Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Queens County Revisited: The 1970's (42)

To book a cheaper seat on one of the almost daily cheaper Council on International Educational Exchange [C.I.E.E.) summer travel season flights between Europe and the USA in the 1970's--only a few years before all the travel agencies started using computers (and, subsequently, the internet)-- a passenger would have to telephone in his or her credit card number or mail in his or her check in advance to C.I.E.E. to reserve a seat on a particular C.I.E.E. flight. And, in addition, if passengers were travelling back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean as part of a group, then the group leader would have to arrange a group booking of seats on the C.I.E.E. charter flight.

Since each C.I.E.E. charter flight to Europe or back from Europe required a passenger manifest (in an age before the word-processing and computer technology replaced the need for clerk-typists to do such  work), C.I.E.E. needed a fast and accurate clerk-typist each travel season to rapidly type-up the names and addresses and phone numbers of the 200 to 300 passengers (that were each written on large individual index cards for each passenger) who flew on each day's charter flight. And typing up this information on the passenger manifests each day, as well as providing information about the departure and arrival times to the many confused passengers or would-be passengers who telephoned the C.I.E.E. office each weekday, was the work I was hired do at C.I.E.E.

The C.I.E.E. job was a softer clerical-typist type of job than the Bulova job had been and paid more; and, overall, the other workers in the office in which I worked seemed somewehat more oopen to supporting an eventual radical change in the whole 9-to-5 work world set-up and for-profit-for-the corporate rich purpose of the U.S. economic system. In addition, spending my lunch hour in Midtown Manhattan again during workweeks was, indeed, generally more interesting than having to spend it in Woodside, Queens in the neighborhood around the Bulova building.

Yet it still was a drag having to get my rent money by sitting in the C.I.E.E. office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day (except on the frequent days when the IND E or F train delays meant that I didn't arrive at work until 9:20 a.m.), typing up passenger manifests, answering phone calls and conversing with the other C.I.E.E. workers during the long periods when I had finished typing up each day's new passenger manifest and there were no telephone calls to be answered. But when conversing with my co-workers I would also try to break down office morale and provide them with a political/class analysis of the sociological roots for their job dissatisfaction/boredom ; and indicate, obliquely, why a Revolution in the USA was still needed in the 1970's.