Tonight's soundtrack is provided courtesy of the Gangsta-wannabes staying two rooms down. It sounds like a lovely party, with plenty of Natural Light (Well, judging by the empty cans outside there was at some point) and Cypris Hill and Sisqo for all.
Today was spent breaking in members of other crews who've slowed down to the point where they will only be getting 20 hours a week if they don't work with us. Given my crews reputation as general mischief causers (thanks to our first former supervisor, who was fired after some... expensively destructive "incidents"), I'm sure it wasn't an easy choice. Respect is something that seems to be lost upon most people nowadays, but in my line of work still very much exists, and is a bit like cigarettes in prison in terms of value. You must earn it in order to survive the culture.
In this culture, the alphas prey on the fresh faced "weak", as with most animal kingdoms. They are bullied, betrayed, and forced into absolute shit tasks because that's the way the "elders" were brought up. Much like a parent, it worked when they were being brought up, so it still must work. Being the new guy is rough. You very rarely make any true friends, and you will always be the focus of all jokes and pranks. But endurance earns you respect. And as the respect grows, things get easier for you. People will very rarely talk about any of the things you do right in my line of work. Your good deeds, perfect attendance, and positive attitude will be ignored by anyone who is anyone. But fuck up ONE TIME and everyone will know across all 50 United States. But if you've one person that can say: "I know him. He's a good guy, always shows up, does his shit, then goes home. Fucks with no one." you will survive.
I am not saying this is right, nor am I saying I follow this unwritten culture code. I pride myself on treating everyone equally, new or seasoned. I remember being the new guy, and I promised myself I would never put anyone into situations I was put into, or that I've seen others put in. And if a person is worthy of my respect because of how they treat myself, others, and the job, I show it. And if they're not, new or seasoned, they don't get it. Respect is key, and it's one of the few things I admire about our culture.
So it was an interesting experience bringing the new flock up to speed in the ways of "that shoddy group that destroys things", as our 2nd former supervisor said we were once called by others. Another thing about this culture is it's all about safety in numbers when it comes to "swimming with sharks". They will look you in the eye, person to person, and tell you they're comfortable and enjoying the work, and boy-howdy is this crew great! Get a group of 2 or more of them around each other, and it's all: "Fuck these idiots! I'm just here for a paycheck! Fuck the integrity it's not my project!". Today we had 6 of them. Guess what we were all hearing just barely audible when we had our backs turned? Of the days annoyances...
I fell in love with a zippo lighter at a cigarette shop the other day. No idea why, but I saw it and just had to have it. So I picked it up. Being a somewhat believer in superstition and (to an extent) faith, I engraved a couple of good luck saying/blessings on it in runes. Call me stupid or foolish if you like, but I do a dangerous job, with my life in jeopardy sometimes. I'll take all the luck I can get. Anyways, passed the lighter to a co-worker today when he asked for a light. My new nickname is "The Satanist" thanks to the runes. I easily forget that most people I meet do not posses the knowledge about some of the things I do, and are probably not the kind of people to look into such things anyways to dig beneath the surface. And it still takes me aback when that is thrown into my face, after all these years.
But at the same time, I am never really shocked by it. Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason...