My recent temp assignment ended last Friday. I wasn’t sad about it. Originally, my wrangler told me it was a four week, 9:30-5, Monday-Friday thing.
He knows how I feel about this.
But, having not been on assignment for 16 months, I took it, despite not wanting to commit full-time to anything. My rationale was twofold: first, it’ll change up my pandemic imposed only-driving schtick; and, as an added bonus might serve to get me a future assignment.
Work is about relationships.
Anyway, it turned out that this business was BiPOC and woman-owned, so I felt even better for taking the plunge. Despite the fact that the owner referred to it on day one as a six week assignment.
Once again, sticking it out played into my favor, because after the scope was explained to me – entering eight months of payroll data into QuickBooks – and I was up and running, it seemed like a fine way to
go blind pass some time. Once I knew what I was doing, I even asked the owner how many pay periods she reasonably thought I should be able to get through in a day. She replied that two seemed about right…and I figured that I could do two pay periods in about six hours, so suddenly things were looking rather part-time for your favorite grumpopatomus.
Even better was the math suggesting that I’d be done in two week’s time at that pace!
Fear not…it was an interesting two weeks.
I’d drive a little on my way to the office, arriving at 10, well ahead of the owner each of the three times I saw her. Then I’d give a few rides on the way home so I arrived after paid street parking hours – I’m crafty like that. Really, I felt like I was having the best of both worlds, so I was content.
Until…because there’s always another shoe, right?
Oregon lifted nearly all restrictions just before the Fourth of July. The result was that if you weren’t certain where you were, you might think you were in the French Quarter during Mardi Gras.
Seriously, people were out in such numbers that they were packed to overflowing on the sidewalks. There were some corners where cars had to drive single file through a four lane intersection simply to avoid striking someone.
Because, somehow that would be the driver’s fault.
Anyway, I got a call on one such weekend night here in the Alphabet District to pick someone up a few blocks from my home. The pickup was on 14th at Hoyt, about two blocks from where a freeway exit dumps off about a quarter of the traffic of people coming downtown to party on weekends.
Of course these idiots take their full five minute wait time (and then some) to get down onto the street and into my car. Because when you’re getting picked up on a two lane road that close to a freeway off ramp, why would you concern yourself with minor details like how your lack of readiness impacts dozens of other people while your driver is double-parked in that five minute window?
Speaking of details, the app warns people of the company policy to protect its passengers and drivers – specifically, no one sits in the front seat and everyone wears masks. It pops up every damn time you book a ride.
Naturally, these considerate people are on a double date and ask if one of them can sit in the front. Since I was already done for the night and so close to home, I figured “Why not?”
I could be the cool mom.
Plus, I’d seen that they were only going to 9th and Couch, so it was going to be a quick ride…four blocks over and five blocks down. They quite probably could have walked there in the amount of time it took me to drive to them. Probably they could have even walked there in the six minutes I ended up waiting for them.
Naturally, once these inconsiderate idiots had piled in and we were underway, I saw that none of them had put on masks. After mentioning it, their leader said he didn’t know that was still a thing – and that they were all vaccinated.
I mentioned the above opportunities for him to have realized that it was, in fact, still a thing. Adding in that vaccinated or not, the safeguards were put in place to protect everyone, not just their privileged asses. But not wanting to harsh their mellow, I mentioned sometimes people miss things, like I had when it took two minutes for me to realize they weren’t wearing masks – while I was also driving.
This snot-nosed little shithead suggested that maybe my app needed updating.
Yeah, because this is my main source of income.
I was telling him that I was just being polite earlier and what a dumbass he must be for missing two reminders of the policies when we pulled up to the club and the line was around two corners of the block.
“Have fun!” I yelled as they slammed their car doors. I fully suspect they walked right up to the club entrance, pretending they didn’t notice the line.
Sharing this story with the only person I regularly saw at my temp assignment, I got a lil TMI that turned my amused rage into stunned discomfort. This person was the company admin, a real Jane of all trades.
She mentioned never knowing who was vaccinated and who wasn’t – which gave me an opportunity to praise the diligence with which she managed the temperature log for visitors and also tell her I’d overheard her coworker mention to her that her mother had been on her to get her vaccination done.
Thin walls, small office.
This is where the overshare came in.
I learned that the office manager – who I’d never met – was out for two weeks, isolating after her daughter was contacted about a COVID close call. And that she was also not vaccinated.
Then, this woman whose company I had enjoyed in the office during my assignment volunteers that she also is not vaccinated. That’s three of the six other people in the office. The remainders, I didn’t know whether they were or weren’t, but was surprised to realized that I’d just assumed they were.
Like a fool.
I check in to see if she knew that the black community was disproportionately affected by COVID – and she admits that yes, she knows.
I ask if there’s more truth to the distrust that blacks are reported to have of medical science than I’d given it. While she affirmed that those reports of distrust were true, that wasn’t why she hadn’t gotten her vaccination.
She somehow felt it was important to share that in addition to being late 50s and overweight, she also has diabetes and asthma.
I ran out of fingers to tally her co-morbidities on.
“I prayed about it real hard”, she said earnestly. “I figure if Jesus wants me to get the shot, he’ll put it on my heart and I just haven’t felt that.”
Ok, what the fuck.
You don’t trust doctors because they are exceedingly not black…but the old whitey who lives in the clouds is your trusted authority?
I can see the death certificate now. Cause of Death: FAITH.
It was all I could do to not say what I was thinking…I hope Jesus puts that vaccine on your heart before Mother Nature puts COVID on your lungs.
The next week, the owner calls out sick two days in a row and takes a COVID test the third day. It’s embarrassing how permissive people are when it comes to letting themselves look like fools.