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Daily Fruit

The 9 to 5

Sunday, Dec 24, 2006 from Glendale, Arizona

On this trip I’ve watched all kinds of people go to work. Some moan and groan not wanting to go. Some people merely mention anything. And only a few said they love work. I’ve seen a selection of various jobs so far, log truck driver, radio DJ, community college marketing director, elementary art teacher, rancher, producers, film crew, waiters and waitresses, Mary Kay and Pampered Chef sales, real estate agent, and one of my favorites is Dave from South Dakota who worked at EROS where they do satellite imaging. I have to say it’s a pretty good span of careers that I’ve witnessed in some part. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that no matter the job there is always much more to it than people realize.

While in the car today with Ricardo and little 2 ¬Ω year old Alex, Alex asked me if I had to go to work. Well, I told him I just play all day like he does, and take long naps when I want to. Sometimes I feel guilty to watch people go to work and I feel lazy. But I won’t get into that.

Studs Terkel is one of my greatest inspirations for a project such as this. There is one tiny anecdote he shares quite often that I believe sums up a lot of what it’s like to work the 9 to 5. The following is as told by Studs, taken from this dialogue. He’s telling another person how he gets pieces of American life out of the people he interviews.

So in this case, it’s a gas meter reader. You know what a gas meter reader is, don’t you? The guy who comes into your basement with a flashlight. You’ve had that, haven’t you?” He visits you – a gas meter reader.

So I asked him, “Tell me about your day. What goes on in your mind?” He says, “Two things: dogs and women.” As he’s talking, I realized the first is the reality; the second, the fantasy.

…I say, “Okay, let’s talk about the women now.” He says, “Oh, well, nothing has happened, you understand. Nothing’s happened. However, in my mind, you go to a house – ” and he names a nice suburb on the north side of Chicago. “And the lady of the house is very pretty. And the sunshine, the summertime, and she’s on the patio taking a sunbath. That is, she’s lying on the blanket with her back up, her chest down. She’s in a bikini and the bra is unbuttoned so that the sun can shine on her back in full. What I do is I creep up very, very softly. And when I’m right next to her, I holler, ‘Gas man!’ and she turns around – !” And then he says, “You know, I get balled out an awful lot. But it makes the day go faster.”

That is what goes on in the minds of many people – “How do you make the day go faster?”

I remember relating to this throughout most of my jobs in high school and college, even jobs I loved, and even on great days. People always try to find those little things at work that make the day go by faster or to take a little bit away from those boring days.

A few days ago while in San Diego Teddy came up to me and said, “I have a bone to pick with you, you’re not making as many blog and photo updates, it gives me something to do while at work.” He may have even said something along the lines of it makes the day go by faster. That’s an honor. And he’s not the only person to tell me that. To know that there are people across the country looking forward to that next post really gives a lot of meaning to what I’m doing. And to all those people this one’s for you, there is nothing better than those small things during a long day at work that give you a little smile. They go a long ways, and some of them are things that last a lifetime.

Blog Date Posted: Dec 24, 2006 | 698 words | comments 5 Comments
Comment by jenn
From somewhere, NJ

I agree with Teddy! Keep em coming! ttys bugs.. :)

Comment by Dixie
From North Pole, SD

Dave was flattered you mentioned him. (and me too!) We wish you a very Merry Christmas! I love to see your mom and dad's comments. The boys say hello. I am making a big batch of homemade caramel rolls if you want to stop by... And to all a good night.

Comment by Jen
From Chicago, IL

I'm with Teddy, I know I'm dissapointed when I'm trying to kill time at work, only to find nothing new. At great risk I might add, as my computer faces one of the busiest "intersections" in the office! (There's no passing off pictures of a Christmas party circa 1986 as work-related.) It's kind of ironic how people talk about life being short, yet we can't make a mjority of our day go fast enough. But that's beside the point. This trip as become more than just something that you enjoy; you've got a lot of people invested in it now! You've probably got more people depending on you to "do your job" than the average 9-5er. America is bored! I guess it's just nice to see someone finding GOOD in a country where bad seems to dominate. So keep it up or you're fired. ;) P.S. Have a holly, AND jolly Christmas.

Comment by dad
From baraga, MI

Bugs, you are following somewhat in your grandpa Sailors footsteps. He always took an interest in peoples careers and would visit many people in their work place. A grreat experience. And I agree with Teddy and Jen, we never get enough pictures or blogs. You are giving all of us life these days. (Maybe we've had enough pics of Teddy, but I would take more of Kristy) : )

Comment by Aunt Catherine
From Grandville, MI

Just to let you know that I have downloaded all your blogs etc. to give to Uncle Art for Christmas, our will be warm and green, hope your will be Merry!