Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Last Days At The Post

I'd already signed the separation severance contract in Costa's Office. He'd reminded me I didn't have to go. At the end of the day I was a good worker who didn't missed work, showed up on time, worked my entire shift and did it with a smile most times.  I didn't hold any grudges against anybody there. Everybody had their reason for doing whatever they did and I figured mostly it had nothing to do against me personally. The Washington Post had gone from the workers' paradise to a barebones operation continually shrinking leaving the remaining employees living in fear. In the golden days if you said or did something management deemed inappropriate they'd send you to charm school like with Ronnie. The Post would coach you up to be a better employee. Now you were gone if you screwed up. Gone.

I arrived at work that last Friday on time as usual. Most of the others like Crystal had already left but I held out as long as I could because the income was nice. But doing little to earn the money for a corporation that I now suspected of involvement in insurrection against my country was not tolerable. I needed to get out. I wasn't at work more than fifteen minutes when my manager, whose name still escapes me, came over to my desk and informed me I could leave. She was giving me the whole shift slide out of work that last night. I thanked her and gathered my things. That lump gathered in my throat as I saw the people who I would not see anymore most likely and I thought about all the people who'd already left. That made me sad and I walked around the floor saying my goodbyes. I said goodbye to Dailin who I do speak with still to this day. Then I was walking down that darkened hallway to the elevator for the last time. I'd already given my badge to management so when I said my goodbyes to the guards the last time I left the building forever.

I got into my Toyota and started down L Street for home. The neighborhood was a different place in the new economy. In better times L Street was hopping as long as legally possible at night. Now most of the clubs were shut and the street was dark with few people. One street over was the old red light district but since there were no customers with money even the oldest profession was in a depression. However, only a few weeks before leaving the Post for the last time I was putting my things into my car to leave for home after finishing my shift. A woman about 35 or 40 years old came down 15th Street looking a bit intoxicated. She looked at me in a gesture that asked me if I want to purchase sex from her. At the same time she had that look of shame and desperation. It looked like she'd walked down 15th Street from a bit north where it was residential. Who knows what situation drives an apparently middle class woman into the streets as a prostitute? The economy was changing radically and it was seizing up. I declined her offer.

I didn't miss that drive home though most nights it was a piece of cake. It amazes me how in the middle of the night on a straight road people can crash their cars. I'd seen my share of nuts coming home. Like the guy who flew past me in the snow. Before long he was several hundred feet ahead when his car spun around sliding backwards scraping against the median divider wall made of concrete. Let me tell you it's a shock to suddenly see some cat's headlights turn around then pointing at you. By the time his car came to a rest I past the idiot and thought I'll bet you won't be acting like a damn fool anymore. I was wrong. In my rear view mirror I see his headlights spin around and in less that a minute the nut passes me again!

But this last drive home was quiet. I figured I'd get another job somewhere. I have lots of skills and I'm a hard worker. Those things come in handy when looking for work but what really gives me an edge is my ability to speak. In all the interviews I've ever been on I was offered the job except once. Even then they called me when the guy they picked didn't work out. So I felt confident about the future and certainly much more principled not working at the Post any longer.

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