Day Labor

We all have to earn a living to afford the basics (and not so basics) in life. Money is a necessary evil, thus so is a job. If you live in the South, you are familiar with the concept of migrant day labor. Mexican immigrants stand on a corner and wait for suburbanites in SUVs (luxury of course, because they are always the cheapest bastards) or professional landscapers or contractors to come pick them up and pay them for a days work.

Under the table. At a rate negotiated on the street by the English speaking Migrant Management.

Admittedly, we have hired them to help rake leaves. They do phenomenal work in half the time it would take us--seriously--because they have integrity and a desire to do a good job (unlike we lazy, entitled Americans). It's quite interesting.

And highly illegal I believe. Which brings me to this morning's experience. I was running out of gas on the way to work--literally sputtering down 285 afraid my brakes would fail and end up road kill in the leased vehicle I am about to turn in--and pulled into a gas station off Roswell Rd. A place notorious for picking up day labor.

There were about 15 of them (which is a lot for one corner), and they were subtly signaling to me when I pulled up to the pump. No, just need gas thanks. Seeing as they could not understand me, they approached me and asked me if I "want yard work" or "want bebesit". Babysitting? I know there is a language barrier, but I am pretty damn sure this what they offered. That in itself if just whack, but what was even odder about this experience is they typically do not approach you--they wait for you to come to them.

They went away, and as I turned back to replace my gas cap I noticed Sandy Spring's finest parked across the street. Which then begged the question--if this is indeed an illegal practice, are the cops paying the day labor to catch suburban criminals in the act? Far fetched theory maybe, but then again maybe not. Or maybe it was just a slow day--not enough people doing 90 around 285 to keep the coppers busy.

Too bad I couldn't hire them to do my job for a day.


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