Sunday, June 23, 2013

I Am a Laborer

     The sun is a son of a bitch sometimes.  It burns and it kills.  I don't work outside but that almost makes it worse.  My work features lots of thick walls and poor ventilation and plenty of concrete and metal to absorb the heat of that cursed big ball of fire in the sky.  There's some air conditioning but only where it's required for the product.  Like most big corporations, the one I work for considers the product more important than the people.  The area I'm working in right now is usually ten degrees hotter than it is outside.
     Even when it's not hot it's a physical job.  Lifting fifteen pounds, thirty pounds doesn't seem that hard until you do it all day everyday.  Then there's the bending and twisting and turning and pushing and pulling and just the constant motion on unforgiving concrete floors. There are easier jobs at my work, I'm doing this one because it keeps me on day shift, but even the easy ones drain you when you do them day after day.  Lifting a half pound part, looking at it, and putting it in a box doesn't sound that bad.  Now do it a thousand, two thousand, six thousand times a day.  Eventually your hands get sore from gripping the parts, carpal tunnel becomes a real concern, your arms get sore from the back and forth motion, your eyes get sore from the constant strain of looking over each part as carefully but quickly as you can, and your brain gets dull from doing the same thing over and over and over again.
     It's hard is what I'm saying.  I'm dwelling on it a bit because those with truly physical job are either nodding their heads in understanding right now or thinking if you think that's hard you should see my job buddy but those with office jobs or service jobs are saying so what, I've got stress.  Don't talk to me about stress.  I work with explosives.  You get so used to your butthole puckering that you barely notice when it happens.  And even without the explosives there are forklifts running around that could crush me, machinery that could mangle me, chemicals that could poison me and although I've never been seriously hurt at work the threat is always there.  I got hit in the face, near the eye, the other day by a thick cardboard tube with a seventy pound tank round inside it and just kept working.  I didn't think much of it until the end of the day because I've been scared much worse at work.  So again I say, don't talk to me about stress.
     What does any of this have to do with anything?  It caused problems for me in my marriage and it has caused problems for me in my relationships.  Most people just don't understand how much this drains you.  They expect me to go through this for eight, sometimes ten or twelve hours, a day, come home and do my fair share of the chores, be a father to my son, and still have something left.  They worked all day too and they're still ready to go.  They just don't know.  They just don't know.  I've done their jobs before.  I've been in management and worked with the public and counted money and answered phones and sat in front of a computer all day.  They haven't done my job.  They just don't know.
     This problem isn't particular to the women I've been with either.  There's a lack of respect for physical labor in America anymore.  The attacks on unions and manufacturing in general are evidence of this.  I don't have any hard data to back this up but I'm pretty sure the divorce rate at my work and in physical labor in general is much higher than the national average.  An office job, a service job doesn't leave you as sore and tired as a manufacturing job, a construction job, farming, or coal mining but spouses and significant others don't understand this anymore and they expect too much from the laborers they love.  This lead to arguments and anger and eventually resentment.
     This is one of those problems I recognize but really don't have any idea what the solution might be.  I guess I could only date women that do physical labor themselves but that would limit my pool of possibilities significantly.  I could come home everyday and whine and complain so that they would know but no one wants a whiner and I don't want to whine all the time.  I guess I just have to hope to find more understanding women than I have thus far.
     I give what I've got.  Besides going to work there's everything else I do for my son.  Then I have laundry and dishes and all the day to day living stuff that has to be done.  Anything I can do for a woman is with what's left of me after all that.  Usually, it's surprisingly quite a bit.  Usually, I'll give a little more than I've got left and run myself ragged for them.  Then they'll wonder why I'm tired and grumpy all the time.  Maybe I just won't find a woman until my son is grown and I have more time and if that's the case that's fine.  Until then I'll just keep laboring through life and hope someone understands.


  1. I understand completely. Love ya Paul. I've been doing the same for 33 years out there. That's why I'm still single after being married for 22 years. I won't ever try it again. Gotta work & Gotta still take care of my son with no help whatsoever! Nobody could ever understand the work we do or the stress involved unless they work there. Never enough hours in a day to do it all & have any energy left. Sad but true.

    1. Maybe we should get married Lyn. Be kind of strange being married to my work Mom though:-)

  2. And don't forget the stress of having literally thousands of rules to know and follow. And the stress of knowing that despite your best efforts you could receive discipline for doing the same thing you've been doing for maybe years just because someone else is having a bad day. And the stress of knowing your schedule could change at the drop of a hat. And the stress of knowing your trying to interject common sense into a sea of insanity. And the stress of knowing your many years hard work and dedication mean nothing compared to a single butt-kiss. There's a whole lot more to the stress out there besides knowing any minute you could be blown up, burned, mangled or get some ailment from the long term effects of chemicals.