Behind the Name “Talking Trash”

I take people to task.

I talk smack or diss them.

I talk trash as it were.

My blog is oriented to aggressively point out the flaws in the issues and situations which are the foundations of the stories I cover. It is also a way to blow off steam about what is important to me, hoping someone out there in e-land is actually willing to pay attention and can relate.

I was also a member of physical plant when I joined the Uniter. My main task was picking up waste and refuse. So trash became something I smelt like, handled and knew very well.

Life as a physical plant worker is an aberration, and let me tell you why.

I worked in physical plant from April until August. It’s an interesting culture of work to be involved in as an unskilled labourer. The institution is not based around your work whatsoever, and you are cleaning up the filth of those far more important than yourself. My mornings are the carting of filth from one corner of the campus to the other. Thus I named my position that of Filth-swain. Trying to add some poetic importance to what is a very unglamourous existence. So much so, I am always super paranoid I smell like garbage. Specifically the smell of rancid coffee left sweltering in garbage cans over the weekend. I’m unsure much in this consumer society smells worse than garbage brewed Timmies coffee. Just saying is all.

The culture of the people I work with is rather interesting, I guess. Something that I have to find humour in, because otherwise I’d be offended all the time. It is one of those places where caricatures come alive and give credence to our politically correct leftist stereotypes. What I mean is the way manhood is defined and a constant conversation in my work environment.

So many conversations are based around, “What real mean do,” or, “this is man’s work.”  Whether it is the fact I don’t drink coffee or stare at the young women on campus, my masculinity is consistently challenged, albeit in a humourous friendly manner. But nonetheless still open to question because of my different way of behaving.

On first break many in our crew escape to the Garage where the machines are and drink coffee together in Smitty’s man-cave. It is a true man cave, complete with a swim-suit model calendar and the smell of gasoline. Gasoline is real man cologne I was informed at one point by my co-workers. There has not been one day in the summer while at work that there has not been a need for some of my coworkers to validate their masculinity in someway related to the shallowest of habits or behaviours.

It has even been suggested the consumption of copious amounts of coffee will exceptionally help me in my sexual prowess and desirability. Um, okay. Thanks for the tip I guess guys.

What I want to do is ask why does this type of culture exist as a way to promote cohesion and solidarity among the old white guys and the rest of us. But mostly the old white guys.  At its very root I think it has to do with class. These guys are constantly serving and cleaning up the mess of those who will be considered their social betters: students. The supposed next middle class. It is because of the clear hierarchy and servitude masculinity becomes such an important site of finding external and self-validation for my co-workers. We, the servants of the students, find our self-esteem in an absurd and anachronistic conception of manhood based in essentially lifting heavy things.

Oh and there is the apparent added benefit of being able to stare at young women all over campus. The main topic of discussion when not on break usually involves, “oh look at that one.”  It seems to be one of the main selling points on the job for many people. I will admit, I do find many of the people who cross my sights rather gorgeous. But there is also something very gross about a bunch of dude’s standing around eye fucking girls that could be their daughters. Yet that is what exists.

I’m consistently left wondering if I have my assumptions right, that this need for external validation of manhood is a product of deep insecurity.

So much of dude culture is talking about girls to the point of it being inane.

I didn’t last very long in physical plant because under the leadership of the department there were flaws in the way they treated personnel, but that is a story for another.