Thursday, March 19, 2015

Through the looking glass. A broken looking glass.

One moment you are enjoying life and the blue sky with puffy white clouds. And the next moment, well, shit happens. Sometimes. Like this:

I suppose the cosmos determined that it was time that I paid up, some more.  Can't fight that cosmos.

"You have to pay a $100 deductible."  Not that bad a deal to replace the windshield, I figured.  I was even Polyanna-ish thinking that it could have been worse.

The auto repair folks gave me a ride.  It turned out to be more than a ride.

"How has your day been thus far?" the young fellow asked me.  He didn't look older than twenty-five.

"Looks like I am draining my wallet today. Other than that, things are well. Thanks."

Conversation is not a solo act.  I followed up with "How about you?"

"Am looking at a long day" he said. But, he continued to have a pleasant expression on his face.  Not like me, who was born with a face that apparently cannot even convey a smile!

"Oh yeah?"  That was the cue for him to continue.  And he did.

"After a full day here, I head to work four hours at UPS."

"Wait a sec, are both part-time jobs, or is one full-time and the other part-time?"

Turns out that the UPS job is a part-time one on top of the full-time job.

"That is a long day.  An exhausting day, I imagine."

"Yes, tiring sometimes."

"I teach at Western Oregon.  A few weeks ago a student was describing the tiring job he had at UPS, sorting boxes and loading trucks" I told him.

"Hey, if people are ready to hire you, then I bet you have a very good work ethic."

"I suppose so. I think I have a good work ethic.  That matters a lot" he said.

For a second he seemed to think about his life and experiences.  "It worked out well because I am not the scholarly type" he said.  "I love the trades."

I was yet again reminded that we do a huge disservice to the young by pushing an unhealthy ambiance right from elementary school years that those who don't go to college are losers, and that the trades are only for the ones who can't make it.  This young man is yet another evidence in my pile that there are plenty of people who love what they do, enjoy their lives, understand the world, are wonderfully articulate, and all of that without ever stepping their foot on a college campus.  Life is not about piece of paper that the college diploma is.

The ride ended.  "Thanks for the ride, and the chat."

He put his hand out.  "Thanks. I am ___."

"I am sriram."



"Got it. Sriram."

I wished him well.

I got more than $100 worth out of the shit that the cosmos flung my way.
The score: Cosmos 0 versus sriram who is a gazillion dollars wiser after chatting away with a twenty-five year old young man.  The cosmos lost big time! Again!!!  I am all set for the next round with the cosmos.


Ramesh said...

How did that happen ???? Looks strange - not a flying missile cracking the windshield. So what ??

Interestingly, in your "old country" there is a massive dearth of tradesman. So much so that customers have to beg a plumber or a carpenter or an electrician to come. And he will come at his sweet time and you better be home. There's a big premium on the money they can earn, over say an entry level office worker !!

Because of the sheer growth of the construction industry, there continues to be a big shortage of tradesmen. To day, it is almost an aspirational job , provided you get the necessary skills.

Sriram Khé said...

Am guessing it was a stone that was projected from the ground by the tires of the vehicle that was ahead of me ...

The trades issue is a tad more complicated though. One of the downsides to gadgets being highly reliable compared to years past is that they don't break down often. Laundry machines, faucets, whatever break down less and that is bad news for the journeyman technician who no longer has plenty of jobs. It requires a very different kind of trade skills anymore. Almost an artisanal kind. Those tradespeople are in tremendous demand. Otherwise, the old stories are no more the case--stories of plumbers and electricians earning decent incomes are of the past anymore. The Great Recession has further messed up the construction industry and thrown off quite a few tradespeople off their vocations ...

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