The Early Morning Work Days

I have recently begun working on a new job. I have to awaken very early, often before the sun comes out, and take the hour into the city. Lately it has been very cold in the city, on Thursday morning the temperature read 9F at 4:30am. I remember sitting over my bowl of oatmeal while watching the frost collect on the interior of the window, and wonder, “this is a harsh winter.”

It is harsh in many ways. Mostly, it is a terrible winter for the majority of people in this country, especially those who have lost their jobs and their benefits. I can only imagine how difficult it is for many people who have families who depend on them, loved ones who cannot work on their own. With more and more people losing work, there is a much higher demand for it, and therefore many will not find anything suitable for them.

Like many I take work that I can get these days. And so here I am, waking up extremely early, shivering with the frost of below freezing weather, walking the icy walk to the subway, and getting on the packed train. It is interesting how packed the trains are at this hour.

Today I was leaf-letting for some company.

It’s a bizarre job that I have. I work outside and give out fliers to people I do not know. Personally I do not like it, I don’t think anybody likes it. Yesterday I worked with an older Italian gentleman from Rome. He is a jazz musician, in his early forties, and here he is, standing with me outside Grand Central Terminal, freezing in below zero weather, handing out leaflets to people who somewhat look down upon us. I wonder if people look down upon me because I’m someone who works on the street, I’m one of those “street-people,” an annoying pest along the path to their jobs and back. But I think it has also to do with New York mentality, many people like to think of themselves as “above” you.

But today was truly a brutal day. Non-stop winds from all directions, at one point all of my fliers went flying across 7th Avenue, there was terrible frost. My skin would turn red and the tears would freeze against my cheeks. It’s a weird experience, and it brings me to human-level. And it allows me to understand reality a bit better. For so long I worked a rather cushy job, made a good wage, and took my earnings, my warmth, my money for granted. Today I awake too early, work too hard, eat and sleep too little. But it allows me to understand humanity better. It grants me the experience of understanding through what conditions most of us, as brothers and sisters in mankind, must struggle and find joy, peace, and happiness at the same time.

There is also a lot silence to the job. You stand alone, sometimes in two’s or three’s. Seldom you speak to one another because of the cold. Once in a while you’ll all break into a conversation about a random topic, and in five minutes you will notice that you both become quite once more, and your eyes focus back onto the ground, the mind focuses on keeping warm, and an hour passes, and then another hour passes, and your fingers start to freeze, and you mention to your work-mate, “it’s cold,” and shivering they will sigh and shrug their shoulder. In the meantime, you are silent. The city screams and hums, people rush by, and you study their faces – a curious young girl with a camera, a tall businessmen with a small overcoat, a confused tourist. You start to play games with your mind, you start singing melodies that you love, and sometimes I reflect on the life worth leading, the silent life. I think of the great characters I study, and the cold vanishes, for a second.

There is a weird appreciation that comes through such hard work, and perhaps even painful toil under such conditions. Perhaps because the soul knows it did hard work, or perhaps because the soul lacks knowledge.


~ by alexmalina on February 6, 2009.

One Response to “The Early Morning Work Days”

  1. ochen krasivo sashinka, ti moy luchiy drug, vse budet horosho!

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