I'M FINALLY HOME! AND THE ALBUM IS DONE!
US Tour Day 253: Riding the Nader Train
Last night was brutal. Ah, the things we do for money. That's the thing about work—it's not fun. If it was fun we'd call it sex. But it's not. It's work. So there are parts we don't like.
Jamie and I arrived at the Doubletree Hotel in Austin right at 9 PM, ready to do data entry of some sort. We weren't sure exactly what it would be, but we knew we'd be working on the Nader campaign.
It turned out that our job was to take petitions and match the names on them to the online database of registered voters. This mostly involved deciphering scribbles purporting to be handwriting. Eight of us sat in the short–walled super cubicle in the hotel lobby, our tired eyes squinting to make out the letters and numbers, our sleepy fingers stretching as best they could to press the correct keys on the keyboards.
The people around me were all young and mostly male—Jamie and one of the supervisors were the only from the smarter sex. I was the oldest—the others hovered right around the college time–space continuum.
Squint. Reading attempts. Rub eyes. Squint more. The last names match; the birthdays match. Copy voter registration number from screen to petition with red ball point pen. Next name. Repeat. Only a few more hours until 6 AM.
The work was mindless, repetitive, and uninteresting. There was no room for creativity but a universe of possibilities for making mistakes. Battling fatigue and human fallibility, who knows how many errors I may have introduced into the system. I barely had time to wonder if the $90 I'd get at the Nader happy hour the next day in downtown Austin was worth the sleepless night I spent scratching my scalp and typing and listening to mix CDs on the beige, flat–screen PCs.
But, that's why they call it work and not sex. It's not supposed to be fun. It's supposed to be this thing where you trade irretrievable moments that could've been used for beauty for tangible benefits such as legal tender cash and cold, hard social favors. As much as we want there to be the former without the latter, such is not the nature of life. There are precursors to life, such as food and shelter. And, unless we're born with a trust fund the size of Texas, there are going to be some working moments during our days.
But, my working moments are done for today, and it's time for some eating and resting moments in the big star city of Austin.
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