life is full of repetitions.


a hot summer day in sacramento, july 2000. i give dong a ride to our work, and in my dad's camry, we're listening to blink-182, or else it's the mxpx mixtape that got stuck in the stereo. we're wearing shorts, blasting the air-conditioner. it's over 100 degrees again, seems to have been that way forever. it's the kind of heat that you can see, moving ghost-like across the street, and the fools who dare walk in it are suffocated by its presence. the steering wheel is hot, and my hands burn to the touch. i can only keep a few fingers on it at a time.

we don't speak much, as there isn't much to say. we're going to work, and work is awful. we arrive and dong's brother is tagging some clothes. there's a mexican woman doing some ironing. the manager is in his dark office, and he's talking on the phone. there's no music or talking, just the sound of the giant fans blowing and the buzzing sound it makes when it hits the plastic bags hung on the conveyor belt. there's the squeak of the conveyor belt, too, which sounds as though it has never been oiled. we await our manager's departure. that's when the fun can start.

i grab my drawer, and i count the change to make sure it adds up to $100. i slide the drawer in the slot, and since there are no customers, i start tagging clothes. i grab a safety pin, one after another, and i stick tags to the seams, anywhere on the article of clothing that won't leave a noticeable hole. i used to wear gloves, and i should be wearing gloves, but it's to the point where i no longer care. i've seen everything a person could possibly get on a piece of clothing: ice cream stains, ketchup stains, sweat stains, blood stains, unidentifiable ones that i'd rather not think about as well. it's an awful job, but it has its perks.

around lunch, dong and i stand at the counters and we wait for the busty redheaded milf to make her parking lot appearance. she wears business outfits, and dong likes to say she has "tig ol' bitties." she drives a big black explorer, and she works as a real estate agent next door. so far, she has only come into our store a few times, but each time, we give her free service. the kids who work at the burrito joint also get free service, even though they don't have tig ol' bitties. in return, they give us discounts on lunch.

i get a burrito for lunch, and i eat it next to one of the giant fans. i sit and listen to eminem and dr. dre on the radio. when the song is over, the dj announces for the umpteenth time that the up in smoke tour is coming to arco arena. i think it would be cool, but i probably won't go. i watch holly and dong in the store tagging clothes, ringing up customers, separating laundry into bags. since i only work afternoons and evenings, i never even see the actual cleaning process. as far as i know, we receive clothes, we tag them, and then we give them right back.

there are just a few more hours on the clock. i stand at the counter, and since it's a slow day, there aren't any clothes left to tag. "it's the same shit everyday," i say, to no one in particular. "life is full of repetitions," dong says. it's as though he's issued me a warning. i don't respond. at the end of the day, we buy jamba juice, dinner, cds - anything we want, anything at all. it almost makes up for the whole day being lost.

1 comment:

Aby said...

'World's a small bucket' Isn't.

It's summer season here in India and every day temp. is 100+. Your post was almost similar to a normal day in Delhi