So my boss has sent a few of us home, while the rest stay working. It’s ridiculous that many people with non-essential jobs are still going into work, but the problem is how contradictory the gov.uk information is.
Following on from the government’s guidance on social distancing in relation to COVID-19, people should avoid travelling unless it is essential.
So, draconian measures, but for any boss with a construction or gardening company who wants to keep his non-essential business open, the line saying you can travel to work if you can’t work from home is a get out.
More frustratingly when Gove decided to clarify things, he only added to the misinformation. Reported in the Guardian
Gove said construction workers should still be going to work while staying two metres apart and tradespeople, such as plumbers and electricians, could attend emergencies in people’s homes.
Ok, so construction workers should carry on. But then in the same article:
Gove issued a series of stark warnings about the consequences of flouting the ban. Shown pictures on Sky News of construction workers gathering close together, he said: “Unless you stay at home, then the people you love most may die.”
Which is just a way of giving the bosses an excuse to carry on while demonising the actual builders doing the work.
With an economic depression looking inevitable, I get why the government are trying to keep it vague. Maybe it’s time the grand rulers of the world tried sorting the flaws in our economy. People shouldn’t starve while food is going to waste. If A.I. and robots can do our jobs, why is it still a problem for anyone to get fired? How can a global recession happen anyway? If we’re all broke, then we’re all equally rich, right? (Note: my understanding of economics is patchy.)
I refuse to be cowed by my robot masters of the future and the message they have chosen to bestow on me. While it wouldn’t be difficult to make a case for my huuuuuuuuge loserdom, I really like my life. I like its oddness, and all the green nature-y stuff in it. I like that I get enough time to let my mind wander to wherever it feels like going. And that the people I know make me laugh a lot and seem to like me. And today, I have given the book I’ve just written to a friend to read. Of course, when he reads it I’ll find out it’s not finished at all and I have a shit-load of work to do again, but for now, I can revel in the delusion of believing it’s great. So on the other hand, maybe that’s the point, I’m a huge loser, but it makes me happy, so that IS my style 🙂
Note to self: I think we all function by keeping ourselves somewhat deluded, delusion is essential for survival, nothing wrong with it all. However, other people don’t think this and won’t react well if I tell them they’re deluded. As I discovered a few weeks ago at a party. Don’t do that again, me.
We spent lunch bickering over what to call Robomo. I suggested Lionel, while management liked Rob, but Dan clinched it by coming out with Momo.
In the afternoon, Jessica and I were working in a garden on a small side street. She was crossing the road to get to the van, when a Mercedes whizzed around the corner. She jumped out the way just in time. The driver stopped, wound down the window, and said cheerily,
‘Oh, don’t worry, I wouldn’t run you over, you do such a good job. The garden looks lovely!’
I feel sorry for all the people crossing the road who don’t do such a good job.
I quite liked turning up to work this morning and seeing the robo mower trundling about, it’s like a pet. Myself and Dan tried playing with it for a while, standing in robo-mow’s way so that it turned around. But I guess it got annoyed, because then it started charging at our feet, little blades whirring away. Mike just shouts at it like it’s a disobedient dog (‘Go on! Get back in your hutch!’) or complains about its mowing skills (‘Look! It’s cut the grass too low!’ ‘It’s wrecked those edges!’) Mateo sneers at it, (‘You fuckin’ bastard!’)
While I do like the innocent nature of the robo-mow, I’m not sure it’s going to work out as a new member of our team. It has no method to its mowing, just trundles in a straight line until it hits something, then turns at any old angle and shuffles off. Such a random method takes ages to cut all the grass. That’s fine on a small, fairly regular patch of grass, but we need it to cut one of the huge, oddly shaped lawns that continue across paths. I’m not sure it would ever finish.
My plan is to see if I can retrain it as a robot dog. I’d enjoy the company while I’m working, and if any of the residents start to give me trouble, little pooch can scare them off. Not sure how to do this though, any ideas?
‘It’s the beginning of the end!’ wailed Mike. ‘You see, we’ll all be gone by Christmas. Unemployed!’
We all perked up at the thought.
Anyway, you’re wondering what’s happened to distress the usually calm and collected Mike. Our benevolent rulers have bought a robotic lawnmower. (Why the designers chose that name and not robomo, I can’t imagine.) Since Mike is our main mower, and as the oldest, gets a bit paranoid about losing his job (he has no need to, everyone loves him and our place of work would decay to a soulless husk within weeks without him) he sees the robomo as a direct threat.
‘Look at him, evil, lurking,’ said Mike as the happy little robot trundled along. The rest of us started making plans for googly eyes or deely boppers to decorate our new robot colleague, while Mike made plans for a terrible accident to occur. Our boss kindly informed Mike that this robot is not seen as a replacement, but as a way to free up our time for other gardening, but Mike isn’t convinced.
‘This is how it starts!’ he whispered to me.
Have any of you had to worry about automation taking your job?
When computers first started to get clever enough to do our jobs, they promised us a life filled with leisure instead of work. I don’t why that suddenly became Humans, you are obsolete! Keep out the way and starve quietly!
The landlady turned up before I left for work to let us know that someone would be painting the house next week. Most landladies would have sent an email, but she had some blankets she wanted to store somewhere and decided that our kitchen cupboards were a good place to do that. I found her when I went to make some toast, she was clearing plates out of the cupboard to make room for the blankets. It was too early to argue and I am a coward.
‘It must be nice to rent and not have all these responsibilities. To get the whole house painted without any effort. I’d love to just go off to work without a care,’ she said, and I huffed around the kitchen trying to make toast with her faffing about in front of the toaster. Incidentally, she doesn’t have to go off to work at all, because she makes so much money in rent. Once she’d gone I tried to fit the plates in another cupboard.
“It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.” Ashleigh Brilliant.
Sub Tropical land. I need a short flower interlude from inspirational posters. So I decided to share with you some photos from our sub-tropical border, cos it’s beautiful.
I also thought I should let you know the bloke I see every day, who walks slowly up and down with his head hanging, I haven’t seen him since I wrote about him. I’ve decided for simplicity to call him Brennan, since that name means sorrow and he looks like the most desolate man I’ve seen. I’ll let you know when he comes back. I last saw him on his knees facing a house at seven in the morning so I’m a bit worried.
Word of the day: nullibicity – state of being nowhere
A woman on the tube today had a high vis vest on, she wasn’t acting oddly at all, just standing by the window at the end of the carriage looking out so that her back was turned towards me. Written in huge letters across the back of the high vis was
I’m straight, get it? Yes, I’m a woman and an engineer so keep your prejudices to yourself. Even in a high vis I’m straight.
Then on the front
Straight hetero engineer
I’m undecided what I think of this. On the one hand I’m sympathetic to the hassle women get for working in what are traditionally men’s roles, because I’ve had plenty over the years. It isn’t upsetting, but it’s irritating and it wears you down. On the other, writing it in huge letters on your clothes is somewhat stroppy and attention seeking, since 99% of people wouldn’t give a crap either way, and the only reason people were staring at her was because they were trying to work out what her high-vis said. On the other hand (I have three hands now) what’s the stress about being gay or straight? Does it matter if someone assumes she’s gay? On the other hand (now I have four hands, I’m a mutant!) I don’t know the circumstances surrounding this, maybe she didn’t even write the words herself.
Any other hands people can help me with?
Word of the day: paralipsis – fixing attention subject by pretending to neglect it
Now this is almost like a real inspirational poster, although I’d say exercise and doctors are also useful in the pursuit of health.
London today was soggy. It was ok, I have waterproofs, but the biggest problem was trying to not to destroy the squeaky cleanness of the messroom when I was coated in mud. And the toilets in the new block are too small, which means just getting past the concertina door meant I painted the wall with a layer of mud from my coat. Then I’d turn around to clean it up and decorate the other wall behind me. And everything I touched, from bog roll to door to sink taps became streaked with brown, I felt like a shitty Midas.
When we were getting ready to go home, Mike said to Dan, now you need to find an umbrella you can hold over me so I don’t get wet. I looked at him quizzically and he said,
I’m concerned that my inspirational quote generator may be a little sexist.
At work today, Mateo had sushi for lunch and left his chopsticks on the table in our new smoking area. Mike picked them up and began to play.
‘I’ve never used these before, is it difficult?’ he said, holding them like drumsticks and trying to pick up a small stone.
‘Well it is if you hold them like that,’ explained Jessica. Then she spent a patient half hour trying to show him how to hold them. He would get it, and shriek excitedly as the stone lifted, but within a few moments he seemed to lose the knack and would wail ‘My thumb keeps getting in the way! Why is my thumb in the way? Your thumb doesn’t get in the way!’ and then Jessica would start again.
The afternoon went as normal, I’m still hedgecutting. Trying, as we all do, to sneak a few topiaried animals into the more random, natural shapes that they want us to create.
When I got back to the yard, Mike was shoving one of our eleven-hundred litre industrial bins over lumpy concrete towards his van to empty the rubbish.
‘How ya doing?’ I asked. He gave me a tormented look and stopped shoving to hold up his hand.
‘I’ve got chopstick-finger!’ he wailed.
‘What?’ I asked as he waggled a digit in my face.
‘Chopstick finger! It hurts! From using it so much over lunch. I’m not doing that again. It’s dangerous!’