Today ground was laid for what portents to be a near-term departure from the employer I have frequently nicknamed “the jibbering marmoset.” At Facebook I have ranted about the circumstance. I will try to be more civil and charitable here . . .
My employer — I’ll call him Simon — has an uncanny ability to treat all of his employees as though the year is 1860, and his last name is Legree. Look it up. Every day is a contest with him. He has the diplomatic finesse of a sledge-hammer in his consistent disparaging and scolding of his employees and disregard of obligations to customers after he has taken their money. He has ignored at least one firm he has owed money to since last January will cavalier dismissiveness. When talking to first time visitors to the show room, he is a fawning, smiling, convivial veneer of engagement, a patina of civility over a foundation of fetid, festering insolence to those who owe their employment to him. I’ve worked for him for about four years. Before that I was a journalist and substitute teacher. I stopped substitute teaching when he promised me daily employment. At my urging, be began opening his store on Saturdays, and my obligation to him since I started AeroKnow Museum has been a knife in my hindquarters, even though I declare time off on Saturdays when I have obligations elsewhere.
When my car threatened to be a serious safety concern due to horrible brakes and other problems, Simon loaned me a pickup truck which I have driven since 2009. My car, a Ford Escort I inherited from my deceased father in 1994 was partially restored by a friend who bought it from me as was, and he eventually sent it to a junkyard. I purchase the fuel for the truck, but Simon pays the license and insurance fees. Recently he had to purchase two new tires for it. I would have purchased them myself, but could not because I do not earn enough to buy tires, or insurance. I soon may have to.
Simon hasn’t paid me for a month. This has happened more times than I can count. He says he doesn’t have the money. By the grace of God, I have income from the upper half of a duplex I live in on the ground floor and basement while renting the upstairs. I also make a little more than a hundred dollars a month, sometimes less, never more than $300 from journalism.
Today Simon became upset with my asking when I would be paid, and he reminded me he wonders why I’m making a big deal about it since (according to Simon) I don’t need the money. He thinks I’m getting rich from journalism. Many people do. They are mistaken and I’m too proud of being paid for my writing — anything at all — that I’m not going to burst their bubble of respect for me (there ARE bubbles of respect evident from some) and compromise my appearance of pride in this “profession.”
Today I told Simon I am having a hard time working so many hours that I cannot take time off, and even if I could FIND a better employer (which seems horribly unlikely only 11 days away from turning the BIG SIX FIVE) I am sure Simon would tell me to leave my key to the pickup truck on the showroom counter while he calls me a taxi and awards me a 10-spot to pay for the ride home. Without a vehicle I could no longer develop the museum at the airport. I am afraid to risk FINDING a better job since I would not be able to work (with no transportation and yes, I know about busses and taxicabs) after I was hired. I have seen Simon behave ivengeful.. In the course of this “significant blurt” of frank discussion, he told me he would not do that.
He said he knows that working in a stone fabricator’s showroom is not my “job.” Simon said, “Working in the arts, being creative, writing, poetry, history, photography, music, that is your job. I know you’re just getting by. THIS is not your job.” Simon is correct.
So the table is set differently now. We don’t know if the one-time girlfriend who was working twice a week at the showroom for Simon will EVEN BE AN EMPLOYEE after scho0l resumes and her beautiful kids are occupied, allowing her to work and give me the time I HAD for a few months earlier before summer vacation time to write and maintain things. If she doesn’t come back I will be asked to work more. I am not ready to do that. I must find a way to convince an employer with some sense of humanity and fairness, who is sharp enough to recognize my potential, someone who will HIRE ME as a communicator and/or photographer.
The writhing is on the wall, splattered all oooooooover the frikking wall: red, yellowy, purple — what’s that brown goo? OH! Don’t tell me; I just sniffed it, I know what it is, and I know what it is not.
It is not the aroma of hope.
Live long . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and proper.