Friday, January 06, 2006

Back in the saddle

Copied from my LJ-5/9/05
Our friend Steve gave up on his unreliable mechanic friends and decided to tackle my car repair himself. I just got the great news from Paul a couple of hours ago that the distributor was installed and my car starts! God willing, my bus-riding days are over and not a second too soon. Temperatures rose into the high seventies today. It's impossible in this weather for me to walk from home to the bus stop and then on to work from the stop on Woodward (maybe a mile altogether) without being drenched in sweat by the time I arrive. It's hot enough at work as it is without showing up looking like I just ran a marathon.

The two massive printers generate a lot of heat so our department is always the hottest part of the building. Then the AC is programmed to cut off at 5pm! As they day wears on it just keeps getting hotter, and by about 8 I was so overheated I was just mad and frustrated and couldn't think straight. I wish there was someone I could complain to about this, or someone who even gave a damn. But when your employer doesn't even want to pay you the overtime you have coming, I doubt they're interested in wasting the energy to make a hot room tolerable for a couple of temps. I'm trying to imagine the look on Buzz's face if I had the gall to ask him about it.

Like Durwood, Buzz (one of the company's owners) does a lot of threatening, some of which I've heard firsthand. He is just a thoroughly crass individual. The first time I ever saw him he was in the hall with two men in suits, talking about a female employee and what an "ugly bitch" she was. The day I was actually introduced to him, I had just overheard him talking about "those fat fucking bitches on the second floor. Can you believe they use the fucking elevator?" I was like, uh-oh! What kind of scary workplace is this where the OWNER openly talks that way about his employees? Last week he was in here telling a story about a group of men (which I gathered included him) taking turns with a hooker who "only charged $10 a pop." His remarks have made me uncomfortable on a few occasions but I think that was that day I finally understood what is meant by a hostile work environment.

Lord knows I am nothing close to a prude, but I have never encountered such a thing at any job I ever held. I worked on a construction crew at a chemical plant with some of the most roughneck foulmouthed guys I ever met, and ditto my coworkers in the fast food trenches. But any "inappropriate for work" talk was always furtive and just between employees. You never heard managers talking like that, much less as showily as he does it. His attitude just DARES you to be offended by what he says. There's often a thread of misogyny running through Buzz's remarks so I feel for the women who must deal with him directly. He's a nightmare to look at too; the red face of a certain drunk and feathered, middle-parted hair straight out of my seventh grade picture.

Paul was only out to one friend at work, but I imagine people began to connect the dots when I was hired and shortly after I was asked point blank if we are a couple. I answered honestly. I don't go out of my way to share my private life but neither will I hide or lie about it. Maybe it's a matter of pride. My self-acceptance was hard-won, and I do believe in principle gay people should come out for the benefit of us all. But now I understand why Paul never did. There is a lot of casual homophobia here. It's mostly ignorance without bad intentions as far as I can tell, but you hear a lot of gay jokes being cracked. Some guys were just in here today ribbing a coworker with an apparent running gag about the Durwood "feeling on your booty" and "we know how y'all are". Another guy described a coworker to me as, "He looks kind of [insert gay hand gesture here] but supposedly he's married." I don't take offense easily at that kind of thing, in fact I'm usually just as likely to laugh at it myself. But given the other abusive language I've heard, it makes me a bit wary. Unlike the IT companies where I have worked the past few years, this is not a climate where hate speech would be unthinkable.

Music: Lalah Hathaway-Outrun the Sky
Mood: Cheerful