Archive for the ‘Working for the City’ Category
The summer is winding to an end; I’ve only got 4 days of work left, and word on Weatherman Street is that it will frost tonight.
This ending, combined with excessive amounts of free time driving back from NYC, gave me the opportunity to think back to the beginning.
I had assumed that my coworkers were simple people; I think I even called them rednecks. In some ways, such as formal education, this is certainly true. But my assumptions were continually confronted by the contrary evidence- their broad knowledge of politics and current events, their deep encouragement of education for the next generation, and of course a working knowledge of things mechanical and practical far outstripping my own.
This, I suppose, I should have seen coming. But the real surprise came from getting to know them as individuals. There were two guys in particular who I identified from the beginning as the most kind-hearted. I was stunned as I learned their stories over the course of the summer; the nicest guys were the ones with pasts that I would have thought would tear most people apart. One had been through the largely physical trauma of brain-melting quantities of drugs and blows to the head. The other has lived his life surrounded by death; his two brothers who died of “lead poisoning”, his service in Vietnam, his coworker who became a serial killer.
I guess our minds and bodies are built to be every bit as adaptable as our impressions.
Awesome nicknames, because they do this all the time and earnestly.
Any individual co-worker = “Bubba”
Any group of co-workers = “The boys”
The Boss = “Daddy”
My co-workers regularly say things that would get them fired in an office. They’re not afraid to be politically incorrect, or to insult and threaten each other. But it’s a rough job, and they need some way to keep things interesting; anyway, they say, they’ve all been working together too long.
It think it’s refreshing and funny most of the time. Here’s a great example from today, after I did some quality mason-work:
Grizzled Foreman: Good job James, I like how you’ve been showing initiative. I’m promoting you to lead temporary.
Other Temp: So I guess I should start working harder?
Boss-man: You could show some initiative by taking that brick and hitting [grizzled foreman] in the head.
Why work when you could get payed not to?
Our crew consists of 5 regular guys, 2 summer guys (myself included), and one boss-man.
I just finished my 5th week, and we’ve had the full crew in for a grand total of one day.
Taking my first day off next week, for El’s birthday!
Traffic cones and bright yellow vests confer upon their bearers an awesome power. Traffic can be halted and redirected at your command. The depth of this power was revealed to me today when my co-worker stopped the cops, so our backhoe could cross the road first.
Be courteous to pedestrians when driving, especially when they are attractive women.
Cross walks = Gawk Walks