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The Working Class

It's not always easy to find meaningful work.
It’s not always easy to find meaningful work.

The middle class is increasingly being squeezed into the lower class. It’s much like strapping a size 8 girdle on a fat chick. The wee sexy, delicious bits poke out the top end, but the rest just oozes out lower, and is far less tantalizing.

With that comes a broader, deeper, blanketing sense that the world is out to get you. No matter how hard you work, try to save, or hoped your now outdated Bachelor’s Degree would save you, the realization that this is as good as it gets depresses you even more.

Or maybe you don’t reach that obvious conclusion. Maybe you’re just bitter. Maybe you’re too lazy to think about what you read in the newspaper, or don’t see on the news.

But I don’t think that’s the case with you my sweet little dried apricots. No. If that were the case, you wouldn’t be here, with wonderful ole’ me now, would you?

If you work eye-to-eye with anyone (as in any type of customer service, or human services profession), you’re getting the short end of the stick. Someone else is making all of the money, and you’re schlepping their stuff so you can try to pay your bills.

If you were eye-to-eye with the end-user of any product or service, you get the brunt of every interaction. Some are pleasant, and others, well, let me sum it up;

1) People always think that you (personally) are trying to rip them off.

2) That your schedule should revolve around them, no matter what the hour or what the cost to you. (My personal favourite is the line, “Well, I work”, when trying to schedule appointments. I’ve got news for you genius, I do too, and this is when I’m available. ) No one is out to get your personally. We all have our limits.

3) People who disrespect your time. If you’ve set an appointment, you’ve done so for a reason. In other words, you’ve set aside time to pay particular attention to that individual. Being late for an appointment flies in the face of allowing anyone to provide good customer service.

4) Wasting time. If a professional has given you information. That’s the information. Don’t take it to Philosophy-Flipping-101. Just do what you need to do.

5) Leaving multiple messages the same day or within 24 hours for someone just slows down how fast they get back to you. Listening to your annoying 3 minute long whining session more than once is a waste of time, and as annoying as a toddler with a snotty nose and cling-on booger.

A special note to seniors and folks who don’t work…poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on someone else’s. Take up a hobby and make a cup of tea. We will get back to you. No one puts you off because they’re trying to tick you off. At the end of the day, unless you’re a sociopath, you want to leave your work feeling like you’ve at least helped someone, even in a small way.

Just a note to everyone out there who is poo-pooing unions right now; Give your head a shake. Unionized environments are quickly becoming the ONLY jobs that are secure, and can sustain a healthy family and social lifestyle. Don’t fall for conservative government fear mongering. Health care, fair wages and working hours are a right we should not have to fight for again.

Businesses are squeezing every second out of their employees until they burn out. If you have a problem with customer service these days, I suggest you get your saggy butt down to an Occupy event.

These are just a few short examples of how our faltering and bourgeois economy is dividing and conquering the working class. When you meet with someone eye-to-eye, as I like to say, you are meeting with another human being just like yourself, who is as worried, stressed and blessed as you are.

So, remember, if you’re meeting with a person, and their name isn’t on the sign above the business, they’re just trying to get by like you and I. Don’t be an asshole darlings.

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Loving the Library

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”~Dr. Seuss~
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
~Dr. Seuss~

The town where I grew up  had a population of approximately 500.

I used to ride my yellow bike with the banana seat and white, woven basket on the gravel streets to the library.

After getting the mail, I would prop my bicycle against the white, wooden-sided building that housed both the library and police station, and head on in to peruse the shelves.

I still have my first library card, and occasionally wield it as a small-town-badge-of-honour when my friends of urban birth gape, open-mouthed at the stories of my childhood. My library card number, unlike my current 14 digit library card number had only three digits: 003.

Yes, I was library member three. Quaint and frightening all at the same time. I need not go into the functional literacy rate of the county that hosted this library.

Books were my therapist, priest, and security blanket  growing up in a small town. To this day I’m convinced that I was indeed found under a cabbage leaf .

I was a regular at the local library, and by the time I was 10 years old  I’d read through the Harlequin’s, and Bob Geldof’s autobiography.

I hated having to give up my precious books. Big bookstores nudged the library out of my life. The seductive ease of ordering on-line became a convenient way to feed my addiction.  As a result,  I have lugged and moved and rearranged books for years.

I still have some of my favourites from my childhood and university years, as well as a handful of sentimental little board books that I used to read over and over to my own child.

It was a bittersweet reunion when, just over a year ago I  re-ignited my previously flaming-hot relationship with the local library. It wasn’t long before I got over the two things that had become irreconcilable about my relationship with the library; not being able to keep the book, and getting the willies thinking about someone else’s dirty hands all over the darn thing while perched a la toilette.

The relief witnessed by my bank account and the ease of placing holds on hard to find books, helped heal theOCD fear of catching germs from a loaned book.

My previous post about parents choosing inappropriate activities for children may have made you think that I’m some sort of child-hating monster. Au contraire my pretties.

The library  is almost completely kid friendly. First of all it’s free.

Libraries have programs designed specifically for tots.  Children can touch the books without fear of a burly security person dragging them and their parents outside.

Contrary to the environment in which I was raised, I now live in Canada’s most culturally diverse region. I share city resources with people from around the world; some scraping to get by, and others much better off than most. Good libraries offer communities a rich resource to bridge the gap between the 99% and the 1%.

I’m going to ask you to question why you need to own books  that you will likely only read once despite your best intentions to re-read them. Come on. Be honest with yourself.

Why not support a resource that exists to enrich the entire community?  Why not support a resource that may potentially be the mentor of a young child who has no resources to draw from at home?

Go ahead, rekindle your romance with the library darlings. Who knows, you might just learn a thing or two.