As hinted at earlier, I am once again in the world of the gainfully employed. My official title is Route Sales Driver for Interstate Brands Corporation. Put more simply I am selling/delivering Hostess brands. Wingin' the Wonder Wagon. Trippin' on the Twinkie Truck. Or, perhaps most accurately, Delivering the Diabetes. It is really one of those strange karma deals that got me here. The day my position was eliminated at my old gig and I was at the height of my misery - down with people, down with companies, down with just about everything - KT and I were heading to the grocery store when I saw a bread truck and said, "Maybe I should just get a bread route". It was a tongue-in-cheek statement, one which I didn't even recall saying until KT reminded me when I was called for an interview. Being much more in-tune with the universe than I, she immediately said, "you put it out there and thus it became" (I'm kinda like Jesus in that way). Regardless of whether you believe in karma or not, however, the job was one of several (over 50) that I applied for and the only job I received so much as a call back on. So, long story short, I interviewed, did a "ride along", interviewed again, went pee in a cup and started on Monday. Some early impressions:
- I was unemployed for exactly 59 days, or just over eight weeks. According to the NY Times (and they know everything) the average length of unemployment is 37.1 weeks (9 months!). So, I feel pretty good about getting back in the game after a short two month summer vacation. Had I been unemployed for nine months I would have surely reached Charlie Manson levels of lunacy. Fortunately, eight weeks only brought me to Charlie Sheen levels.
- In 60 days I will officially be a motha fuckin' Teamster. I just like saying that. I'm fully aware that unions can be as polarizing as religion and politics, but I'm ecstatic to be joining one. I grew up in a union household and my parents still rave about the benefits they received because my dad was part of the UAW. Plus the Teamsters just held their annual convention in Las Vegas (the town dirty Teamsters' money allegdy built) and their president is Jim Hoffa - yes Hoffa. I will be dilegently searching for books on Teamster history now.
- Speaking of books, I can still read them. When I get home from this job, the job ends. I don't have to think about it until I arrive the next morning. I asked the guy I am training with if he ever stresses about his job when he goes home and he looked at me as if I asked him if he enjoyed gang bangs. Books, movies, running, Schlitz Sports Club, this blog - all items I didn't have time to do previous to losing my job - I will be able to continue to do. I won't be continually haraunged at all hours on all days via emails/phone calls. Hell, I don't even have an email address with this gig. I operate a tiny hand held "computer" with only a number pad and Enter button. That's about as analog as you can get these days - and it's awesome.
- I start work at 4:30 each morning. No, this wasn't accidentally placed in The Good. I love starting work this early for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, it means getting home early. On Monday I was home at 1:00. Yesterday I was home at 2:30. Plus, I haven't slept past 6:30 in the morning in over 19 years (hmm...how old is Al?) so a couple of hours earlier isn't really an issue. I'm at my productive best early in the morning and dawn - when everything is eerily quiet, serene and beautiful - has always been my favorite time of day. I was apprehensive about a 9:00 bedtime, but as usual KT set me straight in her famously loving gentle way by saying, "you're always old man asleep on the couch by that time anyways, so what's the difference?". Touché.
- It's an active job. It involves a lot of lifting, walking, climbing, pushing, pulling, etc. I won't be sitting behind a desk with my eyes glazing over staring at a computer screen (at least until I get home). I have yet to come across another bread guy who is obese. It would be pretty hard to do with this job.
- I no longer have a weekend. Ironic, as unions' catchphrases are often "from the people that brought you the weekend". My days off are Wednesday and Sunday. This will take some getting used to and pretty much eliminates being able to go anywhere too far away for the weekend. More devastating, however, will be the loss of Friday night Happy Hour, which is always a highlight of the week. If you want to be one of those annoying bright-side people, however, I suppose you could look at it like this: I'm never more than three days away from a day off.
- It's a D.O.T. job, which means random drug testing. Before you snicker and make stoner jokes, I passed my test, and I will pass any tests they give me - I'm not worried about that. It's just that I think random drug testing is incredibly invasive and stupid. It's like randomly selecting people to stand trial for burglary or murder. Having to prove your innocence even though there is no evidence or even suspicion of guilt bothers me. I can understand why a driving job would require a pre-employment or a post-accident screen but random tests can bite me. (Side note: I once saw a sign on the front door of a Blockbuster that said "We drug test our employees for your safety". Thank god for that. Heaven forbid someone stoned suggest a movie. You can only watch A Clockwork Orange so many times.)
- Driving a bread route is, admittedly, not quite the job I had fantasized about when I first became unemployed. However, since my repeated harassing emails to the Bundesliga, St. Pauli, Eurail, Sparta Rotterdam and the Swedish Allsvenskan have (so far) failed to convince them that they absolutely must immediately hire me to travel Europe on their dime and write English language content for them, it will have to suffice for now. However, if they do finally realize that they can't live without me, I might still be open to considering it. Don't tell Hostess.