Saturday, March 5, 2011

Illegal and Indefatigable

1989 Ford Econoline… Monday, 5:34 a.m.… 52 m.p.h….

This day I will not sweat behind the little push-mower or have my shins slapped by the weed whacker. The insults of Luis Aguilar, who struts like a luchador while his taunts are drowned out by the whine of a two-cycle engine—these I will no longer endure.

I am a man who has kept the conveyor belt running at the Glomex cement plant in Monterrey in the State of Nuevo Léon. Not once did the river of gypsum cease to flow on my shift. Never was I sick or tardy in my seven years of employment. I do not hold El JéfeSeñor Cabrales—accountable for the plant closing or the loss of my position. As he explained in the letter sent to all former employees of Glomex S.A., his decision was most difficult and due to changing demand for our world-class products. I am proud to say that, except for the young man who lost a hand that night in my third year of employment, my team had a most excellent safety record.

As I merge with the trucks driving north through Stamford on Interstate 95, I can imagine my fellow workers beneath the overpass—Berto, Miguel, TJ and his cousin Estéban. Also Nacio. This very moment they will be clustered around the third column on the southwest side, sipping their paper cups of coffee and wondering why I am not waiting there with them for the jackal Aquilar in his Dodge Ram pickup.

I wish them well—most of them anyway. But I am a man of much ambition and cannot delay my success by waiting for those with the shuffling dreams of a péon.

Acres of green lawn and trimmed shrubbery may serve as a showcase for the house of a rich banker, but it is no place for a man of industria—of imaginación.

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