Monday, December 02, 2002

The Co-Temp is leaving!! I found out today that the Co-Temp will be starting a full-time job after tomorrow, so I will finish my current assignment in blissful solitude. And if she can get a job, good Christ something can't be far off for me. I don't know what I'll miss more, the incessant questions about my opinions on her own personal matters, the horrible country music in her car, or the barely competent way in which she accomplished very basic tasks. (Data entry ain't brain surgery, folks, but at times you wonder.) God speed, Co-Temp--I guess I'm at least happy that her kids will eat.

It wasn't all wine and roses at work today though; wow do I hate happy Mountaineer fans.

People have asked me what the coal mine is like. It's on a country road 12 miles south of the only decent-sized town in Greene County, a few miles north of the Mason-Dixon line, off of a small two-lane road. A quarter-mile-long winding driveway heads up to the mine entrance or portal. (I technically work at the Kuhntown Portal of the Blacksville #2 mine.) The building is a long one-story cinderblock building, a building that could house any small industrial concern or even a few small offices. On the inside it is similar--filled with offices with fairly state of the art computers and also filled with men (almost exclusively, few women) who know how to use them. For instance, I work in the outer of two connected offices, and the man in the inner office supervises all the union people in the mine and monitors a network of 25 interconnected computers monitoring who-knows-how-many systems running throughout the mine.

It just so happens that at one end of this modernish office building, there is an elevator that takes you 80 stories underground in 90 seconds. As a result, most everything and everyone around the place ranges from dusty to filthy at all times. Not knowing appropriate dress etiquette, on my first day I showed up wearing khakis; that night I commented to my folks that I was the only one in the place not wearing jeans, and if I did my laundry over the weekend, I'd probably be the only one wearing clean jeans on Monday. In short, the mine is not exactly what I envisioned, it's a hi-tech operation, the men are blue-collar but are blue-collar technicians rather than laborers in the traditional sense, and yet at the same time they are almost exclusively from West Virginia and in many ways are as redneck-y as I'd imagined. As my dad said when I got the assignment, it may not be my dream job, but it will be something to tell the grandkids about. For better or for worse, it will probably last me through next week, with Monday and Tuesday off for a very strange job interview in Washington, DC, but more on that later...

No comments: