hard brake

RCE_0870Venus going down through smoke.

I saw something today that bothered me. I was following a school district truck hauling a trailer with an industrial mower. Every time the driver touched the brakes the trailer brakes locked up. As he went around a corner the brakes locked and pushed him towards the cement barricade on the side of the road. Luckily the trailer wasn’t heavy enough to push him into the barricade and he was able to pull out.

I worked for the school district a few years ago. I cut grass and did just about every other thing I could to stay busy.

One of the men I worked with regularly was a real treat to work with. He was an angry individual, abusive to his wife and children. Working with him for several years I heard all his stories, about how hard done by he was, men’s rights, blaming feminism and all the ways he had been slighted in his life. It was certainly true he had a shitty upbringing. I heard all about it. At work he was mostly passive aggressive. He was a coward. Most people knew to stay away from him and only worked with him if they absolutely had to. Unfortunately I had to work with him often.

He would run to the union anytime he felt snubbed. He was only barely competent, doing the very least to get by. On occasions he would sleep during work hours in the operations van he was assigned. In short he was the perfect public union worker. His co-workers and management tried to stay clear of him. He built a nice secure job for himself.

While working at the school district I noticed the equipment I used was often tampered with. It was usually little things, like fuel valves being shut off or blade height being changed, air out of tires, nothing serious. I got in the habit of checking the equipment thoroughly before a shift and after lunch.

Even though I was the only one using the truck and trailer, the brakes would often lock on the trailer. That doesn’t happen very often and you start checking them every single time you get in the truck.

One day we were working together and he told me, in his previous job, working in the oil field on job sites, he would sneak into competing companies trucks and change the trailer brakes so they would lock.

It was his way of telling me what I already knew.

I knew there was nothing to be done, so said nothing and moved on. I took a lower paying job cleaning toilets in a primary school. I often joke, with pride, I am the only one who moved down the ladder in a union job at the school district.

***

That guy is still employed at the school district and always will be. Once folks like him find their place they stick. Public unions are like fly paper for incompetence, apathy and his kind of veiled antagonistic bullshit.

When I saw those trailer brakes lock in front of me today. It made me wonder if he was up to his old tricks.

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