Eventually they even started talking to me nice, and I examined their tattooed arms planted on the lunch table. Keep in mind that this was before tattoos were cool, and there weren’t aesthetically pleasing. The tattoos looked like they’d been pounded into their skin as part of a sacrificial rite.
These were rough women who probably beat up their Hell’s Angels boyfriends when they got home. They were short trolls, but their steel arms were bigger than my thigh, and their shoulders were wide and inflexible. I’ve known scary people before and after this group, but I’ve got to admit this clique scared me most. They all carried knives and laughed about using them. I always had to work my other job when they invited me out after work.
There are times I’m inclined to wallow in self-pity about something, but the women in the rubber factory remind me that whatever miseries I experience, at least I’m not them. I’ve always had hope, while they never dared to dream for anything other than what they had. It wasn’t that they were stupid, they just didn’t have any other avenues. The only expectations they’d ever been given is to be a robot in the factory, until the robots actually took even that.
I’ve been in other factories, and the people were different – cleaner, nicer. For a lot of people, a factory is just a job, and a job they justifiably take pride in doing. I’m just talking about this sweaty, awful place and the specific people who worked there. It was just the ugliest, most desperate place outside of the third world, but sometimes it helps to think of the rubber factory where the rules are clear: do your job, don’t complain, don’t show weakness.
Since I survived the experience, I’m glad I had it. Wouldn’t do it again for nuthin’. Wishing those women the best if they haven’t been murdered yet.