June 30th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1

Were awoken at the most awful hour – 4.15 am – by Arjan (Dutch, not German.)  Amazingly, I was awake straight away.  The 3 of us walked to the depot, stopping off at Jack In The Box for breakfast – hamburger + coffee.  At the depot, Val and I were immediately put on a truck, and we climbed in the back, crouching, along with 8 others, on stacks of newspapers, and we were driven south of the city.  The job was to deliver an advertising broadsheet, rolling it up, snapping a band around it, and throwing it onto people’s porches.  The trick was to roll the papers up quick enough, so that one didn’t have to stop walking.  People worked in pairs, walking down parallel streets, then cutting in down the joining streets till you met, then crossing the road and back out to the parallel one.  Pretty clever, eh?  Val and I were partners, which was quite nice, since we saw each other a lot, and could check up on how we were doing.  The morning’s work went quite quickly, and we didn’t find it too tiring, but then we stopped for lunch – Val + I had brought sandwiches – and the afternoon was very much more tiring.  We finished at 4, but had to wait for our $20 each – you receive that every evening, but in total Val made $27, and I made $25.  It was in the evening that we really felt the aches + pains tho’.  We bathed and showered, getting rid of the ingrained ink, then had tea, laid down for a bit, and finally hurried out to get some food.  The restaurants we tried were all too expensive, so we went to a Chinese place we had noticed.  We were served massive plates of food for only $2 each, too much for me, I’m afraid.  Then we came home.  We’d just got into bed, when the phone went – Arjan had got us a good job in the morning.  The main industrial injuries were aching legs from the walking, and sore fingers from the bands, but we soon were sleeping like babies.

And so, our first day of employment since we had left.  The process I described, with 2 people covering an area, was called teeing in, by the way – a technical term.  Note Val outperforming me, though not by too much; something of a regular pattern this was to become, my trouble being that I tend to daydream.

Apologies for the somewhat generic photo accompanying this post; we have no photos of us “at work”, it never occurring to us at the time that such photos might prove of interest. And of course, in those days photos needed to be rationed. So I may well run out of photos to illustrate our stay in San Francisco… or just have to start getting creative.

  1. Pamela J Blair

    Sounds like grueling work. I once spent several days, delivering porn magazines to various shops around SF. I think I made $15 a day, in ’75. Not very interesting reading for me, but you might have enjoyed it.

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