I've been sick but not too bad. And I've also been working. A LOT.
But as far as work goes, it's been okay. My friend Gordon wrote me a little while ago and it made me dream about working at the old desk job. It was horrible. What a nightmare! I was so happy to wake up and not have to go back to that job.
But when I did work there, I remember having a conversation with Gordon. We were discussing how the job leaves a lot to be desired and he said: "Think about it. Do you EVER wake up EXCITED to come to work? Even just every once in a while? Not at this job. Never. But even people with regular jobs should be excited to go to work every once in a while."
He's right. And when we were talking about it, it seemed like such a far-fetched, fantastic idea that I figured that being excited about going to work was the type of thing that only happened in movies and fairy tales.
Last week I got moved off the soccer stadium job to do a more urgent project. This other project involves a lot of digging holes, fixing things, and filling the holes in again. Most of the time is spent digging, though. And nearly everyday I come home quoting that line from the movie "A Bug's Life" that I used as the title of this post.
But the work has been fun. They gave me a blowtorch (they call it a "weedburner") and told me to use it to melt a bunch of PVC pipe. It reminds me of that scene from an episode of The Simpsons where you look into Bart's future and he's using a wrecking ball to knock down buildings, then he laughs and says, "They're finally PAYING me for this." And after a couple of days of that, they said, "When you come in tomorrow we'll show you how to dig with the mini-excavator (it's like a mini-backhoe).
And the next day I woke up with a strange feeling. A feeling that I thought didn't actually exist or a feeling I had just completely forgotten. I was EXCITED to go to work. When that realization hit my brain, I thought: "Hey. It's happening. I should tell Gordon about this."
I never want to dig with a regular shovel again. It's pretty amazing how delicate and precise you can be with a metal claw on the end of a robot arm.
And that is probably the best part of doing this kind of work. It feels so manly. Like, YES, THESE are the kinds of things I should know how to do... as a big macho tough guy.
But there were also wimpier, more tender moments when I made myself vulnerable by admitting to the guys, "I'm having a bad sawzalling day. Everything I sawzall today has rough, chipped edges." And they tried to make me feel better by saying, "No. It's just cold this morning. It's hard to make a good cut when everything is covered in frost." I said, "No, it's too late. I'm feeling self-conscious about my sawzalling. Don't ask me to cut anything else."
And at one point in the day, I was trying to bundle some pipes together really quick with some duct tape. I was moving the roll of tape around and around the bundle and then the guy I was working with said, "That's enough." and he reached out and ripped the duct tape while I was still wrapping. And I almost got upset with the guy. Because reaching out and tearing another man's duct tape... well... that just seems like your crossing a line to me. I'LL DECIDE when it's enough. But I'm still new on the job so I didn't want to make trouble. But that guy is on warning.
Going to lunch with these guys is strange, too. It's kind of sad and kind of funny. They are the biggest perverts ever. But it's not even creative. It just seems like a bunch of indifferent, cliche lines and I almost wonder if they feel PRESSURED to make lewd comments as construction workers. It all seems for show. It doesn't seem like it comes from the heart when they say, "It's a slow beaver day." or "It should be illegal for a girl that pretty to wear clothes." It seems pretty pathetic to me and I can't say I enjoy being at their lunch table. And it would be one thing if they were all single but they're not. They're all married, with kids. But they go to lunch like they have this important duty to openly stare (as a group) at women and make stupid comments. I would respect it more if they were single and trying to find a date. But they aren't. And I doubt any of them has any intention of cheating on their wives. So it seems kind of pointless.
I like pretty girls as much as the next guy but I just don't understand the goal of these lunch time games. I'm thinking these guys are probably insecure and need to talk like that to prove something to eachother. I don't know what. It just makes me realize that my wife is really pretty and that I'm attracted to girls that remind me of my wife, except they look sort of like her, just not as good. It sounds like I'm pandering to my wife here, but that's really how it is. Sorry.
We were at lunch the other day at a mall food-court and one of the guys said, "I'm going to be in the video game store. Come and get me when you're done eating." So after we finished eating, we went and got him. He came out of the store looking bothered and he said, "I was about to start killing people in there! I forget that people are nerds like that! I was listening to some guys talk about buying gold for some video game and I seriously wanted to hit them in the face."
I said, "I was talking to a guy at my other job and he likes "Dungeons & Dragons" but he doesn't like to let people know because they make fun of him. And I told him that it's stupid for anyone who plays "World Of Warcraft" to make fun of people who play "Dungeons & Dragons" because they're basically the same exact thing."
And the guy who was mad at nerds said, "And then there are people like me who make fun of ALL of those people."
I said, "Well. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to think about you. You say you're all about making fun of nerds and yet you just spent your entire lunch hour hanging out in Gamestop."
My general foreman said, "Damn! Don't mess with the new guy!" and he had a good laugh at the nerd-hating-nerd's expense.
So, anyway, I never pictured myself as a soil-shoving loser but now that I'm doing it, it doesn't seem all that bad.