Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Strike Life

So I didn't want this to turn into an all-strike blog, but as we enter our fourth week of striking, it's difficult to talk about anything else.  It also seems like people are interested in what's going on, so I'm going to go with it.  I don't want this to be an anti-city or anti-union type of deal though - believe me, I could argue both sides of that.  Instead I'm going to let you in on the secret inside world of the life of a striker.

  • There is a very real hierarchy when it comes to the signs.  At the top are the flags - these bad boys are gold.  They're light and don't get caught in the wind like the heavier signs.  They don't get ruined in the rain, and they actually look kind of nice.  If you get your hands on one of these, you don't let it go.  (Yes, people will steal your signs if you put them down.)  Next best is what I like to call the "fronties".  Nothing fancy - just a bristol board sign hanging around your neck.  They are preferable to the traditional sandwich board signs though since when you have one on your back the wind will blow it around.  The wind still blows the fronties around, but at least you can kind of hug it to yourself.  The worst are the large signs with the wooden handles.  They're unwieldy, they hit people, and you get slivers in your hands.  The worst.
  • The highlight of most shifts is when a dog walks by.  That's about where my life is right now.  It's funny how a baby can go by in a stroller and that's fine.  Whatever, babies are cute.  But a dog comes by and everyone stops what they're doing to ooh and ahh at the dog.  Everyone has their own dog voice too - variations on Lookitdapuppy!  Oh he's so cute!  Out for a walk!  
  • It is a lot of walking.  I'm averaging about 12-15 kilometers in the course of a four hour shift.  I'm not complaining - I know there's lots of people who do much harder work than this for much longer hours.  The monotony is rough though - just back and forth, back and forth.  Now I'm at City Hall, which is nice because at least you can walk all the way around the building.  A circuit, how novel!  Sadly, all of this walking hasn't really resulted in any weight loss.  I definitely feel more muscle definition, but not so much with weight loss.  Of course, that could be because...
  • ...I eat like a hobbit now.  See it used to be that I would have my morning coffee and breakfast, something small at lunch, and then dinner when I got home.  I would try not to snack, but that was about the way things went.  Now on my new shift of 11:30 to 3:30 things seem to go - coffee and breakfast, snack before I leave for shift, break halfway through my shift for another snack, snack when I get home, dinner, bedtime snack.  The whole time I'll be thinking to myself "Why am I hungry?  I'm not usually hungry this late?" but then I remember those 15 kilometers that I walked and figure it all makes sense.
  • Visitors are awesome.  Seriously, anything that breaks up a shift.  Even if you're just walking by and stop by to say hello I seriously appreciate it.
  • You quickly become trained to wave at any vehicles who honk.  It's quite the Pavlovian response - even to the point that it's hard not to wave at a passing fire truck with their lights and sirens activated.
  • I miss my work clothes.  A lot.  I miss my job too - I really do, but I miss getting up and getting dressed for work.  Sure it's nice that I can wear a tank top every day now and that my tan is out of control for my standards, but I miss putting on a nice dress and heels.  So now I just overdress for other occasions.
  • My big attempt at fashion on the picket line?  Right now my biggest decision is which pair of Converse to wear, and which tote bag I should use that day.  Lululemon shopping bag?  Oceanic Airlines tote?  Totes MaGoats?  So many choices.
  • Social plans are a big deal now.  Anything that gets me out of the house for something non-strike related is like an 11 on the Excitement-O-Meter.  I'm overly excitable in the first place, but now even minor plans are as exciting as a weekend away.  Perspective, yo.
  • I don't know how anyone could be on strike without a smartphone.  Being able to track my steps, text with people, read the news online, and listen to music.  Even if I don't have a pocket for it, I'll hold it through my whole shift just to be connected to the outside world.
Hopefully I'll be back to work soon, guys.  I'm not holding my breath just yet though.  If you ever find yourself in a striking position I strongly recommend you stock up your booze reserves before it happens.

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