Wednesday, January 20, 2016

My People

I'd like to talk for a minute about people. Ah, yes. The old art of a person talking to people about the subject of people. That never happens. And it always goes so well.

As I've mentioned before in my blog, I recently got married. My husband and I got married in Las Vegas, near no one we know -- including us. We were incredibly lucky, however, because we still had almost 100 people join us for the wedding. 

I had lots of family there -- because my family is fucking awesome. I had lots of new family there as well because my husband's family also happens to be fucking awesome. I can pick 'em, boy. I also was lucky enough to have a bunch of friends from high school make the journey from Cleveland and considering I had my 20 year reunion last year, it's not like we're all still hanging out during the football games together. I had writing friends of mine fly in -- women I met online 15 years ago who changed my life in so many ways. And I had friends that I share with my husband make the journey for us, as well. 

Basically, yes, I am the queen of everything and have the best friends on the planet earth. Suck it, everyone else. But...

I'm not gonna be talking about any of these marvelous people, though. 

Now, you know, we did a lot of talking in 2015 about raising the minimum wage. Like, a lot of talking. I heard it on the streets (like you do). I saw it on the news. I read it in papers. And I was drenched in it on Facebook. I witnessed a lot of people say a lot of really shitty things about people who hold minimum wage jobs. A lot of people that I would have never expected to be so aggressively angry at minimum wage workers. A crazy amount of people who seem to think that minimum wage jobs are some kind of starter bullshit job that only 16 year old kids work. 

Ah, ignorance. Still alive and well in the 21st century. Alive and beyond well. Fuck, alive and running for president. 

The people I want to talk about here are the group of insanely wonderful people that I worked with for a couple of years, a couple of years ago. This fantastic group of individuals, all of us real live adults, worked at a movie theatre chain in Los Angeles. Educated individuals, hard working vets, people who truly know the definition of the words "work ethic" -- all started at minimum wage and worked for years for a place that gave the bare minimum in raises for even the best of employees. 

5 of them drove in from Los Angeles to join us. By far, the largest turnout from either of our varied work lives. They were ecstatic for me and excited to meet my husband. Dressed to the nines and ready to dance the night away. They were perfect. And honestly, such a highlight of the evening. And I had a good evening. 

These are some of the best, most wonderful people I've gotten the chance to know in my life (and I have no shortage of amazing people surrounding me). These are people that worked suicide shifts on a regular basis, that worked over 40 hours a week a lot of the time, and weren't offered even the most minimal of health insurance coverage. These are all adults who take their jobs seriously, whose goal may have been to move on to other things but are living in reality where that may take longer than you want or expect. And these are people that are not an anomaly. There are more of them. I know. I worked with others fitting this description. 

And these are the people that you're saying don't deserve a living wage.

These are fucking hard-working real people. Good people, caring people, kind people -- people who deserve to be able to do more than simply pay their rent each month and put gas in their cars. 

Every single month I worked at that movie theatre, I struggled. I struggled to pay rent, to buy food, to get medicine. I wasn't eating caviar and living in a loft. I was eating raman noodles and living in an efficiency in Koreatown. And the thing is...I wasn't unimportant. I ran the bar. I was trusted to do the inventory and the ordering. I created drinks and rewrote policy. And I struggled. I struggled living a normal life, living a life that others take for granted. I struggled with my health -- with long hours in a hot kitchen, on your feet all day, some days not having enough time to get home, get a full night's sleep and get back in the morning. 

Here's the bitter reality...what I just described? Straight up, this is the world we live in. You may want to live in a world where only teenagers and senior citizens looking to try something new during retirement work minimum wage jobs and if that's the case, you should start working on changing the world post haste. But right now, here in America, in the year of reality, we have a shit ton of businesses that won't even hire someone under the age of 18 for minimum wage positions (like the one we all had) and chances are, if you see a senior working one of these jobs it's not cause they have more time on their hands than they're used to -- it's because they fucking need the money to cover the ridiculous cost of prescription medication in this country. So for now, maybe rethink some things. Maybe consider that your one-sided view of minimum wage workers might not be that accurate. And, if you're able, have a little compassion for your fellow man, no matter what their station in life. Because if you feel like someone is beneath you, you're probably looking at things upside down.

No comments:

Post a Comment