June 14, 2021

Last night I had asked Melissa to wake me up before she went to work this morning.  She has been recovering for the last weeks and I knew this would be a stressful day so I thought I would get up to support her.  When she did wake me, she mentioned the trash truck broke, and it was sitting in our cul-de-sac.  Then when she tried to log online for work, she found that the link that allowed her to get online had been dismantled and she did not have access.  To top it off, yesterday I had sent a link to a zoom call for later in the day and one of the recipients pointed out that I had forgotten to include the source of information we were going to discuss.  This was turning out to be a stressful Monday.

When I went out to get my paper the truck operator was standing in the street next to his truck, so I stopped to see how he was doing.  He told me that the hydraulics in the compactor were broke.  After trash is dumped into the truck, the hydraulics move a steel plate to smash the trash into the rear of the bin and then move it back into place in the front of the bin.  This is fitted with a sensor that does not allow the lift arm to work unless the plate is reset.  This keeps the unit from dumping trash behind the plate and causing the system to fail.  When the sensor malfunctioned, the arm was sitting on the ground.  The lift would not operate, and the truck would not move.  Another indication of a Monday.

Since the operator had begun the conversation, I decided to ask a question I have always wondered.  What happens to his route when a holiday falls on Monday (my scheduled pickup)?  He told me the entire route was just pushed back a day.  Monday trash was picked up on Tuesday, Tuesday on Wednesday, and so on.  While I sort of knew this, what I did not know was he worked a 40-hour week and Saturday was usually a day off.  With Monday holidays, he was paid for the holiday and then given overtime to work the following Saturday.  Trash is one of those essential services that need to happen.  The operator told me at least the truck broke in a spot where there was shade.

Thoughts:  I have always heard that Monday was the worst day of the week.  While I assumed this was because it meant having to go back to work, my online sources said there were scientific reasons for feeling bad on Monday.  You do not just feel less healthy on a Monday, you are less healthy.  Scientists have found that even people who generally maintain their weight weigh the most at the beginning of the week.  A Monday is the most common day for people to suffer heart attacks and strokes.  Even if you do not end up in the hospital, your blood pressure is higher on Monday, as is your chance of getting sick in general.  You can become negatively influenced in your attitudes and feelings about yourself more easily. Clemson’s national Ag Safety Database says that stress can cause as much as 90 percent of illness and disease.  Stress can interfere with your physical functioning and bodily processes.  We are stressed when the relaxation of the weekend meets the reality of work on Monday.  You are better off in a job you enjoy without so much stress.  For most of our essential workers, that is not an option.  Do the work.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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