Amusingly (given that it is in no way associated with the national security field into which my late father hoped I'd go), I cannot say much about my new job, the training for which begins Friday at 6:30 AM, because for the first time in my life I've had to sign a non-disclosure agreement, swearing myself to silence about the procedures, technologies and so forth involved in the manufacturing process, not to mention the products themselves. But, I can say that I am filled with about equal parts excitement and fear. I an terrified that I'm going to monkey up the works somehow, that I'll leave off an essential gasket and the newly-assembled machine will start leaking oil as it comes off the line. I am thrilled to get to use pneumatic drills--I know the whIIIzzz-pt-pt-pt sound from car repair places, but I've never actually gotten to trigger one--however, I know my mind tends to go blank at inopportune moments, and I can just hear myself asking a coworkers for "a metal thingummy with a slot in it" instead of a wrench. My friend Susanna has lent me a pair of metatarsal-protection work boots, so that's one less up-front expense.
I encountered a less than savory individual today (not on the jobsite--I don't go there until before dawn Friday, as aforementioned), a middle-aged sunburned motorcycle-riding (he was discussing it with someone else--apparently had a nasty wreck years ago that put him in the hospital for months) white man who apparently owned his own business for years before the economy soured. These weren't characteristics to despise. What was was his loud, out-of-left-field comments about Chinese and Koreans! He mentioned those two nationalities and all of a sudden started doing this awful "ching-chan-bong-chow" noise as a (TOTALLY off--Sheesh, if you are going to be ethnically derisive, at least get your accent right, you idiot!) imitation of the (two very dissimilar) languages in question. I am pretty sure everyone around him--black and white, but no Asians--was totally floored. I hope they were. I was boggled. It was like being in a live-action version of a unconsciously but fundamentally racist Hollywood movie of the 1930s or 1940s--the action and dialogue going along normally between Caucasian characters and then, Boom! A non-white character comes onscreen or is evoked, and suddenly hokey speech patterns, wacky ways of walking and acting, idiot grins or evil squinty eyes are the order of the day. Ой, господи! (Oh, Lord!) as the Russians would say. I am only just learning what the Koreans themselves would say, but I can think of a few "French" bon mots not suited for a PG blog.
Oh, speaking of both Russia and the Far East, I learned this morning from a former employee that the company for which I'll be working recently had visitors from both places! So, if I refresh my Russian repertoire, expand my Korean capabilities, and prove myself ob the production side, there's an actual chance that my liberal arts education may be useful even at the factory!