Chapter 5 - The Old Man and the Corporation

WHEN THE WHISTLE BLEW - THE WORK DAY BEGAN

The summer of 2011 had begun and I, Valdimir Tarasoff, could not believe what was happening in and around this old foundry. The excited man began spending more and more time here, and not necessarily during daylight working hours. I found his schedule difficult to understand at first, it did not make sense to me. If this building was indeed still a place where a man could earn a living, why was he not here during the day ? I was beginning to wonder what had become of this old Crane company which was always filled with workers each and everyday and night for so many years. It now appeared to me to be more of a desolate and odd place for these few people to claim that they were here to earn a living. There were so few of them day in day out in this here and now compared to what I remembered being a prosperous and productive time for this vast and growing country.

Regardless, the excited man was here and doing things most of the evenings and occupying my old workplace on the third floor, and more often than not, on Sundays as well. Sometimes he worked so late during the week that he would just climb to the upstairs platform and fall asleep on the floor instead of leaving the workspace to find real rest, regenerating comfort and solace. Instead, I could hear him snore irratically until daybreak from the workshop floor.

In the mornings the excited man would usually make tea on a broken stovetop and leave here only to return 12 hours or so later. He must have had something else to do everyday, somewhere else to go other than working at fixing these older pinball machines. Maybe he had a family he needed to tend to, I couldn`t be certain. When he was here on Sundays it was usually with the tall man who seemed to be his helper and guide. A helper I was sure, a "guide" ?, I say this only because the tall man would occasionally offer awkward words that made little sense at first, but somehow caught the excited man`s attention. This would send the excited man into fits of thought which were often outrageous via the words that were spurred on by these thoughts.

Across the road as well I saw odd events and happenings occur, - such new things were taking place where the old train yards use to be. There was less noise and smoke and movement of large objects, everything that moved seemed smaller and less important in relation to get the work done.

I was not use to this era and the people`s behaviour and how it appeared to be so leisurely, almost wasteful & slothful, but then again, I tried to remind myself that people were the same as in my time. They had not changed in essence, they have been the same throughout the centuries as I watched what seemed like a new age which was coming into being, an age of a certain lackadazical nature, at least that is what it looked like from this window..

Regardless, people will always be essentially driven by survival, power and affirmation. And often who is providing the affirmation will have the power over those who are not confident and strong. This remained true in my time and it seemed to remain true now as I watched people talk to themselves and look at the objects in their hands which seemed to be guiding them like some sort of compact pied piper. I could not tell where they were going, and some seemed more lost than others when they tried to communicate in person with another human being. The excited man could not bear the latter, good communication was key to him in order to be in touch with those he wanted to know.

I turned away from the window and returned to the refuge of the shop to watch what the excited man would plan next. He had a schedual, I was sure of that, it always seemed that he had a schedual in his life no matter what, and was hanging on to it like a drowning man. It was a saving grace for him, as if it would maximize what mattered and hence limit the non-sense, or at best cage it. As I got to know him, I learned that he was quite selfish with his time, self-absorbed in his thoughts and seemed driven by some force I could not yet identify. He had no foreman or supervisor, and there was no one around prodding him to act. In fact it was at times a bit unnerving to watch him work and fumble about, especially with others. He demanded as much as he would give, and I think many people who met him found this overbearing. He reminded me of one of the plant managers at the Crane Company, a certain Mr. Mckernin, a miserable man of great efficiency with a strange sense of humour who would not hesitate to say what he thought, whatever was being questioned. The excited man was of the same mould.