In recent months I have been forced to do assembly work where I work. “Forced” because it is either do that horrible work or go home and do not get paid for it. Needing a pay check, I do the torturous work.
“Torturous” because assembly work is mind numbingly mind numbing. Torture too because a coworker that is the main force in THAT area, has a radio he plays so loud the walls shake. I compensate by using noise canceling headphones with an iPod that plays white noise AND rock music LOUD to try to block it out.
The parts are fiberglass and aluminum from China. Partially assembled in China by Chinese laborers in what are probably HUGE factories where they assemble the whole product like WE do in my factory. There are usually 3 people in my factory doing this. I have been tossed-in to help or fill-in when someone does not show up; quits or gets fired. Yeah, great place to work as you can see. The motions of assembly are simple: Grab the main parts made of fiberglas and they fit them over a riveting pin that sticks up out of a table and then hit a peddle on the floor to rivet them together. Do that thousands of times a day.
The work is fine if you have a very base intellect. If you have a hungry mind then it drives you nuts. Along with a barrage of idiot radio and then rap. If you like loud rap, it’s a great job.
Hmmm I prefer opera, classical music and rock music.
Doing that job, I have looked at the partially assembled parts that I finish assembling and think to myself that a Chinese did that. A worker on the other sided of the world. Stood at a similar machine doing the same damned thing. Hopefully not being blasted with rap. Every time I do that job recently my mind goes to China trying to imagine the lives of the people that put THIS rivet HERE and that piece THERE and then someone boxed it carefully and labeled it IN ENGLISH then stacked it on a pallet to be shipped to the USA.
At times I feel so CONNECTED to those people thousands of miles away and so DISCONNECTED from the people a few feet away from me.
I wonder what the Chinese assemblers life is like beyond the factory?
I wonder about their basic diets?
What music do they listen to?
What makes them laugh?
What gives them heart ache and heart burn?
I wonder if they have some idiots blasting loud horrible “music” near them with a belligerent attitude of “so what! Tough shit if you don’t like it!”
I wonder what their bosses are like?
As a common worker, I often look at things labeled so ubiquitously “MADE IN CHINA”. That lamp near me. This keyboard. Probably this monitor and computer. So many LIVES MADE THIS STUFF!
So many living beings feeling the same things you and I feel made all this…STUFF.
I wonder who they were.
I wish I could see the faces of every worker that helped assemble a product that I use.
How many faces would I see?
How many fingers and hands have touched all these things we buy and use from China… and other countries?
If I could touch those hands could I feel the person and know their lives and by doing so…
Appreciate the totality of every assembled product from a distant place?
Hmmm I wonder if any of the like Opera and hate rap … 😉