July 2nd 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1
A view of the ocean

Ho hum, rat-a-tat-tat, 4.15 again, up and on our way to work, stopping at J in the B for the usual.  When we arrived at the depot, Val was picked to work with Arjan and Gerry, our boss from the day before, while I had to go with another crew.  We drove to Alameda, and I was dropped off with a Spanish guy on a long run.  It was complicated too, with all sorts of intervening parallels and funny little side streets, so I’m sure that at first I missed quite a bit out, but I got the hang of it after a while.  Our driver had a system of dropping off bundles for us at pre-arranged spots, and that helped to make it quite depressing, since I barely saw anyone else, just my partner from time to time.  This one long route took most of the morning, and then I was taken out to a different spot.  It seemed to be quite a posh area, so I found myself throwing junk newspapers onto upper middle-class porches.  On one street in particular, right next to the ocean – that was a bonus – I was afraid of getting thrown out.  I was getting very tired, and when we stopped for lunch – at McDonalds – I could barely get moving again.  However, we worked for another 90 minutes or so, drove back, waited for our money – my share a measly $24.50 – then I hobbled back to the hotel.  I found Val and Arjan in the lobby.  They’d finished at about 1.30 (it was now 4.30 or so), Val had showered, gone out for something to eat, and returned to find our room being cleared!  We hadn’t said we were stopping longer, and our time was up, so out we went.  So, not only was I buggered, we were also homeless.  Val’s day had been pretty hard, altho’ she’d finished early, because they’d had a lot to do, there were only 4 of them, and it had been a rough black area.  We looked in a newspaper, and tried a couple of hotels which were full, and then Val went to see one around the corner, and got us a room.  We went round there, and found our room was much better than the one we’d just left, so everything turned out for the best.  I had a long, hot bath, we went out for a snack – I had a sandwich + chips, Val an “English” muffin, then home to bed, nice ‘n early – about 8 o’clock.

It was clear that the delivery company could pick the best workers, hence Val’s elevation to the more senior team.  And an indication of my own relative desolation.  Plus, an example of our own lack of organisation – getting yourself made homeless out of sheer carelessness is not sensible.

  1. Pamela J Blair

    Innocents abroad, indeed! Those mistakes and woes are so typical of the kinds of jams I got myself into, too. Wearying, but still on the road. Great photo of Alcatraz!

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