Seen an old friend today. James and I were good friends back in the early 80’s. we worked together at Canadian Tire. James got fired for sleeping on the job. Literally. He was found sleeping in the warehouse. Never kept in contact with him afterwards.
I seen James today at Subway. He and his wife were ‘all chat’. I asked how he was, if he was working, (you know, small talk), while I waited for my order. He said “never worked since Canadian Tire. Think I hurt my back working so hard there.” I am thinking ‘for crying out loud, that was 1981, this is 2020 and the only job you had was that one???’
“You are some lucky” he said. “Your own home, a nice car, nice clothes. Wish I had those things”
It is hard not to tell people how you feel sometimes. I wanted to explain to him how after leaving Canadian Tire ( I worked there for three weeks), I worked as a pulp cutter for 20 years, then went back to school several times, and did other jobs until being hired to my current job. I wanted to tell him that I worked for everything I ever had, and I still owe lots. I wanted to tell James that if he worked, he could have all those things too, but I didn’t. I wanted to tell him that it is not all that ‘easy’, working, paying bills, paying mortgages, paying car loans; but I didn’t. Guys like James wouldn’t understand.
My dumb question of “So, what have you been doing the past 30 years” got me this answer:
“Nothing much, met my wife, had a few kids, rented an apartment. The wife works (on the side) but we are pretty much dependent on welfare.” There you have it.
He ended our conversation by telling me how he cannot wait for ten more years. I was dumb enough to ask why.
“Retirement, Man nretirement! I can’t wait to retire!” he said. “Imagine when we retire, we will be making the same money” he added. I wish he didn’t.
Retire from what? I wanted to ask. You worked for a month when you were 17 years old. You never did a tap your entire life, other than make a few babies who I am quite sure are using the system the same way you do. What he doesn’t realize is that by ‘retiring’ from social services, he will stand to lose lots. Things like his free drug card, his income (is it called income if you never worked to get it?) will be lower? Its no good to burst his bubble, let him retire. I for one do not want to wish away my years looking for an easy life.
Thats All in this rant.
Oh, he asked if me and my wife could have him and his wife up for a few drinks sometime… I wanted to say, ‘Yes, in 30 years’ but I didn’t.