The Daily Dump

A place where everyone (me) is welcomed to express their opinions openly and honestly. I encourage free thinking, free wheeling, off-the-cuff banter and monetary donations.

Friday, August 4

Yeah, Men!


I’ve had four jobs over the course of my life (six if you count the three day stint at the “chain restaurant which shall remain nameless for to give it a name is to make the memories real,” and my brief flirtation with crime fighting when I was six, which was cut short when I couldn’t find any crime in my bedroom or the kitchen.)

My first job was working as a deckhand on a ferry, aka The Greatest Job Ever. My responsibilities were as follows:

1. collect tickets
2. flirt with girls
3. untie boat
4. tie up boat
5. flirt with girls

Granted the memories will all be tainted 20 years from now when I’m getting chemo for the melanoma ravaging my body, but for now I can still look back fondly and hold out hope that if people can get paid to do what I did, then a capitalist run, commodified existence can’t be all that bad.

During the winters, I worked at a gym. The owner was a large, black former body builder who entrusted the entire gym to me two nights a week. He was nice and sociable and, in hindsight, perhaps a little mentally unstable. Either that or he had been raised to believe that sitcom plots were born of real life events, and a 16 year old white suburban kid could really park his mountain bike in the back room and learn valuable lessons about business, responsibility and life all on his own. Because basically all I did was play the Weezer album and see how fast I could run on the treadmill before falling off. The gym closed not long after my employment ended.

And of course there’s my current job, where just last week I may or may not have had a cocktail with my lunch . . . at my desk. Soooo, yeah.

But amidst all that, there was one other job. I spent a couple of summers and a few vacations from school working with my father, who is a building contractor. It was, undoubtedly, the hardest job I’ve ever done (crime fighting included), but it was also the most rewarding. Whereas now at the end of the day I go home knowing that I helped someone get away with defrauding their business partner, or on the ferry left with the satisfaction of helping insecure teenage girls get sun poisoning “which will turn into a really great tan,” here I went home aching and tired and always bleeding from somewhere, but at he end of the day there was something tangible where before there had been only space. And more than that, it was going to be somebody’s home. (Well, actually most of the work was in the Hamptons, so it would be someone’s summer home. But still, years from now, after it has been bitterly contested in the divorce, it will still stand as a memorial to the manual labor that went into its creation. The same cannot be said of my intense efforts to get the 5’2” 160lb woman to fully extend her fourth leg press.)

Also, even despite the gaping age difference between the other employees and myself, no other job had the same sense of camaraderie. Being the youngest didn’t mean that I was treated any differently than the 40 year old guy who once shit in a spackle bucket, it just meant that I had different responsibilities (read: crap work) than everyone else. Such as taking food orders, unquestionably the most dangerous part of my job. I would fall through a partially shingled roof (which I did) than hand a man with a hammer on his waist a medium regular coffee when he ordered a large light and sweet. One time I forgot to order tomato on a guy’s ham sandwich and at 4:30, as we were packing up to leave for the day, he was still mumbling while walking past me, “How can you eat a ham sandwich without tomato?”

When I got all the orders right, though, it was a triumph and I was lauded for being the bearer of all things good. To this day, I don’t think there is anything I can do in my life that will generate more happiness in the world than carrying a box of food into a gutted house full of hungry construction workers. It was like returning to the platoon with news that the war was over, every single day. And we would sit down and eat our food, regardless of the layer of dust and dirt that covered our hands, because, as it was reasoned, the real dirt was on your hand, and the layer of dust over that actually protected your food. And soap was for girls.

What made all these memories flood back to me was walking past the construction site across from my office early this afternoon. With the temperature coming back down to a reasonable 88, the workers seemed happy once again to eat their lunch outside, sitting on anything that can be fashioned into a chair, be it an overturned bucket or a large spool of wire. Classic rock was playing on their small, dilapidated portable radio and in the 30 seconds I stood near them I heard conversation range from baseball to the startling pronouncement that, “A shark can eat a person in 30 seconds. Bones and everything.”

But what got me was this: during that 30 seconds, at least five very attractive women walked past these guys, ten if count “dressing slutty” as attractive. But not once did these guy even so much as LOOK at any of these women. It was unbelievable – like I had stumbled upon the first all gay construction company, or first all blind construction, or the first all chemically castrated construction company – and more than that it was disheartening. I felt like these men were passing up on the defining fraterizational event in the entire construction business. To put this in perspective, when I worked for my father, the workers and I would seize ANY AVAILABLE OPPORTUNITY to check out a girl. It wasn’t easy, due to the fact that we were working on residential projects in low traffic areas, but somehow we found a way. You learned to sense when an attractive woman was approaching. I mean, I saw guys spy out female joggers from the back yard, looking through a framed house. On more than one occasion, we would be working in the front yard of a house and a car would go by and someone would say, “Wow, did you see her? She was smokin’.” THE CAR WAS GOING 45 MILES PER HOUR.

And these men just ate their food and talked about what animals could eat a human the fastest?

My only conclusion is that when you work in such a busy place as New York, you become immune to it, as though it would be such an immense distraction that you wouldn’t get any work done if you didn’t find a way to overcome it. And in a way I respect these guys, but in a way I’m also sad for them. Because sure, they’ll still take home with them the knowledge that they’re building people’s homes and the satisfaction of “creating something tangible,” blah, blah, blah, but is that all there is to life?

And just as my sorrow is about to overcome me, I turn to walk away from the crowd as a tall, blond woman is passing by and three seconds later hear from over my shoulder, “Jeeesus honey, where’d you get those legs? Bloomingdales?”

19 Comments:

If construction workers stop hitting on women, the terrorists will win and the American way of life will be dead.

How fast could you run on a treadmill before falling off? and were there people there to see you fall off? Did you go flying across the room? I really need a complete mental picture on this one...

By Blogger Rebecca, at 4:12 PM  

Wow that is really freaky. My dad worked in construction too. I was also the food getter. Apparently, because fcuking morons like me weren't competent to work the drills and table saws. But there you go.

By Blogger HomeImprovementNinja, at 4:20 PM  

I am 5'5" tall and 195 lbs.

I can do 2 sets of 15 leg presses in a row without breaking a sweat. I press 150 lbs. And I can fully extend on each and every one of them.

Perhaps the 5'2", 160 lb woman you dealt with was really, really weak.

But still. Just because we might be a bit larger than the average human doesn't mean we can't still kick their ass. (Point being, not all big people are also weak and intollerant of hard work.)

Apparently, I needed a cocktail with my lunch today, too. Sorry.

By Blogger Faith, at 4:28 PM  

Nice one. I actually made a lis of of all my jobs after I read this...S
o far I'm at 17...I'm not kidding. I'll probably get to at least 25. I don't understand how you can only have six...did you count right?

By Blogger JP, at 4:43 PM  

Ah, a heart warming story for people of all ages.

not that I belive that the photo you included is actually of the workers you wrote about, but that guyis wearing a PINK contruction hat -- pretty sure that makes him gay. So your theory would be right.

And, also pretty sure that his cargo belt is straight out of Gap. Where do you find these photos???

By Blogger undercover celebrity, at 4:55 PM  

BI:
This is one of my favorite posts of all time, along with the McDonalds post and the one about you farting. My favorite line, "Because basically all I did was play the Weezer album and see how fast I could run on the treadmill before falling off."

BTW, when I was young and angry I would yell at construction workers who said something to me. Now (because the bloom is nearly off the rose,so to speak) if I can manage to get a hoot out of a worker, I turn, smile and wave. I'll take a compliment anyway I can get one.

By Blogger Leezer, at 5:31 PM  

Perhaps the reason most construction workers no longer whistle at attractive women anymore is the litigious nature of our society. A couple of sexual harassment lawsuits can put a damper on anyone's attitude toward women.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:47 PM  

i went to college in a complete construction zone (heh, funny, it still is), and there were always these strict "no hooting at the coeds" rules. and for years i walked by, blissfully happy in the fact that i never had to worry about unsolicited catcalls from sweaty, burly men. until one day, a friend of a friend and i were walking out of class together, lost in some asinine conversation about sir henry campbell bannerman or some such nonsense, when i hear from over my shoulder, "Jeeesus honey, where’d you get those legs? Bloomingdales?"

and just when i'm feeling all good about myself and my smokin' hot legs, she turns to me and says, "thank god we're graduating soon. i can NOT put up with that any more!"

By Blogger kat, at 6:06 PM  

BI:
You are a wise, wise man to appreciate some of your early jobs. My best was when I was 13 and picked vegetables on a farm from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.. When we lifted crates unto the flatbed of the delivery truck, an old man would yell at us, "C'mon Girls! Let's build up those titty muscles." Those were the good old days . . .

Most women think harassment is a wonton stare. No. If your boss tells you you're fired if you don't sleep with him, that's sexual harassment. If you're hooted at by a complete stranger on the street, it's a compliment.

By Blogger Leezer, at 7:55 PM  

Tee hee. I just re-read my comment. Wanton stare, not wonton stare. But a wonton stare would be interesting, wouldn't it?

By Blogger Leezer, at 7:56 PM  

Since I'm a big celebrity and wouldn't know of such things as manual labor -- oh wait, I'm actually an unemployed actor and therefore, a construction worker. As such, your tale brought a smile to my face simply because I totally agree with what you said.

Of all the jobs I've had, there isn't one that comes close in the education, cameraderie and general insanity -- and I used to be a chiropractor!

We do oogle the girls by the way. All the time.

By Blogger Tom Serafini, Actor to the Stars!, at 8:13 PM  

Dealing with construction workers hasn't been a problem. No one builds anything here. I think I would but up with some horny pick-up-lines if someone would build a Red Lobster or library.

And really, isn't it great to have an excuse to give someone the finger every once in a while? Relieve some pent-up frustration?

By Blogger Janet, at 10:35 AM  

I also worked for my dad one summer, and he too is a building contractor. I didn't do too much of the drooling over 'babes' but I did all of the crap work such as shoveling gravel and wheelbarrowing (yeah it's a verb) through the mud. My dad only threatened to fire me twice, because of my mouth.
I am pretty sure that I got hurt or fell down everyday that I was on the job. What a gret summer.

By Blogger Erin Mc, at 2:54 PM  

or great summer.. spelling is hard.

By Blogger Erin Mc, at 2:55 PM  

I wish that I could get a job that involved flirting. That would make the day go by faster, wouldn't it?

By Blogger Momentary Academic, at 8:41 PM  

erin mc..I thought you you were trying to sound Scottish.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:22 AM  

You just might be the funniest man I have never met in my entire life.

By Anonymous amelia, at 12:43 PM  

Payj at make-you-hmm had a very similiar post awhile back re: the lack of hooting coming from build sites these days. I think it does have something to do with the effects of a PC culture. But I'm with a few of the other folks on here - I may ignore someone who whistles at me but I'm almost always smiling inside :)

By Blogger Mood Indigo, at 1:24 PM  

That's just wrong. I know that if I was walking past a construction site and the workers didn't give me a degrading compliment I would go home and shoot myself. What am I worth without their validation?

By Blogger Cheetarah1980, at 9:52 PM  

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