Thursday 9th March: another awesome ride!

Check this couple out that gave me a lift home today:

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Happy times 😂

The guy worked in Neutrik back in December, and was given the sack after a few days for coming back late after lunch, because he’d gone to the toilet straight after lunch. I can imagine that – everyone times their exits and re-entry to precision. He said the main supervisor didn’t like him – and I’m pretty sure she comes across like that to most people there. But I got used to it after a few days, having had a few run-ins right after starting (including one where it seemed like I could be dismissed for requesting ear protection, which I considered being essential for my personal protective equipment in that work area because of the loud noise and my existing ear problems…. I think the personnel manager brought sense to the supervisor, who would’ve made a very bad move if I had been dismissed, for it would’ve gone quite against them. The decision eventually agreed upon was that I could have special permission to wear ear plugs wherever I felt I needed to wear them! My new colleagues were shocked, and a few said it was unfair that only I should get permission, but alas they didn’t make any move about it. I wear my ear plugs all the time, every day in the factory. I do try working without them in every morning, but normally within five minutes I start getting pain in my ears from the high frequencies).

So the guy said that he got a much better job in the end at a timber frames place near Travis Perkins on an industrial estate elsewhere in Ryde, and he’s paid better, enjoys the work more, and will be staying night shifts soon where he’ll get paid a lot more. I asked if there are any jobs available, because even though I love the community dynamics in the factory I don’t think it’s doing my back any good, and could do with getting back to working with wood again anyway. He said there will be soon, when the night shifts start, and said to keep looking in the local newspaper job listings.

They were both really sweet, the girl especially extremely enthusiastic about my hitching home from work. Then when I told them about this blog and my plans to have ‘selfies’ with all my drivers they were both excited to be involved.

Just like the last few days, I actually had to wait a few minutes for this ride. The first minute was a bit miserable – everyone that drove past seemed to be in a grump. Then it was like as if the atmosphere suddenly lifted, and pretty much every car that went past was full of smiles and waves. I had some great reactions today. I had a cyclist that said “I’m really sorry mate!!” and pointed to his bike. I had a guy that waves his arms all about, with a big smile on his face. I had a couple of ladies both with big grins, waving enthusiastically. This is why I do it. The lifts themselves are the extra part. I mainly do it for the awareness raising. And today it was brilliant.

And when I was saying goodbye to my drivers, a car driving past beeped, someone shouted “SIMON!!” and an arm waved out of the passenger window. I don’t know who it was, but suddenly I felt right at home. I’ve been here about 10 weeks now, and though I’ve felt great in one way or another ever since arriving, I now feel accepted and a part of what is going on here. And I have a lot to offer, so I’m really happy that people are opening their lives to me!

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