Saturday, August 3, 2019

Bien Malo

It’s been a roller coaster of a day. Dawn was an idyllic time, shortly after sunrise, I was entertained by two very vocal osprey which have made one of our worksites home. As if that weren’t enough, we have young turkeys running around with mom, adding a comical element to the otherwise gorgeous show.

I had to drive to another site in order to unlock the parking lot gates and prepare for the influx of tourists... we are understaffed, so I am doing double duty on the weekends. While I was there, there was some drama involving our cleaning contractors. One of the employees was considered ‘no call/no show’ last week, so a manager came by with a substitute, telling the other employee to go home. This, as you can imagine, resulted in tears. I asked the chastened employee, who I have known for four years, what had happened. She told me that she had sent the manager a text message the Monday prior to last weekend, so he was lying about not receiving notice. I told her that I would speak on her behalf to the company owner, who I know well. She told me that the manager plays favorites, and described him (in a paradoxical fashion) as ‘bien malo’, which translates directly as ‘well bad’ or even ‘good bad’. It’s an intensifier- I would describe myself post all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ as ‘bien gordo’, ‘well fat’. I asked her if she needed a ride home, because the bus ride would take forever, and she asked me to drive her to a shopping center where she could pick up some day labor, because she’d already hired a baby sitter for the day. On the ride, she vented about the situation, and the ‘bien malo’ manager who plays favorites and gets cushier assignments for his friends. All the while, I cursed the system of perpetual part-time employment, the system in which one never can be quite secure, much less comfortable, in their job. When we parted, I told her to call or text me if she needed intercession with the boss, or even a letter of recommendation. I’m trying to be ‘bien bueno’ here.

The afternoon has been interesting, in a humorous way. Two guys, twin brothers, who went to school with the Manager on Duty, stopped by. Two guys, twin brothers, who are 6’6” and have a lot of shirtless pictures on the ‘net. They were super nice guys, but they had a bit of a ‘new age’ vibe to them... they were the kind of guys who talk about the ‘energy’ of a place, the kind of guys who talk about ‘healing modalities’. I had to tell them that we were closing, and they thanked me, remarking on the positive vibes they got from our lovely site and its benevolent genius loci. Needless to say, after they left, we ragged on the MOD about her two ‘Chadly’ admirers, and she got a good laugh about that. I needed that laugh, we all did.


Ali Redford said...

I am grateful that you are one of the people who does what seem like small things with such great love. Those ripples from your actions really help keep the world from being awful. All my best to this contractor, and here's to finding a way to more just employment for all in the US.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

My Chilean friend asked me what was going on, because her mom subbed today. I will see their boss on Thursday and ask him what the situation is. I hope it was a suspension, not a termination, but I will put in a word for her in either case.

It’s a real eye-opener about how capricious part-time employment is, and how one manager playing favorites can really put someone in a bind.