Since I was 23, I’ve worked in an office. With few exceptions this has been M-F, 8am-6pm or so (including commute), for 15 years.
I’ve been unemployed for 9 months now. I started going on long walks around my neighborhood.
“It’s a whole new world”
For starters, one thing we have an abundance of in Northwest tech-world office jobs is white people. Also Asian and Indian people, but very few African Americans or people of Central American/South American decent, except for in the cafeteria and cleaning services. That’s something that makes me very angry about working in an office. I was taught growing up that everyone is equal regardless of culture or skin color. So why is there this socio-economic caste system that everyone, no matter how open minded or educated, seems to be a part of?
In the past 9 months I’ve discovered the secret world that happens when all the overprivileged white folk are out at their office jobs. All the minorities I have not been seeing come into the rich neighborhoods and do all the manual labor. Trimming trees, washing sidewalks, gardening, taking out trash. Fixing streets and wires, doing construction, keeping up the public parks. It’s kind of funny how except for a few retirees or new moms, all day every day no rich person is actually at their house enjoying their beautiful and fabulously gardened neighborhood. The ones with their hands in the soil, smelling the flowers and looking at the giant trees in daylight, are the poorer people who are hired to come take care of the rich people’s lives and homes while they’re away staring into a computer.
I used to rage at the inequality of it all, but now I feel like the gardeners have something I don’t. The ones cooped up in a skyscraper downtown, breathing recycled air and looking longingly out the window, wondering what life is for and where all the time went, are the ones who miss out on life, on air, on sunlight, on soil, on plants and trees and dew and ecosystems.