Saturday, March 18, 2006

Alice

When I worked at the Atlanta Post Office in the Time Keeper’s office one of my co-workers was named Alice. She was one day older than I. I say “was” because she is dead now. We became good friends.

Alice was a freewheeling kind of person. She did not know what kind of mess she would find herself in the next day, or sometimes, even the next hour. I remember her as always having a cigarette in her mouth and one eye closed because of the smoke rising up past her eyeball.

She was married with four children and she had a husband who thought he was tough and dominant and a boy friend who was drunk too much to think about a steady job.

After work we would walk to our cars together. This was in downtown Atlanta. Instead of paying high parking fees we would park in dark alleys and under bridges and places that only the homeless would go near. One morning when we walked to get our cars the cars were not there. A friend drove us to the place cars are hauled in and we were told our cars were impounded and we would have to pay the parking fine and the wrecker service, which was something like $89.50.
Alice said, “Eighty-nine fucking dollars!?!?”
The man’s expression didn’t change, “And fifty cents” he said.
That cracked me up, but Alice didn’t see the humor in it.

We were due on a midnight. Being the compulsive early person I am, I usually arrived about 11:30, you never know if a train or a wreck, or car trouble might delay you. On the other hand, Alice would arrive usually a few minutes late, but sometimes up to an hour late. The later she was, the less time she spent getting herself presentable. I have seen her rush in the office with her red wig tilted sideways, lipstick smeared, blouse buttoned crooked, and other things.

Alice was about to get herself into trouble by being late every night. She could possibly be suspended or maybe even fired if she didn’t change her habits.

Our supervisor reasoned with me that since I am there every night early anyway, why not when I get in and just hanging around, don’t I pick up the phone to make sure Alice is awake? OK, I said, she is a good friend, I will be glad to help her out. And she didn’t live far away, so it seemed like a good way to help a friend.

So, I did. When I got at work every night about 11:30 I would call her and wake her up. And she would rush on in. But a couple of times she told me she was just too drunk to try to drive in so she told me to tell our supervisor she was sick and I think she still managed to be late several times.

After several months of this our boss called the whole office staff (about 12 people) for our shift together and presented Alice with an cash award for such a great attendance.

In private I asked my supervisor shouldn’t I get a cash award too – I said after all, Alice has been out sick a few times and was also late a few times, and good for her, but also, I have not been late or sick during the same time, so shouldn’t I get an award also. My boss told me in all sincerity that Alice had shown great improvement in her attendance, I haven’t.

How could I show improvement I asked, there was no blemish to improve on. He looked at me disappointed like I was trying to get something for nothing.

Later I learned they were paving the way for Alice to be a supervisor. She needed some awards in her records to reflect what a good dedicated worker she was.

I continued to call her and wake her up.

And one night I came in and as I was dialing her number she walked in dressed up. She was the supervisor for that night.

I think the rebel instinct came out in me. I told her I was sick, I haven’t been sick for the past ten or so years I had been in the Postal Service, but I was sick and going home. She told me I couldn’t, she was short handed.

I said I could, if I’m sick and I’m sick. I said I was going home.

She got me aside to speak to me in private. She told me she really needed me there, to make a good impression her first night. She said, “I tell you what, if you stay I’ll give you a blowjob!”

I bet very few people have been offered incentive awards like that.

A night or two after that, Alice was still supervisor and went back in the supervisor’s office shortly after our shift had begun. Somebody needed her signature on something and went back to get it and saw that she was asleep. Her head was down on the desk and she was as sound alseep. I was still out sick, but I’m told the whole office staff for that shift quietly laid sick leave slips on her desk and left work.

It was her last time as supervisor.

Months later one night at about 11:25pm I was walking across the parking lot of the Post Office to go inside and I saw several people on their stomachs, a couple more were stooped down behind postal vehicles, peering around the sides. I asked what was going on and I was told two people ran by with a man running behind them shooting at them. I went inside and crowds of people were standing around in an uncertain kind of way… the shooter chased the two people through there too.

I went to our office on the 2nd floor. There was Alice shaking. It was her and her boyfriend that was being chased – by her husband.

It was the only time Alice got to work before I did.

After I transferred to Marietta Alice retired on an early-out deal the Postal Service offered. And not long after that, she died. I think her death was alcohol related.

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4 Comments:

Blogger kenju said...

Oh, geeze, what a story! Too bad she got caught that way.

8:40 AM  
Blogger ET said...

I think usually workers working for someone who came up the hard way (which she did) but also set a good work ethic example, which Alice didn't.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

That was an interesting story. Sounds like Alice eventually got her come uppin's though. By the way, I'm glad you made clear that you were still "out sick" after she made you that incentive offer, lol! ;D

5:39 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Yes, I made a point of letitng it be known in a sly way that I turned down her incentive offer.

8:13 AM  

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