Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Conversation with a Railroader...

"You don't want to work for the railroad," a switchman told me this morning down at the railyard. 

I had resigned myself to the fact that my chances were zero anyway.  How many transportation companies want to hire a schizophrenic?  I was able to hide it when I drove a big rig truck.  It would be a dream come true for me, though. 

"What is the toughest part of the job?" I then asked.

The switchman smiled, then scoffed, and said, "You never get to go home! I am always on the rails."

His train left and I walked on back up to the shopping center.  I spent some time in Fred's dollar store looking at prices until the employees started to warily watch me for shoplifting.   I felt uncomfortable and left.  I had no money to buy anything. 

This particular Fred's always brings back bad memories.  Memories of when I would search my grandmother's house for spare change and would buy a bottle of dollar mouthwash to drink.  It is hard to believe I used to live that way.  The thought of drinking that swill now sends my stomach to flip-flopping.  Nauseous! 

"You got a cigarette?" a young black girl asked me as I left the store.

She had saw me light up. 

"You don't look a day over fifteen!" I exclaimed as I laughed.

She broke out into a tirade of insults over my denial.  I just laughed, got in my car that was parked in the parking lot, and drove home. 

1 comment:

Marsha said...

Why must you describe her as "a young BLACK girl"?

Does her color really make any difference at all in this story?

I think not.