Thursday, November 02, 2006

no notice


“Another flaw in the human character is that everyone wants to build and no one wants to do maintenance.” ~Kurt Vonnegut

Except our Maintenance Manager. He had a good handle on what it takes to nurture a production environment. Yesterday he quit.

He gave no notice, although the guys working under him knew it was going down. He’s been miserable for a long while. We’ve gone from 200 to less than 100 employees over the course of the last five years, but the infrastructure is still there. After 50 years or so, it needs a lot of TLC to keep trucking.

So, less employees to do the same work. More cost-saving cap ex projects with end-of-year deadlines – you gotta spend the money or it goes away. And the last round of rotating layoffs, initiated two weeks ago, means that maintenance guys were pulled into production departments to keep the machines running – leaving not a lot of time for those cap ex projects and general building maintenance.

He’s had some health issues, and apparently his dad is in poor health as well. I suppose at some point it’s not worth trying to convince yourself that it’s all gonna be OK. At some point you just have to make it happen on your own, and sometimes that means walking away.

I wish I could have said good-bye to him, although it’s a pretty small town and I might run into him again.

After 9/11 I was a mess, like a lot of people. I was scared, I was stunned, I was grief-stricken for the human race in general. It wasn’t so much the threat of another terror attack that scared me; it was the downward spiral of violence that I could sense coming on, like hearing the roar of an immeasurable maelstrom, one that’s dead ahead of you and no going back.

About a week after the attack, I lost my shit at work and escaped outside, sat down in the cool grass against the wall of the plant and just bawled. I couldn’t cope anymore. I couldn’t even breathe.

MM came out after a couple of minutes and hunkered down next to me. I don’t remember what he said. But I remember that he was there.

I miss him already.


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