the vibe in my place of work today is quiet, chill
people with things of import on their plate (you can tell by their demeanour).
the scene is lounge beats and comfy booths.
there is a wall-size photo of about 70 women
none smiling nor talking
meticulously diligently sorting coffee beans.
here i am
would be we if you were here
the seemingly or in reality
(take your pick)
chatting writing planning gazing from and into navels mine yours and others
smart phones on every table and for some reason everyone wears grey tones today
its cost above average
about the daily wage of the women who sorted the beans (no i haven’t done my research in this particular case but i studied enough to have a Pretty Good idea and let’s be honest, one doesn’t need to study this to have this pretty good idea)
how do i feel about this reminder of me being served by these women, sitting here with my sweet leather boots and sexy silver air? if you were sitting here with me, and you might some day, how would it make you feel?
conflate time and space, turn the photo a portal.
walk thru it.
smell the humid stagnant air of the grey walled facility. choose a stool. sit down beside one of the women. she is about my age, perhaps younger
she’s wearing a hot pink tank top and a conservative beige skirt, shiny black hair pulled back with a blue clip, dangly earrings that maybe her mother gifted to mark a special occasion.
help her out. sort some beans–identify the bad looking ones and drop those into the steal bucket beside you, the good ones continue on the conveyor belt whirring along
hear the plinks around you, layered into the tinny radio pop music.
repeat. repeat. repeat.
do this for a few more hours.
how do you feel?
imagine the counterpart portal, if there were a large photo of us, sitting here, placed on the concrete wall where you hardly look because you’re focused on the bean sorting (just like the people on this side of the portal are focused on sorting out their bean issues)
what would be your commentary on them (that’s us)?
she’s done her shift and you float along with her…
on her way out picks up her faux leather purse and punches out.
see her walk down the street laden with stray dogs racing kids motorcycles squawking chickens. she stops for a sugar drink, sips the Real Thing thru a thin yellow straw, chats with the shopkeeper about the latest news (another corruption scandal and did you hear what the US is up to this time?)
then places the glass bottle in with the rest crosses the street and joins the bus queue.
board the bus with her. it’s packed with people and chickens, windows open so your hair wisps and weaves with hers, your touch connects with the two pressed on both sides of you, you’re sitting beside her, she has the window seat, she smells like baby powder and perfume and the man standing beside you shares his sweat and spice cover-up. he bumps into you on occasion while the overtaxed vehicle flies on the strip of highway the big important authority coordinated the building of with money you might have contributed to thru your taxes, and then slows to a bouncy meander thru the streets in the neighbourhood she calls home.
get off the bus, walk with her thru the maze of corrugated tin and little grey boxes and then close to destination
you see her kids run up to her, hugs and smiles.
she smiles. you smile.
and the portal folds into itself
back right here.
[this is what she contributes to. this is what i contribute to.]
no wifi in this joint, so bring your air stick. food is more than decent, coffee as mentioned, excellent. big windows on the other end of the photo.
i’ll work here again.
rating: 8.5/10 (more or less as meaningful a measure as those of the global conglomerate of bureaucrats i used to wish i worked for that excels in collecting comparing analyzing quantifying reporting on thru under and over and over
bean bean bean counting).