Wednesday, October 28, 2009

busted ass

Yesterday, while completing the last task before being done with work, I did in fact bust my ass. It wasn't technically my ass as much as it was both shins, a knee, an elbow, my hands and, as it turns out, a hip.

Tuesday in many restaurants is a truck day. At some point, usually never at the best, most opportune moment, the day's deliveries begin to arrive. This means that the truck driver for your distributor of choice will show up with stacks of boxes that he will leave sitting in your walkway. You get to spend some amount of your day clearing this out.

Clearing the mess involves breaking the stacks into other stacks based on where things go. Cold and frozen items move immediately to their new, respective homes as the last thing you need is for your food to thaw or come to anywhere near room temperature. Next you'll put up your dry and canned goods followed by chemicals/cleaning products and disposables such as to go containers.

A large part of the job involves taking things out of boxes which tends to leave you with a stack or pile of empty boxes. I've gotten really good over the years at reducing a mess of boxes into a neatish stack of broken down and flattened cardboard.

Sometimes these broken down and flattened boxes will sit somewhere out of the way until someone has time to discard them. We discard ours by carrying them to the opposite side of the square, about a block a way, and a short way down an alley to a room where all the businesses close enough take their cardboard for recycling.

Throughout the square there are a number of benches and tables, the tables each surrounded by four small benches. They are great for people to sit and eat or to use their laptops or to sit and sway drunkenly while waiting for friends. Apparently they are also perfect for busting one's ass.

My last task yesterday was to take the cardboard, and we had quite a stack. I tried to position the boxes in a way that they would be somewhat easy to carry and would leave me able to see where I was going. The second part of that was not carried out as well as possible.

I exited the restaurant backward, using my back to push the door open. A customer was leaving at the same moment, and I was even able to hold the door for him with my foot after swinging the boxes out of his way. I then left our patio while attempting to manage the boxes and move them to a more reasonable hand hold. I did not succeed soon enough and was unaware of the ass busting so soon in my future.

I'm not sure which leg hit first. One of the tables with four small benches sits about ten to fifteen feet from our front door, and I tripped over one of the benches. I think what happened is that my right leg hit first as that bruise is placed at the right height for the bench. As I began to fall my left shin slammed even more abruptly into the bench causing me to fall harder. I cleared the bench rather spectacularly I assume as I seem to remember some feeling of flight as the boxes flew out of my hands. I'm pretty sure I came down on my knee and elbow at this point while slapping my hands onto the ground as I tried to catch myself.

No one saw this happen, but a couple a short distance away gave a most disapproving look to my voluble shout of FUCK! as I hit the ground.

I retrieved my boxes, and, in some amount of agony, continued on my way. The shins hurt just to walk and at the moment the next most painful thing were the heels of my hands. I finally reached the recycling room, tossed my boxes onto the pile and was finally able to visually asses the damage.

I have a nice cut/bruise combo on my elbow and a tiny blue bruise on my knee. Both shins are bruised blue and yellow with a minor abrasion to match. The hip shows no visible sign of damage but hurts nonetheless. The heels of my hands hurt a small amount but also show no visible signs of damage

Had anyone else seen my flight it would have at least had that humorous edge that doing something spectacularly stupid earns. As it is, the disapproving glance was all I got from anyone else, and the couple who provided that seemed less concerned with a hurt fellow human than with having heard a swear.

The moral of the story is to to watch where you're going. Don't start your box carrying journey till you know you can see the obstacles. And if you're going to hang out and work at Market Square for the number of years I have, for fuck sake learn where the benches and the table/bench combos are. They're bolted to the ground for fuck sake and don't change position.