Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Theme Thursday: Summer

Black, disturbed only by the tracks traced by beads of sweat in the sweltering heat. Particles thicken the air, giving it taste, confined in the big box of the factory. Hissing hydraulics coupled with the sucking pop of release as the tires fall in line on the conveyor. Callouses burned through gloves, painted onyx by encrusted rubber, we stack the pallets. Humming forklifts whisk them into trailers, baked by the sun. Old timers wheeze smoke through cigarettes, catching relief in the wind at the dockside doors. Scrub as we might, we are black for the summer.

College help gets line duty, tires still simmering marching down the belt to placed in just the right spot. Between whistle bells signaling the next batch, we doze our backs against beams, dreaming of ice and shade. At the busiest moments, we zing the doughnuts down the line to each other, conserving precious steps costing energy.

My eye lids dip once more under the weight of dust and heat, seeking chilled respite. Hairs prickle in warning, eyes snapping open at attention. Quick hands catch the spear of rebar, dragging furrows of red skin across my chest, flat palm finds his forehead, with force. Crouching lions, eyes warily survey intentions, explanations drowning in clamor.

An errant tire caught the back of his legs, unintended offense causing already hot heads to boil over onto the hard concrete floor. Weighty tension threatens to suffocate our already strained lungs, when whistling bells call us back to the line, our labor to provide feet for vehicles carrying others into summer.
__________

Summers in the hot house of the tire factory were always interesting. Heat causing grown men to act like school house boys on the play ground. Mental fatigue leading to injury or worse, emotions tainted crimson by the environment. In fevered moments, inhibitions flee with wisdom, where cooler heads would prevail.
Time clock expired, breakfast bridged the expanse between us, stirring a breeze with our words. Friends once more, staring out at the summer sun descending.

31 comments:

Poetikat said...

You have really painted a picture of a sluggish, yet energetic environment (quite an achievement since they are polar opposites)! I was ducking along with the other lions. A glimpse of a world I otherwise would never know - terrific!

Kat

Deb said...

Powerful writing - allowed me to visualize and feel the energy of the tire factory. You painted a detailed picture with your words.

Jill said...

What an amazing word picture...torture in so many ways...I imagine the pay was not good either yet it was pay nonetheless?

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Wow. You write well!

California Girl said...

sounds just awful. you caught it well. have you done this work or is this just a great imagination?

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

PS Hope you'll drop by our blog on synchronicity &share any stories about meaningful coincidence that you might have.

Best,
Trish and Rob MacGregor

otin said...

Chalk that up as a job that I would not want! Well written!

Kris said...

It's too hot.

Hilary said...

You sure have captured the the feel of this hot, exhausting, irritable work. Nicely done.

Ronda Laveen said...

Stress begets stress, ya? In the heat of the moment, literally! I can just imagine how good a shower felt after shift:-)

Lorraine said...

Wow I could feel the heat and tension mounting...almost need to cool off. You have a gift :)

The Silver Fox said...

Oof! Too hot for me. I wouldn't have lasted three days. Better you than me, amigo!

Baino said...

You worked in a tyre factory? Not nice during summer . . find it hard to push a vacuum cleaner on a 35 degree day (celsius that is). Brian is it me or are you venturing into a new field of creative writing. You're very good IMHO!

Brian Miller said...

@baino - through college I would work there in the summers. Long hot days(usually well over 100 in the plant on cool days) that actually paid pretty good for summer help. $16/hour regular and $24 for over time.As far as the creative writing, I am a storyteller at heart, who has always had a dream to write a book. Every story I write is true, I just try to put you there.

@silver fox - at least the weight loss from a lazy year in college was good. smiles.

@lorraine - smiles.

@ronda - begets stress, begets poor decisions, begets stress... SHowers were amazing, about 5 pounds of rubber washed down the drain and off your shoulders.

@hilary - ty.

@kris - yes, it was.

@otin - would i return to it. there is something to be said for hard manual labor in extreme environments. your brain is allowed to wander down rabbit trails...maybe.

@trish and rob - will drop by and check you out. ty.

@cali - see response to baino. been there. have had a pretty eclectic work experience....loading docks, tire factory, sheriff, counseling, business, training, church...

@jill - pay was not bad. they were all the time having disputes with management...strikes, walk outs....it was hard, dirty dangerous work...the guys earned their pay.

@deb - ty. thats the goal. smiles.

@poetikat - smiles.

High Desert Diva said...

You made it seem very real.

Wings said...

Take it as a compliment when I say you described the job so well that I don't EVER want it! Great post!

Leah said...

There are so many good lines here that I just can't quote them all back to you! It is unbelievably vivid.

JGH said...

You've really made me feel like I'm standing in a tire factory. Wanna go jump in a cool clean swimming pool now!

Brian Miller said...

@hdd - experience will do that to you. think itmay have cooked my brains a bit as well. ha.

@wings - lol. it takes a special person, don't know if i am special enough for it any more.

@leah - ty. smiles.

@jgh - looking for a pool myself today. refreshering (as my boys would say)

subtorp77 said...

Brian, you had me at "particles thicken the air, giving it taste". I've done some rather nasty jobs, but this one here...aaaagghhh!

Candie Bracci said...

wow,yes you have done a good job at describing the atmosphere,I could feel the heat too.Really impressive.Please,again do tell me you are writing a book,you are the magician(in the Tarot)you have all the tools necessary to accomplish a great work.You're a writer.Born to be one at least,even if it is not what you want.It's the way it is,ha!LOL.Ok,I stop.:)

lakeviewer said...

Quick, get me out of here, I can't breathe! You created a steaming hot hell here.

Mrsupole said...

Somebody has to do it, which is why the pay was good. They probably have a fairly high turnover, I could never do a job such as that. My back hurts too much tooo.

Great story, you made us feel like we were there.

God bless.

Lover of Life/ Nancy said...

Sometimes we forget just how hard people work for products taken for granted..

Betsy said...

You paint a very vivid picture in words! I can almost smell the rubber, cigarettes, sweat in the heavy, hot air! Now we all need iced tea and a jump in the pool after reading that!

otin said...

It seems that I used to be in better shape and have more drive when I did a lot of manual labor, so, in a way,I can see your point!

Brian Miller said...

@betsy - ice tea and a pool...amazing.

@lover of life - too true...lots of people laboring away in sweat shops getting paid way too little to make the clothes we wear...but that is another soap box...

@mrsu - surprisingly turnover was pretty low, best paying labor job in town. the regulars made a lot more than the summer help...

@lakeviewer - party at betsy's with tea and a pool. smiles.

@candi - watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat...

@subby - i feel so much like tom cruise right now...lol.

A.Decker said...

Very well told. Reminds me of...too many jobs I'd rather forget. Ha! Although the experience, and the vividness of such memories, are a wealth best remembered, perhaps, as you so eloquently demonstrate here.

Good work!

Michael Rawluk said...

Now that is a burning hot summer story.

tony said...

"fevered moments dreaming of ice and shade."........ Jeez ! A Tyre Factory In Summer!!!!

books,coffee,etc.... said...

Hi! Brian,
What a very interesting post...describing in great detail(s)...
(and leaving enough just for "me" to imagine that scenerio)
...of what happens in a "hot" tire factory.

Thanks, for sharing!
DeeDee ;-D