The alarm rings, its 4:30 in the morning. I take a peek out of the window and sure as hell, its raining. I thank the Lord its not cold or worst yet, snowing. Regardless of conditions outside I have to make it to the jobsite. But its still dark and I have an hour before I have to be on the train, maybe it’ll stop raining. I put coffee to brew and start washing up for the day, as I recite my morning prayer. As I do this, I try to convince myself that what I do is for the good of the rank and file, I’m psyched.
I lug my 150 pound tool box down the stairs of my building; maybe I should‘ve been a furniture guy, less tools. I Get to the corner and I hear the rumble of a distant train. My instinct is to run for it but I’m burdened with the tools; nope, not catching this one. I get to the station entrance and again carry my tools, this time up the stairs, to the token booth area. I buy a Metro Card and load it with a few days worth of rides till I get my first check, I haven’t been working so every dollar counts. Yet again I climb another set of stairs that lead me to the actual train platform, I mumble to myself , “Damned elevated tracks”. I haven’t recovered my breath when I hear the rumble of another Manhattan bound train.
5:30 am: I scan the train for seats, all taken, so I lean up against the doors for the duration of the ride. It never ceases to amaze me that even at this time of the morning a working man can’t find a seat on a NYC train. I think to myself, the sun hasn’t even risen and already I’ve broken into a sweat. I look around and I see mostly blue collar workers. A true mix of nationalities, ages and sexes. Except for the occasional construction worker I wonder what the rest do for a living. The phrase, “The city that never sleeps” comes to mind, I chuckle to myself. Out of the corner of my eye I notice a carpenter’s emblem on the shirt of one of the construction workers, he notices mine, our eyes meet and we give each other a knowing look with a hint of pride. I wonder if he’s a company man. Can’t tell by the looks of him. Not that its bad to be a company man, its just not the same.
I near my train stop and look over the piece of paper with the company info and jobsite location. I wonder to myself if the OWL dispatcher gave me the correct info. I’ve become expert at finding jobsites with minimal information thanks to them. I’ve never worked for this company and wonder if the foreman will be the common creep I’m so used to dealing with, or the fabled fair man. I know they’ll assume I’m there to work as little as possible, but as usual I’ll prove them wrong. It can get lonely being the only list man on the job. Fucking OWL, a fucking joke. Even now it still baffles me how, almost always, the very people I am there to protect have so little confidence in me. What with all the corruption going on I can’t blame them for assuming we’re all the same. I wonder when the Steward’s credibility went to the dogs, I know the why. Hopefully I’ll get a good B.A. who backs his Stewards, again a rarity, if not, I’m on my own. Whoops! … almost missed my stop, fuck!