Today was not the last day for Bernie to work, and probably Monday won't be, either.
It's his own damn fault for being THE employee in Plastics who has a knowledge of all the jobs and the capability to make whatever is left of manufacture and assembly work smoothly. That kind of perception was his glory when he first started messing with automotive manufacturing back when Alex was two; thirty-two years later, it precludes him from being the first out the door.
Some of the employees were told on Wednesday that Thursday would be their last day, and Bernie said that they were cheering and dancing in delight. He said he had a hard time feeling happy for them, a hard time stifling the immediate resentment that he wasn't among them. In this, I concur.
It will be a grand opportunity to see a giant operation slowly roll to its knees, and then topple slowly to its side to slumber, and then to die. Not many people get to see that happen. Perhaps Bernie will get to hear the echoes of the plant as the machinery shuts down completely, and that will be a sensory feast so rare and so monumental that one could hardly pass up the chance to experience it.
On the other hand, everyone who works with Bernie, from top to bottom levels of employment, knows how little he likes having to stay beyond what he has to. They all know he's tired, and wants to be home with the family. How cruel for them to make him stay longer simply because he has always done the very best that he can for the company!
I'm tired of having NUMMI own his ass. I want it back, for myself. I want more than two hours a day to listen to him, and talk to him, and hold his hand. I want to sneak out before sunrise for walks in the dark by the river. I want to occasionally get in the car and say, "Hey, where would this road take us?"
A friend called this morning and in the course of the conversation, she asked tentatively, as though she were treading on sensitive ground, "What do you think you'll do when he's done with his job?"
"Uhh ... LIVE?" I sputtered. We'll get a life! We'll be bad kids and play in the sprinklers every day! We'll buy bags of cherries from the street vendors, and munch them and spit the pits out the moon-roof of the car while we're traveling 50 mph! We'll wear pajamas all day! We'll write stories and more stories and build stuff and play catch with the grand daughter and romp with the dogs and lie in the sun like fat happy lizards. We'll shop for bargains. We'll soak in the Joy of Existence, for which all was created.
We have no fear of this upcoming change -- we've been good little ants and socked away lots of seeds in times of plenty. (What else was there to do when he was working such horrendous amounts of mandatory overtime?) We lose nothing in this transition, except pain and stress and disgust.
Bah, humbug! It should have ended today.