Saturday, February 23, 2008

County Chronicles

During the 60s I worked for Los Angeles County. We worked in a crowded 4 story brick building on Whittier Blvd. in the heart of ELA. Down the road Watts had just burned, people rioted and protested in the streets and we lived our little pompous lives on the 4th floor.

Every two "workers" shared a phone. Two men, social workers, highly educated in human behavior just could not share a phone. They argued about phone use every day. One particularly humid day with a crowd of picketers downstairs their phone rang and they fought over whose turn it was to answer it. Their animosity turned physical. They rose up, overturned desks and with all of us watching they came to blows and the blood flew. It was a welcome break in our endless typing.

The police came. Both social workers were handcuffed and led to the elevator. Their phone continued to ring, now from the floor. Our boss, a big guy in a shiny blue suit kept sputtering, "Somebody answer the G*#@ D+^*#! phone.

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