This is an amazing article. She really brings you along with what it was like to be a cable guy. But, she brought you along with her daily job on so many levels:
- Being a stranger inside someone else’s home and experiencing all of the weirdness and normalcy that exits outside of the prying eyes of neighbors and co-workers. For most of us, we’ve internalized the limits on our impulses so that we aren’t that different from our outdoor-in-public-selves, but then, there are those among us that are significantly different and not in a good way different that are deviant in socially unacceptable ways in the privacy of their home.
- Being a lesbian meeting people while working in a traditionally male job. Not everyone is as accepting as the average reader of Ye Olde Blogge — gee, I just got a shiver down the old spine; I think my dearly departed mother just passed through reminding me that she, Bob, and Francese are about the only regular readers. Thanks, Ma! Thanks for showing me the love from beyond the grave! She always had to be en garde questioning everyone and everything. That had to be emotionally and physically exhausting. She took it from co-workers, supervisors, and customers.
- Being a woman in a traditionally male job. There are few jobs so physically demanding that women cannot do them on a par with men, and cable installation and repair is one of them. But, the customers were hostile, many of her co-workers were hostile, and some of her supervisors were hostile. Her pay was never on a par with the men. The job was structurally against her — where was she going to pee during the day? Men took a leak next to their vehicles or in the shrubs of people’s homes, but not her. They got a bonus if someone called in with a compliment, but she never did. She was sexually harassed and assaulted by her customers and sexually harassed by co-workers.
The entire article gave such insight into what it is like to be somewhere doing something that most of us haven’t had direct experience with — I know most women have experienced gender discrimination and sexual harassment, but there is something for nearly everyone. I think that is what makes it an appealing article for the Psy because the driving force behind psychology is the curiosity about how people are living their day-to-day lives, to understand what is to be that person, and Lauren Hough gives you that in spades.
Plus, it is well written and engaging. By the end of it, you really feel for her and want her to do well. It’s a shame that our society isn’t structured for someone like her — a lesbian — to #bebestest.
I Was A Cable Guy. I Saw The Worst Of America.
A glimpse of the suburban grotesque, featuring Russian mobsters, Fox News rage addicts, a caged man in a sex dungeon, and Dick Cheney.
30 December 2018
I can’t tell you about a specific day as a cable tech. I can’t tell you my first customer was a cat hoarder. I can tell you the details, sure. That I smeared Vicks on my lip to try to cover the stench of rugs and walls and upholstery soaked in cat piss. That I wore booties, not to protect the carpets from the mud on my boots but to keep the cat piss off my soles. I can tell you the problem with her cable service was that her cats chewed through the wiring. That I had to move a mummified cat behind the television to replace the jumper. That ammonia seeped into the polyester fibers of my itchy blue uniform, clung to the sweat in my hair. That the smell stuck to me through the next job.
But what was the next job? This is the stuff I can’t remember — how a particular day unfolded. Maybe the next job was the Great Falls, Virginia, housewife who answered the door in some black skimpy thing I never really saw because I work very hard at eye contact when faced with out-of-context nudity. She was expecting a man. I’m a 6-foot lesbian. If I showed up at your door in a uniform with my hair cut in what’s known to barbers as the International Lesbian Option No. 2, you might mistake me for a man. Everyone does. She was rare in that she realized I’m a woman. We laughed about it. She found a robe while I replaced her cable box. She asked if I needed to use a bathroom, and I loved her.
For 10 years, I worked as a cable tech in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. Those 10 years, the apartments, the McMansions, the customers, the bugs and snakes, the telephone poles, the traffic, the cold and heat and rain, have blurred together in my mind. Even then, I wouldn’t remember a job from the day before unless there was something remarkable about it. Remarkable is subjective and changes with every day spent witnessing what people who work in offices will never see — their co-workers at home during the weekday, the American id in its underpants, wondering if it remembered to delete the browsing history.
Mostly all I remember is needing to pee.
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