conversations with tradesmen 2

Years ago when I worked for a water utility, a female plumber rang requesting that I meet her on a site.  When we had resolved the water situation, we leant up against our vehicles to swap stories.  She had the worst.

She had been working on a big construction site where one of the guys was being really abusive.  After days of this she realised the only way to stop him was to fight him.  So when he next said something degrading to her, she laid into him with her steel capped boots.  All the other men downed tools to watch as she ’kicked the s*** out of him’.

She never had any problem after that.

lunch show

I go to my favourite café for lunch.  It’s busy and I have to queue up at the counter.  It’s a raw food place with two big share tables down the centre.  The tables are full.

As I wait in line a young woman climbs up onto the far end of the first big table and addresses the room.  She tells us we all have the Light and we all have the Power, as she walks the length of the table, through people’s lunches.

I am so happy to have stumbled upon an impromptu performance.  I turn and smile in complicity at the couple behind me in line.  They are not impressed.

A man at the table is not impressed either: Get your boots away from my lunch.

She carries on enthusing and he gets crosser.  She jumps down and starts hugging him.  He’s red and steaming with fury.

By now I’ve reached the front of the queue.  The young guy behind the counter has served me many times before, but he’s always a little aloof.  I smile at him and say what a great show.  His face opens up and for a second he laughs outright. That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen, he says.

conversations with tradesmen 1

A man knocks on my front door to borrow my ladder.  Who are you? I ask.
He explains that he’s working on my neighbour’s property.
Somehow it then feels foolish to say: no, you’re a tradesman – get your own.  I don’t even know you. Why are you knocking at my door?

I lend him the ladder.  Months later he’s back.  I know you, I used your ladder.

Yes and this time you’ve let paint seep under the fence and it’s colouring my path.
He comes over to have a look.  We get chatting.

How many children have you got? he asks.  One son, I say, he’s 14.

You should have had more.  Then he looks closely at me.  Really studies me hard.
14? You must have left it really late.

connection

My pain and fatigue stories are told and I wonder, what now for this blog?  I’m not ready for it to end yet.  I’ve had a taste and I like it.  It’s become a part of me.  A secret part that’s all mine.  Private and public at the same time.   A tiny piece of the innermost me stretching out across the world.  I’m hooked.

But now I am limited by the title: pain, fatigue and me.  I have no pain and I’ve finished with fatigue, yet I want to keep writing.

Am I a fraud, inviting you in with this title and now changing the rules?  I’ll understand if you decide to move on.

I don’t know what the new title might be, but I have some ideas about what I want to write.  When I stopped work last year, even though I was exhausted, I experienced a freedom I haven’t felt for years.  A liberation and renewed sense of wonder that engendered authentic connection with the world around me.  Stepping off the work treadmill and being confined to home curiously expanded my daily interaction with people and I began having random encounters with strangers.  I’ve already posted two: Not a Lazy Girl and Economic Cannibalism; and there’s a couple more to come.

From there, I don’t know?  Unchartered as yet.

economic cannibalism

An old man in a combat shirt and cap is parked outside my house.  He picks up a piece of wood from the side of the road and loads it into the back of his car.  His car is as old and beat up as him.

On a window he has taped a small hand-written message:
Asset Sales = Economic Cannibalism.

I give him my best smile in support.

He glares.  Cannibalism is nothing to be smiling about.

the voice in my head

I’ve started a new job
I can’t talk about it much
It’s a rather public sort of place
How I got there is the interesting bit

When I went on sick leave last year
I sat on my couch, day after day
Knowing I could never go back into that job
Or any like it
How could I ever work in the world again?

The voice in my head knew:
There’s one place in this city you like
One place that feels as good as home
As safe, as calm, as loving, as right

Ah, yes, that’s right, there is

We replayed this conversation
For three months
Me and the voice in my head
Until finally I mustered the courage,
Can I come and talk to you?
Of course

I explained:
I’m finished with my old job, my old life
Too tired
Worn out
Disillusioned
But I have all these skills
And I don’t know why I’m telling you
Only the voice in my head said I should

Are you saying you’d like to work here?
Just this morning we had a new position approved
A new salaried position
That needs your skills
Just this morning

I sat there and cried
Then I went home and applied for this position
Now I am here
Where I should be
Thanks to the voice in my head.