I work with a guy that reminds me of Mr. Miyagi. He’s short, has a moustache (don’t ask me specifics of what kind. I’m not that well versed in this whole moustache phenomenon hitting America these days), wears a baseball cap and a button-up shirt that is always untucked in some corner, and has a grumpy look on his face. He’s the funny Mexican guy I wrote about after my first day on the job. He was the guy who showed me how to make boxes only instead of telling me how to do it with words, he took the tape gun from me or grabbed the box I was packing and taped up or beat the boxes to make sure everything fit in ok. He’s a charming old guy. He’s one of the best parts of my day at Oregon Wine Service. He’s just cool. Somehow, in the nine days I have worked in the warehouse, he taught me how to package a box in a way that would inspire executives at Amazon (as if executives at Amazon are actually interested in how people package their boxes – or wait, they actually might!).
So besides teaching me how to pack up wine like a champ, my Miyagi is a wiz at cards. He and this guy Cheva play cards during our 15-minute breaks. Even when they don’t make it to break at the same time, they play cards. They play for pennies and nickels and sometimes, they play for peppers. No joke. I get to the break room and the deck of cards sits in the middle of the table with jalapeño peppers on top of it. And the boys play for their peppers. My Miyagi is a permanent employee of the warehouse. He has a cupboard in the break room with his stash of fruit, soda, coffee, and taco shells. You name it – I think he’s got it. He’s got the mother load. I’ve started to wonder if perhaps he’s a permanent fixture at the warehouse, like my host dad in Ukraine who serves as a security guard and sleeps at the school to make sure no one breaks in. That could be my Miyagi.
Ok. So I know that Miyagi from The Karate Kid isn’t actually all that much like the guy I’ve just written to you about, but he’s a really cool guy, right? So is Julio. In all reality, I hate this job I go to for eight hours a day, but I’ve realized that sometimes a job is more than just the work you do at the job. Sometimes, a job is cool because of the people you work with or the money you get to take home every payday. A job can be tough. It can make your hands hurt, your brain ache, and you may even want to quit every once in a while, but then there are the days that made you laugh and the people who you looked forward to seeing. That is mi amigo. I hope the old guy doesn’t ever use his sick days because life in the warehouse would be a whole lot less bearable without my Mr. Miyagi.