Canadian nuances

Canadian nuances: Part 8 – I choose concrete

“Dress dry, there’s a storm coming tomorrow.”

The next day I arrive at work. My muscles complain like misplaced teenagers. I cradle a gas station coffee. With every sip the bulb behind my eyes flickers. The short answer is a smattering of subcontracted crews are building a multi-million dollar hotel. The long answer comes to me like as sobering slap. In the wrong hands…this could be chaos.

Pillars of cement stand out of the ground. Hedges of rebar hug the wall and they remind me of angry spears.This is no LEGO set. Only a hammer will fit in your hand or maybe a drill of some kind. Most material be it concrete, steel beams, scaffolding even the garbage can needs a few men (or sometimes a crane).

It all started with a hole in the ground. (Let me try that one again with dimensions…) It all started with diggers and giant trucks haulin’ ass to get the sand outta the way. This isn’t grandma digging a hole for her little seedlings. These are men strapped in high visibility clothing yelling at each other in the hopes the message is heard above the shriek of a circular saw. This is a two story underground parking hole.

 

I’ll rewind to the beginning…

I arrive on site and watch men work below me. I stare up. A white fog blocks the view of the mountains. I’m told that is a snow storm barreling towards up (around 12pm). My brother comes back, puts away his phone and asks me, “do you want to bash out concrete or patch up some holes?” I choose concrete. (Later I find out this is the tougher job.)

I walk to the far end of the site. There are no flat surfaces to stand on. You know those metal rods you see in cement? Well, these parallel rods (or rebar) are all I have. My boots clunk over tons of them. I get on my knees and start bashing at shards of concrete. It’s Friday…the end of a long week of roofing, lifting, swearing and trying to absorb as much detail as one can.

The bottomline is I worked through the snow and got the job done after an 11 hour day. At 6:35pm I go to a local bar and order a shot of jager plus a pint. I down the shot which lights up the old kindling in my eyes. I tip the bartender with a toonie that giggles when I put it down.

C’est la vie.

 

PhilosopherPoet

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