Thursday, September 11, 2008

Music to my earphones...

When we arrived ten minutes late to work, Gliner and I were verbally warned in a most cordial way to be on time in the future. We quickly learned that our tardiness was holding up the start of the assembly line. Yes, today, both of us were needed to complete the most holy of tasks at the winery, finishing the bottling of our 2007 vintage so we could continue our preparations for the 2008 harvest that is scheduled to begin on Monday with the arrival of tons upon tons of grapes.

As a worker, no matter where I work, I tend to I circumvent inane rules and throw stupid traditions out the window. Being a rebel is simply in my nature. It is a safety requirement for everyone in the bottling area of the winery to wear foam earplugs while the bottling machine is working, a completely valid rule. Given that these plugs are supposed to block out 99% of noise, I rebelled by wearing my XXL headphones over the earplugs. This was the best decision I ever made, and luckily the boss didn’t care at all.

Listening to Sondheim’s Company followed by Simon’s Graceland made loading boxes onto a palate a much more contemplative and though-provoking experience than yesterday when my only music was the drone of the bottling machine. Time still went slowly today, but it wasn’t miserable. I also enjoyed working up a solid sweat and I appreciated knowing that I don’t need to hit the gym for a while because I burn more than enough calories at work.

I remember one of my favorite professors at Penn, Antonio Feros, telling me that after he graduated from college he worked in a glove factory in his native Galicia, Spain trying to figure out what to do next in his life. By the end of his time as a laborer, he knew that he wanted to study and teach history.

As I’ve recently discovered in LA, 99% of advice I receive from people is bullshit. However, my dad has always told me to find something that I would do for free and do that as my job. I’ve always been writing for free. And now that I’m a year out of college and no longer officially doing journalism/blogging (though I still contribute to Scriptwriter Magazine on occasion), I realize that I love the work and lifestyle of journalists. I know the hours are long, the pay is shit, the respect is minimal, and the rewards are few and far between, but creative journalism (read: opinion pieces, feature articles, political stories, food reviews, and entertainment stories) has always been my thing. Unless I am being paid to write a feature film or I am staffed on a television series full time, I would rather be involved in some aspect of creative journalism than doing any other job, especially within the entertainment industry.

After five straight hours of loading boxes at the rate of 8 per minute, we finished bottling. Luckily our boss rewarded our labor (read: the white people who work at the winery – not the Mexicans) by giving us money for a grandiose lunch at “the best pizza place in the Tri-Cities.” I almost ate my own arm because I was so hungry by the time we arrived at the Brick House Pizzeria. I was given a salad bar plate and informed that I was only allowed one trip to the salad bar. Thus, I filled my plate with pepperoni, shredded bacon, olives, and mozzarella cheese to the point where my concoction was literally overflowing. I simply could not wait for the pizza to be cooked and promptly gorged myself until I was full from my meat-cheese-based salad. By the time our two supreme-o XL pizzas arrived, I had little space left in my stomach. Gliner and I knew going into this situation that the best “pizza” in bumblefuck Washington would be similar to chucking some veggies and low quality meat on a piece of toast, and sure enough we were right. After a few bites of the pizza, I realized I wasn’t missing out on much because I was already overly satiated.

I’m willing to bet that sociologists galore have studied a certain phenomenon in the American workplace but the impact of this phenomenon has likely never been properly quantified. I’m talking about the post-lunch CRASH and BURN! Since my days of elementary school, I associate the hours after lunch with lethargy and laziness. I am also aware that carbohydrates significantly slow down brain functions. While working at Endeavor, I intentionally avoided carbs in my lunches, thanks to the enormity of Judi’s Deli salads that were both delicious and filling. Outside of major cities, such salad options are few and far between. Thus, the crash is almost inevitable in my current workplace due to limited food options. I can only imagine how many bajillions of dollars the world’s economy loses each year because of lunch-time carbo-loading.

Perhaps the daily siestas in Spain and other nations aren’t so bad after all? I know I’d certainly be in favor of having one.

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