I’m in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew my license, when I get into a conversation with the guy behind me. He tells me that he’s forty-six-years-old, a native San Franciscan, and that he has two jobs: he’s a construction worker during the day and a tow truck driver at night. He gets up at 6 a.m. five days per week and doesn’t return home until midnight.
“How do you do it?” I ask him, and he responds, “It’s not how I do it, but why I do it! I have a mortgage to pay, car payments, and I’m saving bit by bit to eventually help my kids through college.”
Then, as we continue talking, his cellphone rings and with my back half-turned from him, I hear that he’s having a less than amicable conversation with someone. “Yeh! Yeh! Yeh!” he says, and after he hangs up, he tells me, “That was my ex-wife, who’s suing me for child support. Adding on to what I said, I also keep getting harassed for money, which, no matter how much I give her, is never enough. So, that’s my story!”
He says, with a trace of a smile…
Jeffrey Zable is a teacher, conga drummer/percussionist, who plays Afro-Cuban and Afro-Haitian folkloric music for dance classes in San Francisco and Berkeley. He’s also a writer of poetry, flash fiction, and flash non-fiction. More recent publications include Ink In Thirds, Uppagus, Defuncted, Lucent Dreaming, The Mark, Alba, Corvus, and many others.
The featured photograph used in this post was released under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic by the Oregon Department of Transportation.