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22.03.2019 Feature Article

The America That Is Not For Me: Part 19

The America That Is Not For Me: Part 19

As a well-known yahoo, she was the Jezebel of the Trumpian fleapit, the deep state in the psalterium of the Trumpian fleapit―the Manager.

During my orientation and subsequent touring of what’d later become the fleapit in my reckoning, the Manager perfunctorily walked me through some of the company’s policies on attendance and tardiness, shift regulations, safety concerns, teamwork and collaboration, my official duties generally and the kinds of paperwork I shall be involved with forthwith, and so forth.

Not an instance of formality about the orientation and tour, from the most philistine of women leaders, the Manager.

I did nevertheless feel her warmth, her smooth-talking disposition carrying me away. In fact I got inebriated on the rhythmic rawness of her cobra tongue then secreted somewhere deep in the feathery skin of a motherly dove, not unlike the stentorian voice of Donald Trump in the political and moral and dignified charisma of Barack Obama. At least that was my first impression of her:

Affable.
Affectionate.
Professional.
Soft-spoken.
And dangerously anonymous!
What else can I say of her?
I could say this for sure, quoting myself in absolute meekness: “in her picturesque anonymity lay the deep state of her Orwellian anthology.”

Her elliptic tongue gave her Orwellian anthology away eventually as I got to know her better by closely reading the deeper chapters and pages of her actions, words, and behavior. I recall standing behind her in the Trumpian fleapit while she piled mountains upon mountains of lies about me on the poisonous ducts of her cobra tongue, and then unpacked them in the lap of her supervisor.

“She’s a stoolpigeon,” one of my colleagues charged. “She snitches as a means of survival.”

I looked at my colleague and said, “She is driven by her survival instinct.”

She had no qualms throwing her best friend and employee under the bus if she ever thought doing otherwise threatened or violated her self-preservation only insofar as her position as manager of the ship was concerned. The Trumpian fleapit revolved around her scheming theatrics and operational heavy-handedness. Indeed, she was an incorrigible masked goddess to boot.

As much as she tried to cast aspersions on my honesty to make her look in others’ eyes, she failed to achieve her objective because the quality of my work spoke loudly and strongly against her wicked intentions.

A closer look at her existential electrocardiography revealed a pear-shaped heart in the form of a callous swastika-like soul, and a rainbow-smile more in the characteristic likeness of a Frankensteinian smirk.

She was a fountain of malice.
Also as an open book buried in the floating chapters and pages of an anthology of indescribable self-styled anonymity, my Manager informed me that whenever I just needed to arrange with a colleague to take my place once I made a decision to take some time off from work. She also asked that I call in four hours prior to my scheduled shift in case I was sick or had an emergency. “These rules are not mine,” she insisted. “A privileged class of higher-ups originated these draconian rules.”

I reluctantly looked up to see the face of God when she told be this―but the scheming maneuvers of her sparkly ceilinged rainbow-smile blocked my penetrating vista of her multiverse of institutional character.

Such were her complicated ways of doing things. You never knew for sure if she was actually making up the weird chapters and pages of her multilayered selves for her Orwellian anthology, or if she was genuinely representing herself in the meandering imagination of her material existence, so I moved to disinvest my grand infatuation shares in the commercial empire of her unfathomable psychology and began working for any colleague who asked me to work for him or her.

I turned myself into a beast of burden, laboring for seven days on a number of occasions hoping to save enough money for school. My plan was to pay my way through nursing school and therefore, for all intents and purposes, I chose to capitalize on every single opportunity that presented itself for me to rake in additional income beyond the meager income I generated from my regular hours, although I wasn’t making enough because my employer pegged my hourly wage to my high school diploma.

However, some colleagues of mine mistook my industry for something else, perhaps raw greed. They saw me primarily as a money-grubbing ergophile as if they were adamantine nemeses of cupidity, as a thick character who took his job too seriously among other incendiary characterizations.

Why anyone in his or her right mind should correlate my mental agility with the arcane spirit of my work ethic in a leery, tongue-in-cheek language beat me. It was comforting though that, while trying to ingratiate with me on another level of professional socialization, none of these elements ever launched into academese as the flagship signature of his or her strategic moment of cerebration.

These opportunistic colleagues thought I loved my job so much so that they didn’t have to work because I was there to carry their ponderous worlds on my flimsy shoulders―unassisted. Among other things, this included my colleagues purposefully reneging on aspects of their commitments to our charges as they expected me to make up for their contrived inefficiencies and faineance:

They left garbage collected during their shifts for me to pick up and take outside.

They left dirty cooking utensils in the kitchen sink during their shifts for me to wash, rinse and dry.

They left the kitchen and living room unkempt for me to tidy up during my shift.

All these went on as these non-ergomaiac employees sat idly by and gossiped for hours on end about trivia, played video games, chatted on phones, listened to music and watched movies on phones.

The irony is that these calculating colleagues, all of whom were female, never did any of these to the male staff, namely, the Assistant Manager’s Casanova boyfriend. In fact, they tried to work their magic of indolence on him but failed to get him to do their bidding. He refused to touch their unfinished businesses and they returned the following day to finish them. In other words what he deemed not to be his assigned tasks, he comfortably kept his distance from. This standoffish behavior of his irked his intriguers to the point where they stopped talking to him and began to plot his fall. He became a victim of vicious calumny, the subject of wicked gossips, and the butt of unhealthy jokes. He also became a laughingstock amongst the Trumpian Amazons of idle gossip.

The Manager was fully aware of these workplace inefficiencies and squabbles. She simply ignored them because of a special working relationship she had with some of her staff―if not all―of the female employees. These female employees were loyal kamikazes who also doubled as an intricate network of stoolpigeons. This created a difficult work environment for those staff members who didn’t share in these misplaced loyalties.

I maintained my neutrality uninterruptedly. I ignored the petty politics of the Trumpian fleapit and performed my official duties as was required of me, to the hilt. Together with the male staff we took turns showering our charges in the morning, helping them to cloth themselves, cooking for and feeding them, and administering their medications.

I administered their medications because I’d acquired a Qualified Medication Administration Personnel (QMAP) certificate by then.

The male staff clocked out after we’d packed our charges into the company van. A morning shift staff and I then drove them to school. Back in the Trumpian fleapit, I vacuumed and swept the entire house and cleaned the bathrooms and kitchen sink thoroughly with bleach. The sheer amount of work I put in cleaning radically transformed the interior dynamics of the Trumpian fleapit. A signature stench that used to greet people at the main entrance petered out at the speed of light. The Manager congratulated me on my hard work when she walked into the Trumpian fleapit one day and the ambrosial ubiquity of cleanliness and ethereal freshness of the place greeted her. “You’re a stickler for cleanliness Francis,” she said. “I feel all the more better for hiring you. I’m a stickler for cleanliness too.”

A tasteless blue-collar lie!
Of course, she didn’t hire me and therefore made that bizarre remark on a whim. She didn’t even interview me for the job. This was how she used her flamboyant propensity to justify her acts of jactitation. Likewise, she used her flamboyant propensity to reinforce her managerial authority, to back her self-importance in the company, and to instill fear in credulous employees so as to render them all the more amenable to her managerial caprices and underhanded techniques of control. She always took advantage of soft cracks in others’ affable personalities and molded these cracks to suit the operational opportunism of her terpsichorean mind.

That was how she worked her cunning charm on the most credulous.

And she succeeded in this regard on several fronts, at least so she thought, given that she saw herself as being above the cusp of collective intelligence. She was the embodiment of collective intelligence itself. The Manager loved to play mind games with others in her sphere of influence on the basis of this. An example of this should suffice. I drew her attention to shortage of blank documents we worked with, charting charge daily activities in their pages. I left a note to that effect on her desk.

I returned to work the following day and stumbled upon two templates of the said documents she had left in the filing cabinet. I made photocopies of the templates, seventy in all. I then kept the seventy copies in the same place in the filing cabinet where she’d kept the templates. I made additional copies for my shift and was filling them out when she walked in. She inched closer to the filing cabinet and opened it, retrieving the copies I’d made and counting them in her fidgety hands. I gained an unrestricted vista of her histrionics from the corner of my left eye but feigned unmitigated seriousness. She looked askance at me. “Here Francis,” she said almost in a whisper, “Seventy copies. I made them for you guys.”

A tasteless white-collar lie!
I thought about firing back but held back on the tempting impulse. “I made the copies ma’am, seventy in all.” I was very polite with my response. She maintained her purchase on her indefensible claim in the face of my respectful retort. But I simply left it at that. She, however, punctured my bubble of silence with her persistence, forcing me to come up with a truce proposal. “The camera in this office will confirm that I made those copies, seventy of them,” I interjected. “Please why don’t we allow camera evidence to speak for us, you and me?”

“That’s it!”
I caught her red-handed in the dragnet of what seemed like the liar’s paradox. “Why?”

“You can’t tell me what to do!”
“I didn’t mean to cause any problems with my innocuous question, ma’am.”

“I’m the manager here, the one in charge!”

I respectfully excused myself and left the office into the open arms of another problem lurking quietly beyond the office door.

The interview date for nursing school was fast approaching, and so I informed the Manager about. “That shouldn’t be a problem Francis,” she said. “You have always covered for others and I don't think you should have a problem getting others to reciprocate your kind gesture. I will make sure you are covered when the time finally comes.” For a week or so she kept prevaricating whenever I reminded her of my upcoming interview. Moreover, none of those I’d previously covered for agreed to work for me. I advanced a step further on the chain of command, that is to say, I met with my manager’s immediate supervisor and explained my predicament and frustrations to her. “Can you go back and talk to your colleagues to see if any of them would agree to cover for you?” she asked.

“I did that already.”
She sat up in her chair, and with an innocent smile, said in a disarming tone of voice, “Try again Francis.”

“Ok.”
I went back to the drawing board again and still couldn’t get anyone to agree to cover for me. The Manager wasn’t interested in and brushed my repeated requests aside whenever I brought them up. It was only later that I got to learn from a well-placed colleague that the Manager secretly relied on my punctuality, honesty and unblemished employment history, organizational professionalism, hard work, sense of occupational hygiene, altruistic personality, and love for our charges to put the Trumpian fleapit in order. She dreaded my intention to go to nursing school, a decision she otherwise thought would automatically leave me out of her ambit of control or tutelage should I gain admission. In effect, she saw my employment as a boon to the company.

She didn’t want me to go back to school, with a view to improving my life and others closest to me. Yet she wanted to use me to achieve her primary agenda―someone, an employee on permanent standby, she could always call upon in times of pressing need to work for her when everyone else refused to return her calls. I’d answered many of such calls and driven to the Trumpian fleapit in the dead of night only to find that she’d had already sent another staff there. I’d then driven back home and never received any reimbursements and apology for my time and gas. I’d brought these concerns to her attention but then she’d always ignored my professional protestations of unjust, disrespectful treatment. She’d no respect for anyone else except for her person.

These reasons drove me back to her immediate supervisor who suggested that I take the day off for my interview.

Left to the Manager alone, I should be a night soil carrier for the rest of my life. True to form, I never allowed her underhanded intentions and unscrupulous schemes to proletarianize me in any shape or form. Given the high employee turnover the company experienced, as well as of her knowledge of my value as a reliable and honest and hardworking employee, why didn’t she treat me with respect with a view to retaining me?

Capitulating to her cacoëthes of being at the center of everything caused her to overlook how the question of high turnover negatively impacted social capital, the company’s profit-generating capacity and brand, transfer of work-related knowledge and experiences from entrenched staff to new staff and the company’s potential and actual competitors, and the established bond among the charges and entrenched staff and new employees.

Gross managerial incompetence on her part eventually led to her being demoted to the office of Assistant Manager, a privileged source confided in me, prior to my working with and under her supervisory authority. Of course she had a way of sneaking up on employees at odd working hours, in hopes of catching them in flagrante delicto, purportedly, especially in acts contrary to the official terms of their employment, in fact just anything at all she tactically could use against the miscreant employee in the potential event that this employee caught her in violation of company rules and regulations. Her proactive preemption approach to forestalling the possibility of an employee usurping her authority and office for any number of reasons succeeded in many an instance.

Also she managed to convert the constant presential filter of chaperones, namely, her intricate network of stoolpigeons, she placed strategically around certain employees into a direct line of communication between her office and her straggle of tattlers in a way that forcefully complemented her underhanded tactics for turning her straggle of tattlers into an object of menticide and authority bias. However, of all the facilities housing charges, her lubricious Trumpian fleapit was the most difficult or challenging place to work. For the most part, only black employees were posted to the Trumpian fleapit. Some newly employed staff who had been oriented to the Trumpian fleapit on their first day of work never returned to the Trumpian fleapit after their breaks.

A newly employed Ethiopian woman showed up for her orientation one day. She had a permanent job but then decided to take on a second one to supplement her exiguous income from her first job. This decision directly led her to Trumpian fleapit. This was the first time ever that she was going to work with persons plagued by developmental and physical disabilities. She came in with a baggage of mixed expectations about the potential challenges of working in this kind of environment. I was on the verge of completing my shift paperwork when she walked into the building one morning with an aura of unalloyed confidence. I smiled at her. “Hi,” she said. “How do you do?”

“How do you do?”
“Adina Bekerie.” She looked around suspiciously, fastidiously taking in anything within eyeshot and earshot. She had not caught a whiff of the rising tide, that is, of the magnitude of a threatening katzenjammer, yet. That gathering storm of physical intimidation and verbal, emotional abuse were in the pipeline.

“Francis Kwarteng.”
“Nice to meet you.”
I watched her every move, just in case the unexpected happened. “Nice to meet you too.”

“I guess you are from either Ethiopia or Eritrea?”

“Ethiopia.”
“I am from Ghana.”
“I know!”
Just then two charges, with one riding on an awkward rhythmic wave of vocal idiosyncrasy fashioned out of a perseverative cacophony of screeches, punctuated only by fleeting moments of susurrations as he caught his breath, and the other screaming Mark Ronson’s and Bruno Mars’s “Uptown Funk” offbeat, rushed at us with threatening pugilistic feints. “Uptown Funk” always signaled trouble, a harbinger of unprovoked commotion and physical confrontation with charges and staff alike.

This particular sinewy charge habitually sang this song in the mornings to indicate his symptomatic moodiness and disaffection with staff and the environment, the Trumpian fleapit, for whatever reasons. A minitiarized 12-year-old blanched version of gangster rap producer Suge Knight, he was exceptionally cunning and very strong for his age. He constantly fought another Ethiopian lady who picked him up for school every morning. “I am going to quit this job someday because of this rowdy, uncontrollable boy,” she told me. “How do you guys manage him?” Adina, therefore, had everything reason to dash into the empty kitchen as the boys charged at us for no discernible cause. I stood my ground. “Where is your phone?” she asked in a trembling voice.

My right index finger pointed toward the office. “In there.”

She called the Main Office right away. “I am not coming back to this house after today. Please get a replacement for me!”

She turned to me immediately after returning the phone to its cradle. “I already have another job. I think I have to concentrate on that. This job is not for me.”

And she truly didn’t come back!
A woman of her word!
The Manager appeared and carted the agitated boys away.

One of our charges physically attacked me with a bunch of keys, scratching my left lower eyelid. I ended up with a bloodshed eye and a lightly bleeding laceration on my left lower eyelid. In effect, I ended up with a swollen left eye after disengaging myself from his firm purchase and brandishing bunch of keys.

I was fortunate I didn’t lose the eye.
Though I did an incident report on this kerfuffle which went through the painstaking oversight reviews of the Manager and management, none of the high-ups in the company who had intimate knowledge of the incident ever commiserated with me on my plight. No one seemed to care.

I met the Manager a couple of days following this incident and asked her, “So no one cares about the condition of my eye?

“What did you say?”
“Since this incident occurred, no one in authority who knows about this incident and seen the condition of my eye has bothered to ask me whether I’ve been experiencing visual problems in the eye.”

Those pharisaic, devouring eagle eyes of hers spoke on her behalf. “A charge physically attacked another staff and broke the staff’s leg in the process. This staff is still here with us. She didn’t die.”

Just like that!
And she was gone, like the silent whisper of an amaranthine death!

She didn’t answer my frantic phone calls for help although she was on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Though she had direct access to real-time unfoldment of live happenings in the Trumpian fleapit at any time of the day, and must have definitely seen or watched the unfolding kerfuffle through her company-assigned phone which directly interfaced with all the cameras installed in the house, she still ignored my frantic clarion calls asking for a proactive act of interventionist oversight on her part to contain the worsening situation. However, I succeeded in getting the male staff out of his deep sleep, to come to my aid. He drove very fast in the dead of night to the battlefield.

This woman, that is to say her male Trumpian alter ego, was the corrupt Chicago Flint Taylor scrupulously dissertates upon in The Torture Machine: Racism and Police Violence in Chicago.

Not surprisingly, she never said a word about my eye or the incident. What she may have meant was that I had to die first for anyone to acknowledge my humanity. Could a human being be that cold? What has the healing of a broken leg got to do with my eye condition? How does the healing of a broken leg adumbrate any useful, effective strategies formulated to prevent these incidents from happening?

Of course a broken leg could kill a human being, but according to the warped or ill-informed scientific opinion of the Manager, the same cannot be said of a lacerated left lower eyelid of a swollen, bloodshot eye.

Even the staff who suffered a broken leg preferred her condition to a lacerated left lower eyelid of a swollen, bloodshot eye. The implications of this candid acknowledgement of the facts were lost on the all-knowing Manager.

The self-styled enigmatist overlooked the fact that eyes have more to say about the cryptic character of life than legs. Even blindness has more to say about life than amputated legs. Eyes, not legs, represent the noble face of life. It’s these eyes that are highly critical of the Trumpian American Dream. These eyes have kept the soul of my destiny and dignity alive in spite of all odds.

The Manager tried unsuccessfully to replace my living eyes with the permanent death of broken legs. She knew from firsthand experience that my laceration pain amounted to verbal and executive stray bullets hitting and knocking down the wall of progressive and humanistic politics along the US-Mexican border.

And she was also aware that the anti-Obamacare Trump’s demagoguery, political Wahhabism, and ideological minstrelsy virtually turned him into the Grand Pope and Imam of white nationalists and xenophobic executive pimp of the American Empire. This anti-Obamacare Trumpian manager couldn’t care less about the swollen, diseased eyes of many a poor, hardworking American whose wallets and pockets couldn’t successfully compete with rising health care costs.

She knew because she was him, hypocritically occupying the White House of the Trumpian fleapit in blackface and indiscriminately tearing the starving limbs and souls of homeless children from the uterine bosoms of their crying mothers along the US-Mexican border in a come-to-Jesus-moment as a cold, magniloquent pro-life political evangelist, just the same way her right-wing politics literally tore me away from the dead soul of the elusive American Dream.

Then again the he-she Trump, himself a bubbling child who shared a striking likeness to North Korea’s neotenic Kim Jong Un, couldn’t care less about the dire emotional implications of some of his most indispensable political decisions when, for instance, he imposed sweeping sanctions on Venezuela, a decision with a possible infanticidal import. His thaumaturgic incarnation of George W. Bush, a caretaker president whose sweeping sanctions against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq probably killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, had not been lost on the world’s conscience even as he cheerfully answered to the titular denotation of a pro-life president.

Sadly, his habitual political clowning―which did not extend beyond the excrescent, irredentist garboil over the US-Mexican border―did take the shine off the important question of universal health care. And she, namely him, happily joined the Pecksniffian chorus that strangled any political and moral dissent from his abject failure to formulate and implement universal health care in the American Empire due to his dangerous infatuation with the act of Trumpian krumping.

The Manager, an enemy of progress!
The Trump White House, a fleapit of dead broken legs!

My eyes!
My life!
My destiny!
I was a reluctant master of my destiny though America, the so-called American Dream, has stood in the way of my success. The American Dream was that anonymous haplotype of ghost, grave, scarecrow, lies, desert, and cemetery she carefully hid somewhere in her derrière. This innocent-looking woman, a spitting image of pathological lying, lied and confabulated as effortlessly as the lolling, teasing and serpentine tongues of Donald Trump, of the White House, of the American Dream. The emotional psychology of her American Dream-like smirks and Machiavellian calculations was no different from the Trumpian-fleapit mentality of the American elite and their scions. This is apparently clear from my understanding of America’s political economy. The Manager was the American elite in both ideological and structural content.

The American elite, mostly of White America, have created this platform of societal entropy that woefully detracts from a level playing field. Members of this elite class are reportedly able to buy college admissions test scores and admissions slots at top American universities and colleges for their children through dubious schemes such as money laundering, affirmative action for the rich, legacy preferences, undue influence and tax evasion, thereby giving them and their children unfair advantage over poorer but hardworking Americans, mostly African Americans and Hispanics and Native Americans. This is how the rich and powerful rob the poor and the American state. This is how the rich and powerful blatantly rig the system to fuel their self-perpetuation as a group fully in charge of the spiritual mechanics of the American body politic and its destiny.

And just as the Manager was not an apologist for meritocracy, members of this elite class―in fact some of whom hold strong reservations about race as an important factor in admissions decisions―oppose meritocracy, hence bribing officials into helping their children gain admission to top universities and colleges across the country. Julie Park’s Race on Campus: Debunking Myths with Data provides convincing scientific evidence that renders the standpat views and arguments of these elitist contrarians almost useless.

Standpattism was the ideological and philosophical substance of the Manager.

Of course, the screaming controversy surrounding the recent college admissions bribery scandal is nothing new.

Daniel Golden’s The Price of Admission: How America's Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges―And Who Gets Left Outside the Gates and Anand Giridharadas’ Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World have more information on this college bribery scandal for the Manager and her scheming alter ego, the Trumpian-fleapit American elite, to ruminate about.

Francis Kwarteng
Francis Kwarteng, © 2019

This author has authored 572 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: franciskwarteng

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