OK, it’s official now; the union rep called and said the company had settled on a severance offer, 8 weeks pay plus a “neutral” letter of recommendation. So that comes out to less than a half a weeks pay for each year I worked there.
I could have taken it to binding arbitration, a last ditch attempt to keep a nowhere job in a skinflint organization. I realize that I am better than that, so I’m taking their offer. Time to move on.
It’s a little scary, walking away from fairly good money and medical coverage- but at the rate the union is doing givebacks and taking bullshit pay increases, maybe I’m getting out while the getting’s good. It used to be a great deal, not so much anymore. Only the lousiest dentists accept our union’s compensation nowadays.
I could go on, but this isn’t a rant against the union, it’s about letting go and moving on.
I grew some in the 17 years I was there, learnt some stuff- about things, about people, about myself; for that I am grateful. I worked for four different supers, and with the exception of one, they were all pretty much the same, insecure macho men who thought they were the greatest things since sliced bread.
The first one was even certifiably insane; well, at least bi-polar. I remember finding the half-full vial of Prozac in the garbage the day he decided to say, “fuck it” and go back to being crazy. He got fired too.
The second one, Glenn was fun; he was the one who urged me to become a handyman and even tried to take me with him to the bigger building he vied for and got. He even told the handyman and me that he was grateful for our help the first year. “I couldn’t have done it without you guys,” he’d said. A display of humility that’s rare from most of these egotistical bastards.
The current one, the one that calls himself the “Tank” is fond of telling the staff that he is “The best super in Rudin Management.” People that give themselves their own nicknames and need that kind of affirmation are not exactly my cup of tea. He has wonderful mechanical skills, and works more than any other super I’ve known, but he is a terrible judge of character. I’m sure future event will bear that out, but I won’t be around to see it. That’s OK; it’s ugly to gloat over another’s misfortune, something I hear he’s been doing over my situation.
So yes, I am better off not working for someone so gleeful about my failure.
The third one, who also left for a bigger building, kept the shop terrible mess the two years he was there. He had a table dedicated to a guitar he was hand-building, he got as far as ordering all the wood and buying all the tools, then strewing everything all over the table. I wonder if the un built guitar is lying on another table in his new building, still waiting to be finished?
I won’t miss standing on my feet for 8 hours, breathing in toxic dust, aggravating my heel spur by standing on ladders all day, or the exhaustion from hard, heavy work meant for a much younger man when I was doing the handyman job.
I won’t miss having to work 16 hours straight because my relief NEEDED to watch a football game or go to a party and get drunk and called out sick.
I won’t miss some of the crazy-assed self-absorbed tenants who are angry all of the time and see “the help” as justifiable targets for their anger. Ditto for some of the deliverymen, movers, technicians, and messengers who demand immediate attention.
I will however miss some of the people I’ve become friends with throughout the years, Barbara and David, my crossword buddies, Dani with the Porsche who always was kind to me despite being a Republican, he taught me that even Republicans can be nice. Beth and Bob and their two wonderful girls who are the sweetest kids in the building.
Natalie and Emma, the nicest kids in the building.
Marsha the therapist who was always generous when I did stuff for her and took enough interest in my writing to want to read some of it, Trudy, the eldest tenant in the building at 94 who would always say “when you die you are going to heaven,” or “you would make a great politician” when I refused to badmouth any of the other tenants to her.
There are many more people that I grew to love and admire, people who taught me things about life and about myself, like Maria, the therapist with an office on the fist floor who actually apologized to me once after getting angry over something- yes I can do that too, admit I made a mistake and go back and say “I’m sorry I yelled at you.” Or better yet- don’t yell at people.
I’ll miss the views from the roof, that was one of my favorite things to do- go up on the roof and look at the city.
When I stood on the roof and looked out at the city it made me feel special and lucky to live in this big crazy city that I grew up in and love, I took many pictures form the roof as you can see, but the luckiest one was the one I got of the Space Shuttle on top of the 747 that was transporting it to Kennedy.
The Shuttle’s last ride.
I’ll even miss watching the people go by on 86th Street, that was the best part of being a doorman in the summer. I’ll miss Columbus Avenue around the corner, a place that’s changed a lot since I used to hang out with a famous transsexual in the 70’s in Jackson Hole on 85th Street.
A sudden summer rainfall was always entertaining.
I could always go back and visit, but I doubt it. But I know it will be there if I want to.