Now that I’ve scored, tripped, and recovered, the really hard work begins. Interacting with the real world long enough to score again. It didn’t used to be this way. I used to have a job, I used to have insurance and benefits and a retirement plan. I used to have an estate. I used to think all that stuff mattered. I used to think TV was fun. I used to like food. Now it’s all just one big obstacle course, a series of rites and acts I have to perform to get high one more fucking time. All those skills I used to have, they’re all gone, they’re all worthless. The world has moved on and nobody wants a sysadmin anymore. They want something else, a wonderkid, a superman, they want someone who will do it all for them and lap up whatever money spills their way. I did that world once.
I start off at the day labor site. Nobody ever shows up looking for help, but sometimes there’s a guy with a line on some N. It’s always a good idea to be thinking one step ahead. Oddly today there’s someone there looking for a few guys to set up chairs at the convention center. He asks me if I speak spanish, and I say no. He asks me if I speak chinese and I say no. He stares at me like I’m something he flossed out of his molars for a minute, and looks around at the rest of the people there. He asks me if I do drugs and I say no. This is a litany, it’s a rosary prayer. No, I don’t do drugs. No, I don’t have any warrants. No, I don’t have any convictions. No, nobody is gonna come looking for me in the middle of the job. Yes, I will work for ten an hour, yes I will work for ten hours a day, no, I won’t report shit to the government. The guy appraises me one more time and thumbs me toward his truck. I walk to the tailgate and clamber over into the bed. A few minutes later, two other guys get up in the bed with me, one guy I know, Kevin or Peter or some jerkoff name like that. The other guy I’ve seen, but don’t know what kind of jerkoff name he might have. The truck lurches and we all fall off the bench, the whine of the electric motor giving way to a gentle cyclic thud. Hydraulic electric hybrid or something ridiculous like that. Only in America.
Kevinorpeter looks over and asks me if I know what the job is. I shrug. We turn to number three. The other jerkoff shrugs. This whole gig is starting to feel kind of weird. Normally if you don’t speak chinese, the cold call guys won’t take you because they have plenty of people who _can’t_ sell in China. If you can’t speak spanish, the manufacturing guys won’t take you, because you won’t be able to understand the management staff. If you can’t speak either you’re pretty much left to mucking out toilets or delivering take out, because just about everything else is cheaper to do with a couple bots. After all, why have five guys you pay nine thousand bucks a year landscape your property when you can pay fifty thousand for a Malaysian knock off of a Japanese landscaping bot which will last for ten years. The bot never gets hungry, never has a bad fight with a girlfriend and fucks up a hedge, it never breaks into the offices to steal all the TVs and laptops it can find.
We’re stuck with it now, I guess. We all kind of tune out of our shared confusion and feel the cold soak into our bones. Hopefully we’re gonna go hang posters on streetposts somewhere they haven’t standardized enough to automate, or something. I dig my hands into my armpits and shiver to pass the time.