Monday, August 22, 2011

The Insufficiency of Work

It's early Monday mornings like this, when I'm on the border between the third coffee kicking-in and the last weekend beer fading from my mind, that I tell myself, you really have to want to go to work!

Then comes back an experience of several months ago.  I was tooling up the I-10 "High Rise" (a very steeply inclined, and tall, tall bridge over the Industrial Canal in east New Orleans).  Clipping along to work in my Colorado, I quickly closed in on the truly tiny "little clunker that barely could."

I had no idea what brand of vehicle it was, too old and beat to hell (it, not me).  It looked like a dented up soup can on wheels, with brake lights dimly flickering every few seconds from an apparent electrical short, as it agonized up the climb, slowly getting there.  Inside were five tightly packed men, the windows were up, and the driver was smoking.  Heaven help them, I thought.

Then I thought, Heaven help us.  It was a rolling danger to them, and all the road.  I thought how scary it would be for a school bus to roll anywhere near it.  Then, sure enough, one did.  Fortunately, it got around it without incident.  That's right, a loaded school bus had less difficulty conquering the "High Rise" than this poor working man's conveyance. 

I stayed safely behind, not being overly adventurous, and watched as it pulled off the I-10, one exit ahead of my own.  They went straight down the service road to a huge new apartment complex construction site.  I don't know if the men were immigrants or not, much less whether legal or illegal. I'm not into profiling.  But I well remember when even non-union construction hands were paid well enough to afford safe and decent transportation to work.  Now, many are paid just enough to keep them coming back for more every day, any way they can get there.

As a result, we all suffer, and are at risk in many more ways than you may think.  I realize now what the model of that vehicle was after all, it was the Conservative model.

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