Thursday, November 20, 2014
What Happened When I Took My Grievance to the Top (fiction -- sort of)
I was mad about how the money was going around. The usual stuff, you know: the fat cats were getting more than they could ever use and the skinny worker bees were staying overtime with the grunt work for peanuts. Usually I would just eat it, so to say, but this time I wanted speak up, be somebody. When I made the appointment the secretary kind of looked at me like who are you anyway and yes there is a cancellation so you can talk with the boss on such and such a day but you only have half an hour so make it quick. I wore my best shirt that day and spiffed up my belt over my baggy jeans that I had to roll up so they didn't get caught in my bike chain on the way to work. I was a PhD after all so I thought I should look my position in life. I wrote up questions, had them clamped to my clipboard and showed up early. Nobody there. The secretary and I talked small talk. She seemed nice enough. Five minutes after we were supposed to meet, the big guy arrives with his latte and newspaper. It's mid afternoon and he's just coming to work. Yeah. He waves me in and closes the door. I go through my spiel about how hard teachers are working and how the things we do are good for the university, the town, the state, the country -- hell -- the world. We are doing a service I say, a great service. We are teaching people to think and write and we should be fairly paid for doing that. The big guy listens for a while and then begins to drift off. I can tell his body is there, but his attention is like in Tahiti or something. When I stop, he looks at his watch and talks for the first time since I laid into my pent-up indignation. So, the guys says cry me a river and people put me here to keep people like you and the ones you want to help out of our neighborhoods before he turns back to his screen and waves me out with a hand that says meeting over. If we were downtown the muscle would have come after me for the bum’s rush but since we were here at the top where videos are watching and things are civil I just walked out on my own two feet past the pretty secretary. She didn’t so much as look up. I guess that’s what happens when you get the big red mark of non grata on your head and back where wonks can see it coming or going.