwack, ice vs. metal, and everyone freaked out–screaming, laughing, crying–pure pandemonium. i love pandemonium, of course, so i was happy to be stuck in the thick of this odd scene. the hail kept coming, and it was a little scary because it was so damn loud, but more of an experience than anything. when i was a pizza-bike-deliverer in philly, i delivered in a hail storm once. it was really scary, but i made like $20 in tips in about 15 minutes, because people felt so bad for me, plus i got to one-up the dudes i worked with (we were always swapping stories of all the extreme weather/circumstances we delivered in).

one thing i remember loving about being a bike deliverer was the days when it was sunny and under 85 degrees, when i’d traipse into offices carrying bags of greasy styrofoam and cardboard into giant office towers. everyone in there was so pale & miserable looking, and i was tanned & happy & free. (as a side note, i REALLY wish i was familiar with tribe 8’s song “daredevil delivery” [i dunno if that link works, i’m at work and can’t actually listen to it] back then. it would have been my JAM back then. “they pay me to ride my bicycle! they pay me to live free! runnin’ reds, killin’ peds, bus exhaust all day…”)

don’t get me wrong. i didn’t want to be a delivery lady forever, as much as i loved it. i nearly got killed or severely injured at least once a week. riding your bike for 10 hours a day in a major urban center known for its bad drivers and assholes, for $4/hr plus tips, isn’t really the best situation. still, it remains my most beloved job to date, remembered and missed fondly…

in other work news, today i was eating lunch in the lunch room (NEVER a good idea, but it’s too cold to eat outside & i don’t want to spend money). the roof caved in on one of the other welfare offices, so a lot of the workers moved in here, so there’s a lot of people milling about our office who i don’t know. a whole gaggle of them were eating in the lunch room, talking loudly, but not a big whoop. one of their friends walked in. a guy from the gaggle called out, “hey, [name], i hear you’re a misogynist!” he said it in a sarcastic-yet-admiring tone. the other guy responded, “yep, i guess i am! whatever the hell that is,” sounding proud.

from the rest of their conversation, i ascertained that the misogynist had a poster in his cube that offended some woman/women. i wasn’t sure what it is, but the guy who originally spoke said, “after you went home yesterday, a whole bunch of angry women came by looking for you. i had to plead with them for your life!” uproarious laughter all around. ha fucking ha.

this is a relatively minor incident, of course, but just another drop of the poison. i don’t really know what to do. amanda & i had a good talk about this a while ago–how work is unbearable for us because things that 90% of people don’t give a shit about bother us profoundly, and when we talk about how it makes us feel, we’re branded as whiners or crazy or too sensitive or causing trouble or any other of things that we (mostly) aren’t. we just want to be able to work in an environment that isn’t like rubbing salt on our wounds every fucking day. but where do we go? amanda works at the library, an idealized work environment (for me, anyway)! the library is one of the coolest places in pittsburgh with a delightfully diverse staff of wingnuts! if she’s having such a rough time, well, where the fuck can we go? (i work at the welfare office, which is rough by pretty much anyone’s standards. usually when i complain about the depressing things going on, i get a reaction of, ‘well, what do you expect?’)

so what to do? right now we’re doing what we always do. surviving. dealing with it. staying mostly silent because speaking out just seems so pointless. (amanda speaks out more, she’s good at it. i am learning from her.) fighting back in little ways. what else can we do? what do YOU do, faithful reader?

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