Monday, May 3, 2010

The End of the Day

I was locking up the pharmacy and leaving the medical building one day last week. I think I was probably the last person out. A group of cleaners comes in to the building at the end of the day and works during the evening -- they come in and do some light cleaning in the pharmacy itself before we close. Like a lot of people doing this type of work, they are all Hispanic. They smile and say hello but most of them speak only broken English.

As I was leaving the deserted building I saw one of these young men working in the trash receptacle room. He had some music playing -- it was very lively Spanish / Mexican style music. What I mean is, it wasn't rap or hip-hop or Lady Gaga or country & western or any one of our American mainstays.

It was, I'm thinking, his music from 'home.'

It made me kind of sad. I guess I felt kind of lonely for the guy. I find myself wondering about the path that led this young man from his place of birth to a job in the Midwest cleaning up the detritus from a busy medical clinic (and there's a lot of it, believe me.) Could they find an "American" to do this job? Maybe, especially with the current economy -- but it would be a 'high turnover' kind of job. It's not very attractive work.

I like where I live. It's hard for me to imagine having to pick up and go somewhere else, anywhere else, to make a living. Immigration reform is going to be the next big screaming match, but it's really about time we stopped talking about it and did something. I'm a law-and-order person but there's got to be a civilized way we can provide some opportunities to people who are willing to empty our trash and refill the paper towels and scrub down the exam room floors and work late into the evening after they watch us walk out the door. I'm not saying I can offer up a perfect solution, but I would like to see us work on one.


Phathead said...

I always thought it was rather weird to see Hispanics in the midwest. Not where you'd think you'd find a lot of them.

And you should shoot me an email sometime, I've gots a question for ya!

Anonymous said...

I grew up during the 70's when boat folks that spoke perfect French came to this country with little or nothing of material worth but energy and hope--the governor of the state had arrived decades before with something like 83 cents on him--and the land was harsh and elemental but there were settlements of eastern European communities along the rich fishing grounds as well as the native settlers had just been granted by the US government rights to claim their own land. We're a land of immigrants and we're damn selfish with what we have grabbed for ourselves and our kin.

Bulrush said...

Believe me, this (Hispanic) guy is getting paid MUCH more in the US than in his home country, and he is happy for the work.