Thoughts from My West Coast Cubicle

Today is Wednesday, the day after the terrorist attack on America and my reality reeks with the mundane. I have consumers calling the office but, for the most part, the lines are dead in this call center and I’m glad.  It means that something besides creature comforts and individual destiny has preoccupied this usually self-serving, group of consumers.

I used to joke to Mom years ago; “Let me know if anyone has taken over and I’m supposed to speak Russian, will you?” I had no feelings one way or the other about politics.  I voted, but abhorred the arguments I witnessed between my father and own godfather.  Politics evoked too many emotions and I needed my strength just to get through the week running a mom and pop repair shop.  So, Mom would clue me in about the political landscape, just as she carried my pictures to church each Sunday; Mom was watching over my political freedom as well as my soul’s destiny in this life and beyond.

I can hear from the warehouse; one of our Asian nationals whose comprehension of English is normally impeccable….he’s demanding an explanation for why his package didn’t ship out yesterday.  What’s not to comprehend?  Then I remind myself:  he is only here on a work Visa.  He is not here to seek the American Dream or way of life and opportunity.  He doesn’t have to because the same work permit allows him to be an opportunist without any further commitment on his part.  This is the new American workplace: a group of hard working individuals with no common culture or work ethic besides “making money”.  There is no allegiance to any one country, only the ideology of global commerce.  The new millennium demands that we think globally, come Hell or high water; or terrorism.  Praise the Lord and pass the Prozac.

Clarity works its way into my day’s awakening.  A consumer faxes his proof of purchase and scrawled among the typed copy is the very simple message, God Bless America. And I begin to believe there is hope…maybe not all American consumers are brain-dead after all.

I’m having visions.  Driving home via the boulevard (after having stocked up on tuna and other canned goods, including bottled water), I’m starting to see my aunts and uncles on the street.  I have to remind myself:  I am only seeing elderly pedestrians that resemble them in some manifestation of walk or manner; my aunts and uncles are gone. They who lived through one world war, a depression and a second world conflict;   thankfully, they will not have to live through a third.  God is kind.

I want to scream, but I must stay balanced at the work place.  It’s another day and there are the extremely young, not quite mature, coworkers who are thirsty for knowledge of our country’s history.  One didn’t even know what the Washington Monument was called; she asked me what the really tall, pointy building was in Washington, and, because she reads the news on the internet home page, I’m shedding some light on the in-between-the-lines stuff that she’s never heard of, answering her child-like questions.  I’m playing supervisor, mother, teacher and friend, biting my tongue continually at the ignorance; this ignorance is not from lack of interest or curiosity; it is the culmination of her education in our American school system these past twenty years.  Sadly, she is not the exception. As citizens we should be ashamed, and the teachers that have perpetrated this travesty on our country’s youth should resign.  Enough rhetoric.  Now, how do we the people recover quickly enough to save our country in this time of need…and where do we start?