Archive for May 12, 2020

They Call Me Red

……

 

20 November 2013

“Hi Chuck, I wasn’t expecting to see you today.”

“Well, I talked, on the phone, to my lady friend last night. I told her I’d meet her for coffee this morning. I did. We had our coffee and talked for about fifteen minutes before she had to go to work. Then I figured,  I’m down here anyway. It’s not that cold out, so I might as well try to collect some money. So here I am. As a matter of fact, I just arrived. I’ll probably stay until about ten-thirty, then I have to get some more groceries. I got my stewing beef and chicken, but I need some Oxo for stock. I think I’ve got the beef, but not the chicken.

“I had a hell of a time last night. I was talking to my son on the phone. He’s been getting calls from Bell about his phone service. I could barely hear him, so I called Bell. I could hear a faint voice on the other end. I shouted my phone number and said, ‘Please call me back.’ About an hour later I got a callback. The woman said they were checking on the problem and would call me later when they had it fixed.

“About two-thirty in the morning I had to get up to go to the bathroom. The phone rang. I picked it up, said, ‘Hello!’  There was no answer. I didn’t want to get woken up in the middle of the night, so I turned the phone off. I went back to bed, then I heard this loud busy signal. I shouldn’t be hearing a busy signal if I had the phone turned off, so I took it off the charging stand. I don’t like doing that. I usually move the phone to my bedside table because, you never know, it might be a family tragedy. Anyway, I still haven’t got that sorted. I have my cell phone though, for emergencies.”

A garbage truck turned the corner. Chuck said, “Did you hear about the man who went to the employment office to get a job as a garbage man. He got the job, but they told him that he’d be classified as a Sanitary Engineer. He got home and his wife said. ‘You may be a Sanitary Engineer, but take a shower, you smell like a garbage man.

“That reminds me of when I worked for the government. I had some fancy title, but basically, I was a ‘gofor’ –go for this, go for that. If the front desk got a request for a file she’d fill in a form, have it signed by her superior, who would have it signed by the top brass. Then, I’d be given the requisition and would be sent to pick up the file. Below Queen’s Park is a series of tunnels connecting Building A, to Building C, to Building B. That’s for security so that in case of invasion, the intruder wouldn’t be able to find his way around. Anyway, once I got the requisition it would need to signed by a guard in the tunnel, he’d get it signed by someone else, who’d get it signed by someone else, finally it gets signed by the top brass and I’m allowed to pick up the file. What a load of bullshit. It would be the same process returning the file.

“Including me there were four men and four women, doing what two men and two women could have done. I remember the women. Rebecca was a big red-headed lesbian. Gloria was married and had a couple of kids.  Ellie, I don’t remember so much about her. Dorothy was the tough one. She wore her hair pulled back in a bun; very severe looking. She got me in trouble one day. We weren’t supposed to look out the windows into the courtyard. Well, one day Dorothy caught me and reported it to the higher-ups. I was called on the carpet and asked to explain my self. I said, ‘It’s true, I was looking out the window. What caught my attention was two men arguing loudly. One reached in his pocket for a gun.  I saw the gun. I didn’t know what to do.’ They reported it to security who conducted a search. Nothing came of it. I was off the hook.

“Sometimes, I’d get a request to pick something up at the Hepburn building. They’d give me a bus ticket for the fare there and the fare back. Well, Queen’s Park is just a block from here and the Hepburn Building is straight down here, at the corner of Bay and Wellesley. It’s a ten-minute walk, so I’d pocket the bus tickets pick up the package, go for a coffee, read the newspaper and wander back about an hour later. That was the stupid part of the job, but I got to meet the Ontario Premier.  Bill Davis was in office at that time. He was a decent guy, we even had a coffee together, one time.

“I didn’t like what he did about the cutbacks though. We were told our wages were frozen, no raises for two years. This didn’t affect the big shots. No sir, they got back pay and bonuses for thousands of dollars. I was the guy who delivered the checks. Boy, was I pissed off. The next day I quit.

“Remember that fiasco with the Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow? Jack Kennedy said to Diefenbaker, ‘We’re in the business of building planes. You stay out of it and buy from us.’ Diefenbaker was a chicken shit. He caved in to Kennedy;  so, everything was scrapped. That cost Canada fifteen thousand jobs and millions of dollars. That plane was the most advanced of all the fighter jets. Canceling the Arrow cost Diefenbaker the next election.

“On our breaks, we used to go to a restaurant near the corner of Wellesley and Nicholas St. It’s gone now. It was where the Segovia is today. It was funny, the women all together on one side and the men on the other. On occasion, from across the room, mind you,  a woman would open her legs and give us a peek.

“I shouldn’t have given up that job. I know that now. If I’d stayed, my pension would be $64.00 a month more than it is now. I’d be able to live on that. I’ve been around for seventy years. I’m too old for this shit.”

~~~

Sample my books for free — To date, $1945.00 has been donated to the homeless:

Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
http://buff.ly/1SGzGCY ($2.99 Download)
http://buff.ly/1qLHptc ($.299 Download)
https://buff.ly/2lUfp6Q ($.99 Download)
https://buff.ly/2Gkoyxj ($2.99 Download)

They Call Me Red:
https://buff.ly/2GJSDsG ($.99 Download)

Podcasts:
http://buff.ly/1Pxlf9p
http://www.blunttalk.libsyn.com/
http://buff.ly/1XU368M
http://buff.ly/2iYvOE4
http://buff.ly/2jdjZd6