I've been walking a picket line lately which is a unique and humbling experience. I won't compare myself to the women in the photograph above. The sweatshops of the past, although they exist in the present in developing countries, were and are truly something to protest about. It's true that there is both mould and asbestos in the school I work in but we've been reassured that the latter is completely innocuous as long as it is not disturbed. And I do work with students whose head lice seems untreated on an ongoing basis as well as twelve year olds who haven't realized that deodorant was invented to meet a real need but these are small matters.
While doing my daily stint of picket duty I've discovered that what I thought was a pleasantly warm day is actually cool when you are standing around or walking outside. I've enjoyed getting to know colleagues through personal conversations that the job usually does not allow time for. Now that I am spending hours on side streets, I've noticed that children don't play outside like they did when I was a child or even when my children were younger. Activities like skipping, tag, hide and go seek, California kick ball and Capture the Flag are nowhere to be seen. I console myself that the neighbourhood children have gone on an early vacation as I can't bear to think they are inside playing video games all day.
I appreciate people bringing donuts to prevent starvation on the line although I'm sure my waistline doesn't. I'm amused that we aren't supposed to play cards or monopoly, according to the rules I've been told, because it would look like we were having too good a time. I find it difficult to comprehend how workers can continue to do this for many weeks as I am grateful that the school year will be over soon. But then I feel ashamed to think that. I've learned that it is best to be positive and avoid criticism of either the union leadership or other people's opinions. Nerves are a bit frayed at times. I've been sad to have my pay cheque disappear but I know others are living closer to the financial edge. I realize that the news does not necessarily provide true information even when it is happening in the same city so now I find it difficult to watch news that takes place elsewhere in the world with any credibility.
I console myself that it is all fodder for the writer's mind.