I finished the training phase of my job a few weeks ago, so they have me working alone now. One of the reasons they hired me was because three of the billers were looking to take a leave – they all work full-time jobs on top of this one – so now it’s just me and this woman Diane. She works 1-2 nights a week and I work the rest, which is great because now my evenings are a little more flexible and I have more time to get other shit done. Basically, it’s the job I’ve been pining for all my adult years.
Since I work alone now, I can listen to music outright instead of pissing around with headphones. And my boss doesn’t mind if I’m playing screamo or hardcore. (I think he’s the best boss I’ve ever had.) So since I’m bringing actual CDs to work and not my mp3 player (CDs – OMG remember those??), it’s turned my work station into a conversation starter. Last week, one of the night drivers was walking past and paused when he heard Chiodos playing. He came over and inspected the CD, then started asking me questions about them. Then he commented, with raised eyebrows, that he had seen the types of music I had listed on that dumb diversity sign.
“You were surprised, I take it?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said. “I would have taken you for the bubblegum type.” And this is what I’m used to so I laughed heartily and admitted that under my blonde hair and friendly smile (I really AM friendly sometimes!), I’m all aggro and breeding hate.
I had never really talked to this particular driver before at length, but that night we bullshitted for about thirty minutes, about how we miss Nick’s Fat City (a local venue that closed a few years ago) and how we’ve probably been at the same shows at the same time and just never knew it. He kind of looks like a pirate and wears big hoop earrings and he’s totally my new best work friend. My boss commented later that he’s never seen me so lit up, to which I responded, “You’ve never talked to me about music!”
There’s another driver that I see every day; he’s one of the daylight drivers so he’s always finishing his day while I’m there billing. Diane had mentioned off-handedly a few weeks ago that he’s the only person there who creeps her out, and my boss Dave once wondered aloud if this guy jacks off in the truck while watching women in parking lots, but I never thought much of it until I started working alone. He’s like the predatory uncle that you avoid at family reunions; he’s that kind of creepy. So now for whatever reason he tries to bait me with his awkward jokes and he teases me like a CREEPY UNCLE TEASES A LITTLE GIRL BEFORE STICKING HIS HAND UP HER PINK PARTY DRESS OMG EW. I usually stay out of the dispatch room when I hear his voice in there, and I am thankful that there are always twenty five million men around me at all times. I end each altercation with him by turning my back and pantomiming the kind of projectile vomiting I imagine would follow up a molestation session.
Every one else is awesome. I mean, I got a paper cut the other day and I thought one of the drivers was going to fly to the nearest shaman and come back with a piece of rare medicinal fabric woven with magic and the pubes of Elvis to wrap around my wound. THAT is how concerned this dude was. Last night, I overheard him sayng that when he comes home from work early, he hides in the basement so his wife doesn’t know he’s home. “It’s like when you play hookie from school,” he said. I hope that someday, Henry harbors enough resentment to put him in hiding, too. Only then will I feel success as a woman.
There are two Republican drivers who don’t really bother with me because they know they can’t tell racist Obama jokes and refer to those of us who voted for him as “whackjobs,” and there are a few other guys who get nervous around me, like I’m the new class pet that they desperately want to poke with a stick but are afraid of getting paddled. But mostly, I’ve been accepted there and have slowly been revealing facets of my personality. Soon they’ll know I really AM a whackjob, I guess.
The best part is that, unlike my last job, I actually enjoy the work I do and I’m consistently busy. It makes the nights go so fast and it’s also rewarding to know that they’re counting on me to get this shit done. I didn’t feel like I mattered at my last job, which made me hate it that much more.
I hope this is one long-lasting honeymoon, that’s all I’m sayin’.