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All Nigerians are thieves

  Wed 11th September 2019

Up at 5am, walking an hour to work, in the rain, without a coat, in shoes that leak, to work at the dishwasher for eight hours, with a soggy sock blotting my foot. A man prone to self-pity would be inclined to broadcast these facts in a public forum.

I stood entirely on my own for fifty minutes in a huge kitchen. I didn't know how to turn the dishwasher on, despite caressing it gently on its undercarriage and murmuring all kinds of cajoling words.

I started doing some washing-up by hand, muttering "I don't know how to turn it on" repeatedly; and Hayley filling my mind, a sour jealousy amplified in the hard, utilitarian steel of the kitchen which seemed to mock me for having emotions.

In such situations pressing random buttons sometimes helps (and it is difficult for a new person to know which buttons to press, after all). Its green eye started blinking, and a stentorian sound of rushing liquid rumbled from its innards.

My fellow KP came in at 8am, a calming Nigerian man. Good KPs are unflappable in the face of yards of washing up. We chatted about the bar he runs in Lagos. He has to go back every now and again to check up on it, "because all Nigerians are thieves. It's the way we are."

One of the chefs "asked" me to help him for a moment. "Can you clear the burn?"

For one lovely moment I hoped that my Wertherian longing for Hayley was about to be transposed, and we were away northwards to drain a stream in Scotland. What faced me was hideous: a six-feet-long, two-feet-deep bath of glossy, festering lumps of flesh. To my relief, my Nigerian senior jumped in to do it. Later, I had to lay out some trays of chicken bones. They were more chicken parts, un-neutered throats and stomachs and trailing entrails.

Half an hour before my shift was to end, I was the recipient of a welcome criticism. "There won't be enough work for me this afternoon. Work slower."


I met Hayley briefly yesterday morning. Her miniskirt, a polyestered faux-bouclé halfway between purple and cerise, stretching almost as sexily over her legs as the black vest which she lifted up for me -- once -- did over her tits. She had asked to stay with me for a couple of days, to which I agreed, but I was relieved to be told that a work colleague of hers has a spare room for a week or so.

I'm preoccupied with what will happen should my references for my new room come back as a warning to future landlords. Hayley can be a demanding presence, and I am often weakened with a mixture of imagined sex, and a generosity towards her, to go along with proposals of hers which can come with an opportunity cost to myself. I have to work; find somewhere to live; and help my daughter - who is barely surviving as the poorest member of her acting course.

But not this weekend. In another stage in the rapprochement between me and Trina, I've been invited to a joint sixtieth in Manchester with people around that age and who -- young people should sit down now, and steady themselves with a plastic jug of coloured alcohol -- like dancing to house music.

6 comments

Comment from: kono [Visitor]

I’ve always been a master at the art of pacing myself on the job. Making sure that shite gets done but also not leaving the bossman the ability to assign me anything else. I call it the fine line between lazy and ambitious. I may be getting a dishwasher gig of my own, Breadwinner is part owner of a couple of breakfast joints and they seem to have trouble keeping dishwashers, in fact she informed me that she was about to call me last Monday and send me to the one place so i could fill in. Said i’d get $100 a day which would make me the world’s highest paid plongeur i believe. For my part i’d remain as stoned as possible and look for possible ways to gain carnal knowledge of a willing waitress. Alas it did not come to pass… but it may. Glad the site is sorted.

Wed 25th September 2019 @ 19:49 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Well that would add a new meaning to the phrase “pot wash".

xe.com reckons $100 works out at £80 pounds. I get 8.21 an hour (the minimum wage here for someone my age) so about £65 for 8 hours – although they’re often longer shifts than that, so yes that is fairly good money within our lowly profession.

Never tried going to work stoned. I associate it with music and leisure time really and sitting in parks.

Thu 26th September 2019 @ 08:24 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

I believe my shift would have been 6 hours, usually a plongeur in the States would be getting minimum wage, $7.25/hour, of course there are some places that are a bit more civilized here that pay a living wage even to the plongeur, of $15, either way i’m trying to avoid it. I quite like my gig listening to tunes and doing housework between pulls off the binger. ;)

Fri 27th September 2019 @ 18:46 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Yeah, being a plongeur is a bit dispiriting, hour after hour. Mine is mixed with waiting on and general help and cleaning, so it’s not too bad. I like meeting different people and snaffling the wine that the customers don’t drink.

Hope you can stay put in your present situation. Sounds a pretty good gig.

Sat 28th September 2019 @ 00:46 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Whenever you can’t figure out how a machine works simply Google the make and model, and the instructions, and perhaps an informative YouTube, will pop up.
Sx

Sun 29th September 2019 @ 13:18 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Yeah—that implies I’ve got a phone with the internet on it, and that I care about my job.

Sun 29th September 2019 @ 17:46 Reply to this comment


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M / 55 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

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There are plenty of bastards who drink moderately. Of course, I don't consider them to be people. They are not our comrades.
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The more democratised art becomes, the more we recognise in it our own mediocrity.
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Tell me, why is it that even when we are enjoying music, for instance, or a beautiful evening, or a conversation in agreeable company, it all seems no more than a hint of some infinite felicity existing apart somewhere, rather than actual happiness – such, I mean, as we ourselves can really possess?
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One good thing about being a Marxist is that you don't have to pretend to like work.
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The working man is a fucking loser.
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