The Job So Far

Things at the Optical Coating Lab have turned out to be much less than desireable. My supervisor is married to the lead production manager here and he lets his shift screw off all day every day. When we come in at six in the afternoon to start work we’re always slammed thanks to them. We are constantly picking up the slack. Since my boss more than likely doesn’t want to start any friction with her husband she never stands up for us. So we work three times as hard as we should have to every night to put production back on schedule. It’s damned annoying. Every afternoon we have to be here shortly before six to get a briefing from the other shift. I always see most of their crew just sitting around on the lawn smoking cigarettes and jaw jacking. Sure it’s near the end of their shift, but I suspect they’ve been sitting there like that for most of the day.

I only get a half hour lunch for my entire twelve hour shift. It’s fucked up. They give us a couple of fifteen minute breaks as well but most people here lump them into their lunch period so they can have a solid hour to go get something to eat. Lately these bastards have been pulling me off my lunch break to help out on some T/As because someone called in sick, or someone is out on vacation. Seems like we’re always down a person or two. I’ve given them some lip about interrupting my lunch and all I get back from them is that “You’re not a team player” attitude. Dirtbags.

There’s this strange vibe about the people on my shift. None of them seem truly normal to me. I’m beginning to think of them as axe murderers and escaped psycopaths. The grinder guy is something else. He came up to me out on the shop floor the other night and handed me an odd shaped styrofoam box. I looked at him as if to say what the fuck but I opened it anyway. I peered inside the lid to see a painted dinner plate. Like one of the ones you see advertised on TV with a landscape on it, or the Star Trek crew. All those plates are cheeseball and instead of actually using them for serving food you’re supposed to hang them on the wall or something and just stare at them. I tried to feign interest in the plate but man, it was so white trash. The grinder guy told me he collects them. I handed it back to him and said thanks. Then I quickly walked away to the other side of the building. There’s alot of nasty rumors floating around the plant about the grinder guy. Some say he lives out in the woods and has oil paintings on his walls of himself wearing elaborate gowns and dresses. One of the other employees swears on his mother’s grave that’s what he saw there once. I dunno. Coming out of nowhere to show me a dainty plate is a little odd though. He always wears a full body chemical suit even though most of the time he doesn’t have to wear one. And he always walks around carrying an old mangy Band-Aid tin box. I don’t know what’s in it and I think I’ll keep it that way…

I’ve still been running the Stripper Booth most of the time. The drain system for the chemical wash basin isn’t working worth a shit anymore so it’s really slowing me down. It’s taking considerably longer to get the color shifting pigment collected and dry. I keep bugging maintenance about it but they just blow me off. Like I’m seeing stuff or being stupid about it and lying to them. Yeah, like it’s my fault the shit doesn’t drain out a pipe anymore. Idiots. Sometimes while I’m trying to drain off the chemicals I end up spilling some of the green to gold mix on the tips of my steel toe work shoes and it’s stylin’. With each step I take the top of my shoes color shift. It’s fun to watch.

They’re starting to train me up on some of the staging of supplies out on the factory floor so they’ve been getting me squared away driving the specialized lifts they have here. I’m supposed to go through some official deal with OSHA soon and I’m going to get some kind of a license to drive these monsters. One of them looks like the bi-pedal lifts in the film Aliens but instead of legs on the bottom it has a rolling platform. You have to stand up in it to operate it. It takes some getting used to compared to a regular old forklift that you sit down in to drive. I’m used to having a steering wheel in front of me and this wacky stand up job has a flightstick and a crank for steering it. It’s different. I’m doing OK with the regular forklifts so far. I only had one mishap when no one was around the other night. I was dumping the trash bins out back of the building and when I thought I had cleared the dumpster I put the forks down and hit the reverse. The bin I was carrying got caught on the dumpster and made a horrible racket. The front of the lift started to come up off the ground. I stopped what I was doing and hit the controls in the reverse order and got straightened out. They’re overly safety conscious here so I’m glad no one saw what I had done. They freak out at the drop of a hat and probably would have written me up.

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~ by factorypeasant on October 20, 2004.

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