Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"I don't like work--no man does, but I like what is in the work, the chance to find yourself."

The beams were put in over the past few days. The crane would hoist them, one by one, and place them in their anchors which were bolted into the concrete. When the beams came in, the Ironworkers would guide it in with a series of hand-signals and ropes. Then they bolted the beam in place and it looked beautiful, against the morning sky. I loved the perspective and I thought that it looked like spread fingers, hand opened.

The Ironworkers started at 6 a.m. When it was coldest on that mountain, just before sunrise, those men put on harnesses and strapped themselves into the JLG to finish the ends of those beams and bolt in the remaining plates that went on the ends of every single one of them. They woke up at 4 a.m. every morning, made lunches for themselves, quietly so as not to wake the kid(s) and wife, took a thermos of coffee while stepping quietly even in steel-plated boots caked in dried cement, and they left to work. They were building an annex to a country club.
They had to wear harnesses and use a lanyard to prevent themselves from falling to certain death among the hardened concrete run-off and the exposed rebar, 15 meters below.
They did that so that rich people could have a new place to swim and run on an electric mill that kept them in place.

I had just arrived at 6:30 and still had 30 minutes to go before I began my day. I was in the pool again, but I didn't mind as I imagined myself becoming muscular and smiling slyly when I glanced into the mirror when getting into the shower. Which is funny to do, because I then will laugh at myself as I turn on the shower for being so vain. The first few cubic feet of water from the shower are cold from laying dormant in the pipe, and that usually makes me forget about the mirror and the shapes on my body.

I left early today. I told the foreman I had a dental appointment. I told the others the same when I gathered my tool-belt and headed toward my truck. We joked and talked about the price of dentistry, why it isn't part of the Health Care plan as it is generally regarded as essential anatomical equipment.

I felt guilty to tell them that I was going home to change and going onward to an interview for a government job behind a desk. I could have never told the Ironworkers that.

The interview was great. I got the job, if I want it.
I don't know if I do.

I thought about those beams stretched out like a Japanese fan tonight. Like fingers or paths. In that perspective, they spanned out in different directions, always further apart, and further, too.
I thought how my life is like those beams. All at once, in every direction and getting further from the other as it proceeds down the line of sight.
But the bolts on the beams are what I can't put in. I just can't align it level or flush.

I am going to bring some hot coffee for the Ironworkers tomorrow. They could teach me many things.

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