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Author Topic: May 18th, 2009: "Stay Off My Lawn"  (Read 3458 times)
Citi
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« on: May 18, 2009, 01:37:41 PM »

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Back in 1996 I went to work for a company in Ansonia, Connecticut called Latex Foam Products. I worked there for a little over two years while I attended college at night. I was the only company driver at a company that didn't really need a company driver. So I spent a couple days a week driving and the rest of the time I was loading trucks on the docks with the rest of the shipping/receiving crew. Driving forklifts, receiving shipments, so on and so forth.

Those were tough years. The stench from the ammonia cocoate that was used in the mattress making process would burn out your sense of smell twenty minutes after you punched in on Monday (if you were lucky) and you didn't get it back again until late Saturday (once again, if you were lucky). I'd slog my way through the day and then hop in my pickup truck and race forty minutes away to Norwalk Community College for my night classes. If I was lucky I was in bed by midnight and up at six the next morning to start it all again.

This is the kind of place where, if you aren't standing at your post, waiting to start work, coffee in hand (I hate coffee) and ready to go fifteen minutes before your  shift started there was something wrong with you and if you were a single minute late you were basically stealing from the company. My supervisor never really cared all that much but the human resource woman was a real shark about it.

Back then I was starting to develop a case of sleep apnea that I carry to this day (and has only gotten worse) so I went and got myself diagnosed hoping it would get this HR witch off my back about the 1-6 minutes I was late once a week but it backfired on me. Next thing I knew she was asking me constantly when I was going to get "better" and wanted all sorts of access to my medical records.

Plus the guy I was sharing an apartment with, who also worked for the company on the loading dock; was a drug addict who would routinely have hookers banging on the door at 3 am looking for payment for "services" they had advanced him. This guy would drink beer at lunch, come back loaded and then be driving the forklift a thousand miles an hour around the plant. It was a wonder he never killed anyone.

Funny story; the president of the company once caught him having sex with a prostitute in the company's abandoned guard shack. Never fired him.

The company loved the guy. He was a huge liability; disrespectful, a rage-aholic, insulting and frankly, stupid. But he worked for peanuts and when he got angry (which was pretty much all day every day) he did the work of two men. They knew what he was; but there other considerations.

When the rare moment came around that I had the time and the money to do something most folks might consider "recreation" I liked to go to the movies. In my previous job I had been a store manager for Blockbuster and I was still deeply in love with movies. So when a brand new theater opened up only a couple miles away with nice new chairs and stadium seats with cup holders (and 12 screens!) I was pretty excited. I saw a lot of movies there in that short time.

So I went back to that theater the other day to watch Star Trek and got a double dose of depressing reminders; as to how much time has passed, and how old I'm getting.

The "new" theater is being remodeled. There is construction all around the front of the building and dumpsters filled with waste. When I walked into the actual theater I was going to see the movie in, the seats seemed small and uncomfortable. Several of them had garbage bags over them because they were so badly broken they were unsafe to sit in. The screen as well seemed dingy and the picture not comparable to the huge, digital images I've become used to in bigger, nicer theaters.

Now don't get me wrong, I had no sentimental attachment to that theater in particular. I guess it just reminds me of the fact that my youth is so rapidly slipping away; and that all the struggle I went through back then to finish school was for naught. At least back then I had no trouble finding work as a young guy, fresh out of the service with a GED. Now I've got an A.S. and a B.S. and the jobs are gone.

A lot of people like to talk about "when times were tough." I don't remember a time when times weren't tough.

Latex Foam actually burned to the ground a handful of years after I left. I was really close to graduating with my B.S. at the time and I remember watching it on TV from another part of the state cackling like an idiot.

I hated that place.

But they've renamed and rebuilt so I guess they get the last laugh. As I understood it they did really well by the employees who were left jobless after the fire. So good for them I guess.

If you want to read my other grounds for pre-old age depression click on the "Movies" tab and read my review of "Star Trek."

See you back here soon. Assuming I don"t have a heart attack in my sleep. Now GET OFF MY LAWN!
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