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September 7, 2017: Whistle while you Work

The wonderful world of work really has very little, if anything, going for it. Yesterday I talked with my sister Eleanor about this. She just retired from teaching. She remarked that going to work gets one out of their own head. In other words, it forces one to socialize with others. Notice that I used the word “force.”

I’d much rather work at home. I feel no need to interact with others. And I won’t miss time spent sorting goods at the Alaska State Fair Recycling sorting table. Small talk makes me antsy – and this was what working at the sorting table was all about. I was happiest by myself, cutting up cardboard and flinging it into the dumpster.

The job was a form of escape – mainly, escape from having to deal with my ongoing projects. My list is long and may be even longer, should I decide to take the previous two week’s dispatches and put them in eBook form. And the Icelandic Horse Quarterly editor would like an article about my doing agility and its relationship to Project Proprius. And after, the editor would like a series of articles about Centered Riding. And there are backlogged projects, like my goat poem eBook.

So, as Anne Lamott would say, take it Bird by Bird, one project at a time.

Who came up with the concept of work? Most don’t enjoy doing this. Studs Turkle’s interviewees in his book Working indicated it. And of course there is the matter of income disparity. Those with the most money are working the least. And those with the least money are working the hardest. Why can’t we redistribute available wealth? The answer is because the rich won’t give up what they have.

My working for a minimum wage got me thinking about what it means to be low income in this, and as well in other countries. I worked two weeks, for a total of approximately forty hours each week. I didn’t have to buy new clothes for this job, but the washer is going to be going for the next few days. This will be a cost. Driving too and from work was another expense, more so on the day I got caught in traffic. Money will be taken out for taxes. This will cost. I’m setting aside what I earned for hay. It won’t even cover the full cost.

The job did not include insurance. I had to sign a waiver. I am not sure if there was Workman’s Compensation. It had its dangerous and health-related aspects. And no funds were set aside for retirement. The only perks were two tickets for vendor food (Ten dollars each) and free snacks.

Barbara Erenrich wrote about this in her book, Nickled and Dimed to Death. She worked a series of minimum wage jobs in various parts of the country. I worked one locally. But the similarities are that we both knew that we would not be working for such low pay for any great length of time. So our forays were just that – forays – neither of us can fully empathize with those who must keep doing what they are doing in order to survive. I don’t know about Erehrich’s income status. I live with Pete who has a decent job with benefits. I ride happily on his shirt-tails.

And so here I am, back at work at home, fully aware that I have the time to speculate while others do not.

Next: 248. 9/8/17: Writing for Surprise

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