Thursday, October 26, 2006

Job Site

When I was young, I thought, one day I will drive, and be in charge of when we stop for the bathroom and where we go.

Now I am on a work crew, and I am the newest member. It isn't right, I think. I am sixty three and a half and yet I am the butt of jokes and the fool of the camp. We are engaged in a construction project and I know neither the process nor the materials. Here I must remove one wheel from a quad-wheeled vehicle of what looks like a flat platform of concrete with steel ribbing. How do I do that? I'm expected to know.

"Here," says the straw boss. "The bag goes in the bin."

It's like a sack of oats, burlap, and the "bin" is apparently one of those shelves up there along an uneven barn construction where stray boards over many years have been put to use with chaotic effect.

I think I should climb inside, a ladder which runs up the scafforlding. I squeeze by a shelf, find the passage does not go where it should.

Now I see there should be a ladder outside. That's how you do it. The boss does it, quickly and easily.

He tells me, you went to the job site this morning. You should be here. We form up here. Be here at 7:30 AM.

Now it's after that, next morning, and I see Joe, a co-worker, ambling toward the job site. I've missed it again. I can't do this. Joe is hispanic and sturdy and understanding. I say, I can't do this. He says, sure, I understand, I'll tell the bosses.

I just couldn't do this.

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