some vacation!

When you're a rural telecommuter, being locked out is a lonely business.

Friday, September 09, 2005

love rollercoaster

my hips hurt.

I managed to get some time on the picket line at the TBC this week - 7 hours on Wednesday and 9 on Thursday, to be precise. If the calculations are to be believed, I walked roughly the equivalent of a marathon each day. this may be nothing new to those of you who are now into week 4 of the holding pattern, but it is still a novelty to me.

By the end of this, we lock-outs will be fit and fab enough to produce our own "Buns of Steel" workout video: twenty circles to the left, one or two faster ones back to the right to unwind... Perhaps Pat Sensin (one of 8 who showed up attired for costume day, and rather under-attired, at that) will lead the pack.

Maybe the momentum is starting to die down, but I must say I was a bit disappointed by the lack of "circus" atmosphere on the line when I showed up for my first shift. where was the food I'd heard about? where was the music? and what about those rousing rhetorical speeches?

Wednesday was a day for rumour and speculation at the TBC. Theories spread around the line like brush-fires. At noon, consensus was that we were out for another 3 to 6 weeks, but that we shouldn't be surprised by 2 months or more. Sometime mid-afternoon, the rumour began to spread that the people inside pushing 12-hour shifts were beginning to feel exhausted and resentful: not quite the mutiny stage yet, but ready to push those in the nosebleed offices to knuckle down and get this done within two weeks. It was like an Elvis sighting. People were giddy. perhaps walking in circles for 4 weeks makes one a bit sun-addled and punch-drunk. Maybe we just want to believe: the truth is out there and all that. But I'm waiting for the facts - gimme names and dates.

Thursday started dark and early with a rousing thunderstorm. I have discovered that picketers are fair-weather friends: only about 40 hearty souls showed up until about 11:00ish, when the skies were once again clear. Already sore from a little too much wine the evening before and a night spent trying to iron out my aches on a hard-ish futon, I pushed into the day with resolve. By noon, my endorphins were kicking in as the sidewalks thrummed with people (albeit fewer than Wednesday). There was a "groovy" vibe: it was palpable. I'm beginning to understand why the pilgrims to Santiago and Mecca do their respective walks.

I went to find a bite to eat and found myself in a lineup of about two dozen plebes like myself and one rather well-suited man, about 8 inches away. As he turned, I saw that it was Richard Stursberg. Such a conflict of urges: I'll admit my first, and most childish one (OK, maybe my only urge) was to nudge the back of his knee and make him drop his lunch. Mature, I know. But I resisted: somehow I figured it might not be my best career move.

Here's what I can tell you - he looked well-rested. He did not look like a man who was burdened by guilt that the "product" - our on-air services - have gone to hell in a handbasket and that 5,300 people are stranded on the pavement. I can not possibly speculate why he exudes that confidence. He certainly looked Telfon-coated to me.

But back to the picket line... what a pleasure to be able to connect with all those co-workers who I usually meet with a glance of the eyes and a mumbled "hi" as we pass in the halls. I knew we were a vividly interesting and diversely talented group of people, I just didn't know how rich the vein really was. Unburdened as we are of the need to talk about work, the whole world opens itself for speculation. I've discovered interesting things about my fellow workers: who the closet rock-gods are, who grows ambitious urban gardens, who has spent too much time in front of the TV over the last month, and whose sex life had improved dramatically with all this extra time to enjoy, as it were.

And how can I forget? I've heard great programming ideas, too. If only 1 in 10 make to air when we're back, our schedule will be all the richer for it.


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