Wednesday, December 21, 2005
What’s it doing out there?
There is a transit strike and I’m staying in the city with my friend A. and his cats (who firmly believe that having two humans in the home with two cats is ALMOST the right ratio).
Monday, I did manage to pack a week’s worth of errands into a day – cooking for the week for my mom (but will she eat it?), finishing the Christmas cards (and then remembering a half a dozen I should have written—okay, they’re getting New Year’s cards), packing for the week, working on Shallid, etc.
Came into the city, dumped my stuff at the apartment, went up to the show. Show was fine – back in the Heavy Coat track –but at least I know what I’m doing. Lots of people out. Lots of split tracks.
Tuesday, I grabbed a muffin on my way to work as I passed the Bread Factory. A bit on the dry side, I’m afraid. Day work was fine. One of the principals who’s been out for awhile was in during the afternoon and I ended up trailing in her wake quite a bit because she needed help (in every sense of the word). I did teach her to use a phone book, and, later that night, she came up to me and said, “You are so clever! It worked! Someone actually picked up on the other side and gave me the information I needed!” Yes, this woman is of a certain age and didn’t know how to use a telephone directory. She’s used to having a secretary.
Chinese food for dinner. Not much work done on Shallid, although I’d written about 1000 words in the morning. The end of it is actually in sight now – I’m getting ready to put the characters through the final adventure of the book. I’m both eager to get there and sad to finish.
I told my bosses at work about The Situation. Not only do I feel better to have them know that the next few months will be chaotic, but they offered a lot of support.
Because we got news that makes it even more complicated and dire than we originally thought.
I actually got to go out last night – because I’m always running for a train, I never get to socialize. But my friend B. and I went out to Sosa Borella, a lovely Argentinean restaurant around the corner from the show, for a few glasses of Malbec and good talk. While there, we met up with an actress I dressed in a difficult situation on Broadway a couple of years ago – with whom I recently worked on a television pilot (the one in October). So it was an all-around good gab session, catching up on just about everything.
Came back around midnight, caught up on life with A. and the cats.
Today is a two show day – oh joy, oh rapture, oh not.
The transit strike is a major pain in the ass for everyone – especially for those who can’t afford to take cabs or cars or whatever. The problem with these small minds who whine about the inconvenience and have turned against the union is that they don’t understand that, if the union loses certain points on this negotiation – especially the one regarding pensions – ALL of us get screwed in the next round of negotiations. It’s not JUST about them.
Do I agree with every single point the union wants? No. Frankly, I think some of these demands are silly. And I mean the dictionary definition of silly. But neither is the MTA squeaky clean and in the right. And the fact that the judge ONLY fines the union and not the MTA when BOTH sides are at fault is ridiculous. When you have executives of the MTA sliding an extra $88,000 into their pockets each while crying they can’t afford to pay the workers, there’s a problem. Especially when the Attorney General’s office has pointed out that this is one of the worst-managed organizations in the state.
The union also has problems because: A) media is controlled by corporations, who are anti-union and are not presenting the full picture; B) in negotiations such as this, both sides lie like rugs to the media anyway to make the other side look bad; and C) most of the workers are not the most educated or articulate anyway, and the media, in my opinion, tries to pick those least able to express themselves to interview.
The MTA on the other hand, can present yuppified spokespeople to appeal to the public.
There are also livery drivers who are abusing the temporary zoning in place during the strike to gouge their passengers. Not only do you have to ride with a car full of strangers, you’re being overcharged.
One of the sound guys did some research, and he discovered that the New York transit system moves 75% of the people who commute IN THIS COUNTRY. 75% of commuters in the United States of America use the systems in and around NYC every day
Other cities simply don’t have the system we do – having lived around the country, I can attest that, as bad as our system sometimes is, it’s a heck of a lot better than most mass transit anywhere else in the country. And why the rest of the country doesn’t understand why this strike is a big deal, or how the labor movement broken here would have a horrifying ripple effect all over the country.
The AFL-CIO has also failed all workers in this case – they should have called out ALL union workers in this city. The city would have shut down for 24 hours and it would have been solved.
The MTA wouldn’t have gotten away with this if there hadn’t been givebacks by unions for such organizations such as United Airlines and the United Auto Workers.
This country has fallen into a class system that harkens back to feudalism. The guys who wear suits to work and sit at desks all day talking on the phone look down at the people who actually make the world work – drivers and garbage men (garbage people?) and restaurant workers and dry cleaners and the like. None of them wants to dirty their manly manicured fingers to do actual physical work – they want it done silently and anonymously by people paid a pittance who will then creep quietly away.
And it won’t get better as long as the current administration is in office, because the gap between the top earners and everyone else gets wider and wider.
In medieval times, the merchant class created itself, to give skilled workers a place to improve their lives and that of their families. The current corporate structure is destroying those opportunities.
And, as long as there are folks in Podunk who don’t understand that, even if it doesn’t affect them today, it will affect their children and grandchildren, the greedy will continue to take and take and take.
Anyway, got to catch up on things and write today’s installment of the blog over at Scruffy Dog.
And then, back to the show.