Apr 17, 2013 0 Share

Travels with My Father


Black and white illustration of two men with luggage at airport in silhouette.
iStockphoto

I recently returned from a three-day business trip with my father, who works selling car belts and hoses. He often asks me to help him with certain tasks relating to his job, and I am more than happy to give him assistance if I have time. Sometimes this means I go with him on trips to see some of his customers. This particular work trip was the longest I have ever taken with him, and even though the work was long and could be somewhat dirty, I was glad I could help my father.

The type of work we did in all of the stores mainly involved changing all of the cardboard sleeves on the belts. In addition, we took inventories of and rearranged the belts and hoses so the stores’ personnel could easily find needed parts. I feel my autistic mind is well-suited for these types of jobs because they involve keeping track of details, which is something that I find easy to do. For instance, when I was changing the belt sleeves, I had to make sure the numbers on the old and new sleeves matched and the belt fit snugly enough in the sleeve so that it would hang on the rack without falling off and would not touch the other belts, giving the whole rack a professional-looking appearance. Back in the hotel room, I put labels on the tags that came with some of the belts and hoses, sticking the labels on in just the right way so that the whole line appeared uniform. 

I also enjoyed meeting new people at the stores and having conversations with some of the friendlier employees. I sometimes find that I do not want to talk to other people because I am intimidated by them. Other times, I try to start a conversation because I want to “break the ice” between us, but the other person does not respond. It was this latter reason that compelled me to make small talk with some of the other employees. I was surprised when they spoke back to me, and soon, we were talking about some fun topics as if we had known each other for a long time. 

One thing that did irritate me, though, was the pain that kept shooting through my feet during the second and third days. I am not used to doing this type of physical work and standing on the hard floors all day really affected me. I worked through the pain because I wanted to finish my part of the work, but it made me long for the soft, soothing carpets of the hotel room.

After the work was done, I got a few compliments from some of the store employees for being a hard worker and being a good help to my dad. That praise was worth all of the labor I had put in and my achy feet, but there is something else I have come to value even more. I have gained an even greater appreciation of what my dad has to do day in and day out. It has given me an understanding of how hard he works to support our family. The pain I felt during the trip was, thankfully, temporary, but my father physically works like this every day. He does a good job regardless of what he has to do, and that dedication to his work is a virtue I would like to emulate with my own work as a writer. Being a writer brings a lot less physical pain, but it takes just as much dedication to produce a good piece of writing. Any kind of work can be worth it if you put some good effort into it, so I’ll keep doing my part to make sure that happens for me, my family, and everyone else who benefits from what I do.