Some Kind Of Working-Class Hero
It’s after midnight. On a Tuesday. Well, technically Wednesday now.
As we prepare to exit the train, the conductor enters the exit area to open the doors for those of us getting off at Oak Park. He says, “Man, you guys. Stay corporate. This blue collar work is grimey!” The two suits he was speaking directly to look at me for some reason, as to almost say with their eyes, “Yea, no shit. Look at us. Look at our amazing lives.” The first one closest to the door mentions that he was just telling someone earlier today to get out of the corporate world. The second suit says, in a slight accent I couldn’t quite decipher, “Yea, burn the suit.”
“Burn the suit?”
“Yea, burn the suit.”
I chime in this little mini debate with, “The grass is always greener, huh guys.”
“We’ve got a case of trading places brewing here.”
The interaction is quick, yet meaningful.
“Have a good one.”
“Have a good one.”
Between the suits waiting to step off this midnight train and the uniformed conductor, I stand in my Keith Haring baseball tee, mustard-ass yellow pants, black Chuck Taylors, and a Blackhawks fitted. Clearly, I do not give a fuck about the corporate world. And although I don’t think my job is completely considered “blue-collar,” I definitely associate and identify strongly with the working-class. I write about these people with their defined existences. I walk around this high class town with middle class values as the new day dawns with aspirations for great things myself, but they’ll be done my way. And what way is that, exactly? Individualized, fun, with integrity, humorous, honest, observant, appreciative, unique.
Neither wholly corporate nor entirely blue-collar, I’m starting to come to terms with cash ruling everything around me. There were many years where I swore money was not necessary for inducing happiness. And our current situation is rich in love. It always will be. But who wouldn’t want more money, even if it’s just a little bit. Ambition and paper chasing might not be so bad after all.
Earlier in our ride, I noticed the conductor dealing with a homeless man who could not pay the mere fare and was putting up a little fuss, hence the forthcoming “grimey” comment to the four of us in the train’s vestibule. I wonder if A) the suits have any idea why blue collar workers would refer to their work as “grimey” and B) vice versa, meaning, why would a corporate drone plead his case as to why burning the suits would be a reasonable solution.
"We don’t hate our jobs. We hate jobs in general that aren’t fighting our own causes."
The really funny thing comes from the serendipitous nature of this story and its subsequent telling. It was raining and storming and thundering all night, hell a pipe even burst at work leaving a veritable waterfall in the middle of our aisles. I was fully prepared to take a cab home to avoid the storm altogether. As luck would have it, the storm cleared up by the time I walked out the doors at work, allowing me to cancel my cab, save a few bucks, and save face with a tale of the working-class hero.
I’ll forever be a writer, observing, commenting on the social state of things. Whether or not anyone actually reads the shit still remains to be seen…
Here’s to the 9-5ers!!!