On Saturday the 28th my family and I went to the beach. I’m laying out on the big towel I had purchased earlier that day, soaking in the sun. The wife and kids are splashing in the ocean. I’m watching my wife right at the shoreline in her swimsuit. It feels like maybe I’m in a movie. I try really hard to forget that the day before the temp agency called and said they had a job for me. I could work weekends after training, that during training the factory would let me leave early on Mondays and Wednesdays to teach my evening summer class.
All of this very much welcome news. Adjuncting is fulfilling in many ways, but the summer months are lean times and I thought I was going to continue to receive biweekly checks, but nope. The school pays out in two lump sums: once at the end of June and once at the end of August and I have bills to pay that do not understand that kind of economy. I suggested to the school they contact all the people I owe money to on a regular monthly basis and explain to them how and why they were going to get paid over the summer months. The school said that service was not available to me.
So the summer job hunt began. I’ve also applied at over twenty full-time teaching and library positions and I’ve never had so many potential opportunities in front of me before–places that I actually want to work at, become a part of that community.
Sunday, I took the kids to the park where old tires go to die. My son even saved me from a tire dragon. We took a picture of a Caterpillar. I slept on a tire hammock, until the kids came and woke me up. We found the Boodey Stone dated 1635 thanking Kind Philip for bestowing the land to attorney and poet Mr. Boodey. Not quite really what happened, but we’ll save that for another post!
Monday I moped. I’ve worked in factories before. So many depressed people without hope. People who couldn’t think past twelfth grade and didn’t want to. Mainly though, I wasn’t looking forward to the pain.
The T-Shirt factory is pretty cool though. It is the first factory I’ve worked where the employees are proud of what they do and what they make. They are smart, intelligent. I didn’t know factories like this existed, but I get it now when people talk about American manufacturing pride. I’ve heard in the past about The Made in America Movement, but thought the idea was a losing prospect, an idea that had found its time after the fall of Detroit, the plunder of Baltimore, Chicago’s emptying suburbs and schools: the rust belt across America more alive and vital than the Bible belt in the South. Pretty cool there is a last outpost here in New Hampshire, and I am sure there are others–hardworking proud people who make a decent living making things.
We hear so much bad news we often miss the bright points of light in our landscape–like the T-Shirt factory.
When my daughter opened the bottle and pulled out the piece of paper inside, we were rather disappointed. The paper was blank. There was no message. No one stuck on a deserted island pleading to be found, pleading for help.
Probably, the salt had washed clean any note that had been scrawled. We had hoped for some romantic notion. Days later I realized just the act of finding the bottle was a moment of built hope; picking up the bottle an act of faith, allowing the paper to offer no concrete message of desperate need of rescue off an island–conviction.
The message in the bottle can be anything we want it to be. It can be one of need, or the message can be one of the T-Shirt factory, sustaining and fruitful, nourishing to the soul because work by the brow is good and clean.
Eventually, I’ll have to quit. I’m in too much pain to continue. I want to lie down and cry after a shift. I lather my leg with Theragesic, smell the house to high heaven like wintergreen. Hobble around on a cane, take too much ibuprofen. Trips to the beach, wrestling matches with tire dragons, hikes through the woods all pretty much done for the summer. And the summer has not even begun. I can barely seem to make time for the blog anymore–and will be severely cutting back on the number of posts I personally write. Just Monday’s and Fridays. Would love for some guest posts on Wednesdays or grammar and or writing related guest posts on Thursdays. If there are takers for that kind of thing…
There is a guest post this Thursday advertising a #DarkLit Twitter chat. Pretty excited about that, actually. That seems to be the kind of thing I write in my novels: the darkness bound to the human soul–when I’m lucky, the hope breaks through.