Honestly I didn't read the part about it being with the station manager, I just saw "enter to win free In And Out" so I put my name in the little box. The managers never announced it, nobody ever said anything about it, it was just a box that appeared one day that said we can win free burgers, so I was down.
I think my mind might have comprehended it as "the station manager is going to buy you dinner" or like "burgers on the station manager."
Then it was like "Hey Jae, you won the station manager dinner! You get to go have like a meeting with him and stuff!"
With that guy?
So it's like a meeting with that guy?
Let me tell you about that guy. He's the guy who is in charge of all the operations at our station. He's not around much for our shifts, he keeps a human like schedule, but once or twice he's been there in the graveyard shift with the guys higher than him looking around at how things are running.
He knows my name because I'm one of the original hires of the building's opening, and also I'm...not exactly a quiet one...but I also email him my audit reports sometimes or long winded emails about how whatever this system is they have us using it's fucked up and people are being written up for virtual errors that are far beyond their control, and he knows me because I'm the one his managers tried to illegally fire for walking with a cane.
So I'm sure when my name was drawn from the box there was a sigh. But like, not just an "oh boy" sigh, but "she's gonna have a lot to say" sigh, because I always do.
I walk through that place every night asking everyone if they're okay, if there's any problems. I have kleenex on my cart because it's freezing cold and everyone gets the sniffles. I give out the hand warmers and go get cups of water and medicine out of the first aid box. I talk to them about their relationship problems, custody problems, how one of the managers is racist. Nepotism. Safety. Sexual harassment.
And this time I said, if you want, I can write this down and tell it to the station manager's face because I have a meeting with him.
I was taken up on that offer.
I walked in with pages of notes, but the meeting was very controlled in that the five of us who were chosen would get to say one thing we like about working here, and one thing we don't like. I was the last person in the rotation though and had seen how more and more questions could be worked in if phrased right.
The first three people in the round table rotation were from another shift, the shift before us. But a lot of things happening on their shift is happening on ours too, and it seems like we all kind of know each other's drama. Other people at the table would cut in with things that they had to add to what the person was saying. I figured a way I could sum up my pages of notes into My Big Question, but use subnotes and little quips and comments to get the rest out.
Being a language person helps.
And after the meeting I held a "press conference" in the break room and read back my notes. People were upset. People said it was lies or they'll believe it when they see it. I mean, very few things were immediately put in as "oh yes we'll take care of this right away," but instead with promises to "look into it."
With how everyone clamored to get me to squeeze in one last thing, it felt like a let down to them. It felt like oh, there goes our chance.
I don't know how I feel, except that I think some questions were answered, and some things will just never change because that's how the beast is designed. I also think that some of the items I brought in are going to be dealt with because they just fucking have to be.
I feel heard though, and I feel like I represented my people as best as I could in the circumstances, so we'll just have to wait. Or I'm going to get long winded in the emails again. And it's a wheel and I'll never get off of it but I'll be doing something.
It's not like, what I want to do. It is, but it's not like what I have here, my writing. Its a few hours in the night that I spend to get some cash, and then I can go back and write to my friends and fans.
It was a busy week though and I didn't get to do much writing other than on the yellow legal pad. There were trips to Lowes to get the lumber for Steve to build me a shelf. And I have to say that I've felt this feeling once before in my time with him, but it put my stomach in knots just anticipating when he's going to get super frustrated and start yelling or taking things out on me--except that never comes because Steve is not maladjusted.
I felt it once before when we turned down a narrow road and he had to do a 57 point turn in his truck to get us out of there, but I was on edge the whole time waiting for him to verbally assault me and tell me this was my goddamned fault, and be all pissy the whole way back down the mountain, unable to calm the fuck down.
I've had numbers done on me.
I don't think I've realized how hard it was to live with my ex sometimes. Because my siblings would do the same thing, and there was nothing I could do to prepare for it. Like reminding my brother one time to pull the e-brake because remember that one time your car rolled down the driveway and hit a tree, then suddenly I'm being screamed at that I had something to do with that he knows it, and I'm like 11 and I had just been playing outside, I wasn't near the cars. But it's All My Fault when things don't work.
It's taken a lot of therapy work to erase this out of my own behavior, because it was modeled so frequently it's just what I would do as a reaction to things not working. But I haven't erased the way it made me feel to have it done to me. Being with someone for so long who would fly off the handle at things has not allowed that part to heal.
So if the screws were too long, or the wall actually has a lump in it, these are things I was ready to be yelled at over, or at the very least lose my sweet mannered Steve for the evening as he grumbled through his now set bad mood.
But he doesn't do that. He doesn't really get upset. I wait for the other shoe to drop and it just never does.
It's just that sometimes screws are too long, and we don't let it affect our emotions.
We don't yell at the people around us.
We don't break down and have a moment about it.
And knowing what I know now, there's some explanation as to why some of the people in my life behaved this way. They've got no idea how to express emotions properly and in the right time, so they just come out however they need to come out at completely inappropriate times. I've done it. I'd like to think I'm better at it now.
Probably, if I flipped out now and did that to Steve, I dare say he'd actually be like "okay, but why is this a thing? Why does this bother you so much? What's actually going on?"
He says he's noticed about me that I do not like change. If things don't go the right way, or there's a hurdle, I can work my way around them to get back on track. But a change in plans, an end to that means, I get lost.
There's also exciting things though, like how I flap if I'm very excited, I sing my way through uncertainty, and I have happy noises.
But I roll through badness by mostly shutting down.
Thankfully the bad hasn't really been that bad lately. Last few weeks anyway.
He put up the shelves so I had a place for my books so I could put in a tiny refrigerator. Like, the tiniest refrigerator. About the size of one of those old clunky computer monitors. The box says it holds 12 cans, but I find it fits a carton of almond milk and a big tub of cottage cheese just fine with some room left over. Keeps stuff cold, too.
And we went to LA on the train which is always my favorite way to travel. I think we'll be podcasting/making a video talking about the museums we visited there this weekend, but nothing can describe how delicious the jamaica we had on Olvera street at some little cash only place we stopped in.
I love that Steve is not always willing to consider that there are new ways to do things as well, like Lyft. We get to LA and we only explore around Union Station because he's never considered Lyft, mostly because he doesn't know how it works. I suggest it and he's like "I don't have cash, do you?" and it's like "Steve it's hooked to my card, we just ride. No cash exchanged unless you wanted to give the guy a cash tip, but you can tip on the card." He's like "Oh!"
Like how do I set that up? How does he know where to go?
It's all in the app, Steve. It's okay. I don't know how to Train but you do, and you don't know how to Lyft but I do. It's okay. We work together well.
Tonight I'm in my somewhat chaotic room, things are still out of place after the great moving around of the crap. But I slept in as late as I could to prepare for going back to work tonight and got the urge to write, since I haven't been doing that as much lately and I know that I need to. For you and for me.
I think I'll put some things where they go and maybe grab a bite from the burger joint. And hey, I can put my leftover zucchini fries in my FRIDGE for later! So handy. Such an easily forgotten convenience of modern living, refrigeration is.
So much less ramen, and no more butthole tasting powdered milk.
Cold veggies, y'all. Cold veggies all day.