notes from Peter ‘Dj Xpect’
What it do peeps!!!!
I am back. I apologize for that sorrowful episode yesterday…there was just some stuff I had to let off my chest u know…
Today……….I plan on talking about everything and nothing plus both the other three of them. By nature I am a chatterbox…and I hate typing up stuff because I always try to type as fast as things run through my mind. Today I want to reminisce on some experiences from the past that I may or may not have documented somewhere. I was just thinking about how much I hate my corporate job when memories of where I have come from work-wise mentally slapped me back into my senses so I figured out……..why not share my work history with you. I ain’t got nothing to lose right? jobs in the past….
My first job was @ a Chinese restaurant in Mahomet, Illinois. My pay was 20 dollars a week, I did not have a social security number yet or nada. I was comfortable with the pay since I used to convert everything into Kenyan shillings and feel rich as hell so 20 dollars was 1400 Kenyan shillings, I felt so rich u couldn’t tell me sh*t. I loved the job, and didn’t meet or mingle with customers much because if I was not washing the bathrooms and toilets, I was in the Kitchen cooking all these Chinese foods you eat today like won tons, egg rolls , chicken fried rice, pork fried rice, f**k it, everything fried rice…..even goat/pig fried rice or wateva!………….those were the days when Africans were the master cooks here in the USA..every kind of restaurant u went to, we were there cooking everything and anything…..these days the Mexicans have taken over. These chaps will cook Injera in an Ethiopian restaurant………Italian, Scandinavian, you name it…the other day I even saw a Mexican in a Somali restaurant on Lake street telling another Mexican ‘ warriyaaaaaaa set-hae!’….I was like wtf? they have really conquered. I bet you if there was a Kenyan restaurant around there would be 85% chance you would run into Amigo cooking Ugali and Matumbo in the kitchen. Anyways…pardon my A.D.D., back to my story.
The only challenging thing about this one job I had in Illinois was communication. I had been in America for 1 month now, and the Chinese restaurant guy had been there for probably 15 years but his Chinese accent was as strong as my African accent was………….and there were no Americans who worked in that kitchen………….just me and him so if you have ever heard of the term communication clash….go figure. We had to communicate via alot of hand signals and facial expressions because word wise it was a no no…..for example let me briefly demonstrate how hard things were;
Owner: Pitaaaaaaa yuuu kam mi tich roll egg pan fry paaaaaaaa!!! hot no far stay burn gently ya ya!! ( meaning Peter come here and let me teach you how to make egg rolls, you want to gently place them in the pan since there is a lot of hot oil , if you throw them in hard there will be a splash!! ( which he referred to as paaaaaa!!! and another terrifying look I do not want to remember)………….and what made things worse was that the use of the word ha is common in both African and Asian expression. From his expressions, he used the word ha to affirm something or to laugh while where I come from , ha means huh???? so most of our conversations ended up somewhere around the ha..huh?..ha….huh? kinda back and forth communication. I had to struggle soooo hard to express myself to the point that it almost became part of my regular personality to use animations and all kinds of gestures. I kept on though for a month or so until I got my social security card and landed my first real job……….@ Dairy Queen.
I had never felt soo rich in my life, $5.15 an hour? woohoooooo I was rich…..in Kenyan terms, that’s how I figured out everything…through conversion to Kenyan money..this job however was the most challenging job I had yet come across because for one learning to work there was like teaching someone the alphabet from scratch. For those of you who may not know, Dairy Queen sells frozen treats like ice cream, blizzards e.t.c. That place was hell to me. For someone who had just come from Kenya, how am I supposed to figure out what a reese’s peanut butter cup blizzard is? or a oreo cookie dough blizzard is? this was hell. And it did not help that there was the accent barrier between me…………..and them. The whole other world was them………and I do not know if my fellow dairy queen employees meant to humiliate me or what but within one month they put me to work the drive through for my first time ever and it was a totalllll disaster… as in extremely. That is where the culture and language clash combusted proper. They would order something…..and I do know what they have ordered……..but when I read their order back to them…..they are like Oh helllllllll no I do not think I ordered that, what are you talking about? and surely, it was the exact thing they had ordered man, for example one lady came through the drive through and ordered a cheeseburger with lettuce, mayo, tomatoes, onions as well as a large order of fries. I clearly understood what she ordered but when I read back her order, she could not understand what the hell I was talking about. I will note down how my pronounciation was coming out in parentheses ……I read it back to her; ” Madam ( mud-um), you have ordered ( oh-dad) a cheeseburger ( chiz-baga), with lettuce ( let-youss), mayo ( muh-yo), tomatoes (toh-ma-toes), onions, and a large order of chips..sorry fries….this lady completely denied that she had ordered any of that stuff while if she had just taken the time to listen to what I was saying instead of trying to make sense out of my accent she would have got it. And the more we tried to communicate, the more frustrated I got and u know how Africans get when they are frustrated……you will hear a variety of sounds that only we know of n know what they mean ..like clicks, hissing, and random belches like mmmmm, ishhhh, tst tst…………..lol. Poor Dairy Queen woman, the more she tried to understand me, the more pissed I got because I could clearly understand her, I just handed the headset to the whitest fellow employee..who was a brunette suburban girl named Amber who happily and fake-smiledely helped the woman………..and yes when the car came round the corner to pay n pick the food, all 4 heads in the car were cramming to stare through the dairy queen window and see who and what was that they were just talking to………..and yup you got it right, I gave them the most beastly and savage look you could ever give an ignorant person………those ‘ I will bite you’ looks hehehehhee. Honestly, that was the first time I really regreted coming to America ( notwithstanding the fact that I was born here…but I grew up back home).
One thing you……..yes you my American bretheren and sisteren should know is …if you are having trouble understanding an African due to their accent………..let it go…..because things will head in terrible directions…………….for one if you keep saying huh? what? huh? to an East African, they will keep trying to adjust the accent to the point where you pretty much will understand nothing..and neither will he / she………If he was trying to say, ” how do I get upstairs (up-stay-ers)’ and you don’t understand and keep prodding, you will be surprised at how the work upstairs will be molested. An East african will try to mold it to make sense to you ………….upstuuuurrrrrs?……upstrs?……uppp stayyyyrrrrrzzzzzzzz….yup thats an East African for you……………..A West African……………….……..will simply beat the shit out of you. Westos don’t play man………I shit you not……… with their short tempers???? and you prod them????? they will pooonch!!!!!!!!!!!! the living demons out di you face.
Back to my story…….. I got off work at 9pm and drove my new car..actually a used honda accord with a smashed up front ( which I had bought from the Chinese restaurant owner for 600 dollars) to the nearby gas station. I slowly pulled up to the pump and waited……..waited…waited….waited…no one was coming, I was soo pissed. I stormed out of the car and into the gas station asking where the attendants were..and they were in shock. I yelled at them saying I had been sitting there for almost twenty minutes and no one had come to put gas in my tank and wash my windscreen until they explained that everything was self service. I was used to Kenya where you just pull up and someone is there on point to hook you up. Either way I had no clue as of how to do a, b, or c so I ended up having one of them help me pump the gas in the car and went from there……..a few blocks later after leaving the station I saw the dreaded Christmas lights behind me. I continued driving on and on as the convoy behind me became longer and longer. I couldn’t understand why these people couldn’t just pass me and keep moving so I kept driving until one squad car pulled past me and slammed on its breaks. I got out of the car like wtf only to encounter dozens of guns pointed at me and orders to lay down and a whole bunch of stuff. Bear in mind I forgot to mention that I was the only minority in this town, there was not even a Native American or Mexican or anything so these cops were pretty excited about the situation until they found out that I was from Africa and simply never knew I was supposed to yield…..my fault was driving without my headlights on…….how was I supposed to tell, it was night time but America is sooo bright at night unlike back home I was very comfortable driving with the headlights off and could see just perfect.
If you think those two jobs were dramatic you have not heard anything yet. I have done some jobs sooo terrible that if you watch the show ‘Hazardous jobs’ on Discovery channel, you would think they have been blessed by God.
The one thing I credit myself for is that……….. am a strong black man…..heheheheh as in there are peeps you can meet who do not have a job and will be like ‘dayum, I have been looking and looking and looking’………..trust me, in the past, I had no time for that bullshit. While waiting for responses from where I had submitted my interviews, I would be that chap at 5am waiting outside the day-to-day temp staffing agency to do whatever was coming my way……that is what you call hazardous………everyday you are somewhere different, doing something different….for 8 hrs being paid minimum wage. I have worked in junkyards, warehouses, done janitorial stuff………let me just put it this way I would rise earlyyyyyyyy in the morning to go for these jobs all syked up looking forward to the 45 dollars I would get at the end of the day for the hard work just like everyone else………..but we would be worked sooo hard and inhumanely that by the time the day was over and you went to pick up your check from the temp agency, you were just looking for the closest bar to drink away and forget the last 8 hrs of humiliation you just went through………..then to make things worse….there was a bar next to the temp agency….which coincidentally cashed checks….only from the temp agency next door..can you believe that shit?
No wonder that bar was packed 24/7 after 5pm……….peeps would literally go work the temp job all day, get paid, then drown the 40 bucks away in the bar next door………..which I also unfortunately did for a couple of weeks though before coming to my senses. Some of these chaps had started becoming such close buddies of mine until they would invite me to their house barbeques e.t.c. lolllllllllllll Peter…oh Peter…
But to date, the worst humiliation I have ever suffered is from the Minneapolis/St Paul airport. A close pal of mine, and I were sent there to work near the terminals and wash dishes which were coming from the planes that had landed. This was sheer humiliation. The dishes, e.t.c. would come down a conveyor belt and we would have to throw some here, throw some there, cutlery here, n there..while wearing the ugly ass robes, nets on the head, and gloves. Let me tell you………….that conveyor belt thing was moving fffasttttttt, I swear that was just inhuman. I cannot even count how many dishes me n homeboy broke trying to keep up..and you break, the money is taken from your pay. Very humiliating 8 hrs it was…….but we kept our heads up until end……….as a matter of fact once we were done, we played cool and bought some magazines and snacks as we walked through the terminal to the exit for the bus……………acting like we had just come off a long flight from Miami or los Angeles….while in reality where we had come from was right around the corner……an area known as Los Kitchenes y vamos dishes coveyor beltes too fastas .hehehehehhe. damn it!! that was the wake up call. After that day……I never stepped into a temp job again, that was the wake up call.
I have to cut the note short here before I keep going on and on. I will continue with more of my interesting jobs that I do not put on my resume soon and very soon…….If u know where I work now, I did not get here the easy way, I put in the hours hehehehe…..kapish!!
PS: Before I leave I just want to make a very interesting observation and for those of you in different states can you please let me know if it is the same there? I hear that here in Minneapolis Jails…namely Hennepin County Jail these days if they see your name sounds foreign or if you have an accent they ask you, ‘ Sir would you like us to contact Immigration to assist you’?
WHAT KIND OF A FUCKIN QUESTION IS THAT?????????????
I would be like Helllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll Noooooooooooooo!!! nope nope nope nope. I am no immigrant, as a matter of fact the name you see on my ID is a nickname, my real name is Walter McDonald..or Larry Smith or something putting on my best accent impersonation ever ….what kind of dumb question is that?? ati would you like Immigration………..as if someone would say , ‘Why yes thank you very much’ lolllllllllll. Over my dead body. That word causes terror in several peoples’ minds..from Mexico to the far coasts of Africa. Someone please let me know if they do that in different states. lollllllllllll