I have a lot of experience with construction workers. There is a special culture to this group of people.
I worked for three months as a security escort, about 50 hours a week. I didn’t have to do any of the jobs, I just had to watch them do theirs.
There was Casey, the heating unit installing guy. Casey was about 5’ 4”, and hid his balding head under a baseball cap every day. He had a daughter, whom he would mention casually as if he wasn’t bragging, but she didn’t live with him. His baby mama lived in another state, and he sent her a check every week.
Casey was most interesting for his supposed experience with different women. Casey boasted to me about his ability to sniff out a yeast infection in any woman within a 30-foot radius.
There was José, who hailed from South America. He had a wife and two daughters, but he didn’t wear his ring at work and would not admit their existence to female security escorts. José and Casey sat together at lunch every Monday so that José could eagerly listen to Casey’s weekend conquest stories. I glared at their unrighteous smiles, violent feminist thoughts raging.
There was Mufasa, the cleaning crew man, who spent two hours explaining his faith as a Moorish American Moslim to me. Apparently, we are all to aspire to regain our positions in the Spirit realm, or we will forever be doomed to humanity. I told Mufasa that I was happily a Jesus-lover, and though it grieved him very much that I would not join him in a spiritual quest for a higher state of being, he seemed alright and went back to dusting blinds.
My favorite was Scott, whose sole job in the construction of a new office building was to vacuum up pieces of drywall and dust from installation of office equipment. He and his Wall-E-resembling assistant scoured the carpets in search of plaster and dirt.
Unlike the other workers I interacted with on a daily basis, Scott was not on his way up some chain of command, striving upward for spiritual, relational, or career-centric achievement. Scott lived in a one bedroom trailer on a quiet side of town. He had a music collection consisting of hundred of CDs and tapes, which he talked about fondly.
Scott was 100 percent satisfied with his job and his life. His contentment was inspiring. Scott was also a raging racist full to bursting with not-fit-for-TV negro jokes, but that wasn’t the part of him I admired. I don’t want to hate black people, brag about sexual exploits, or become mysteriously divine, but I want to be content. I’m learning, thanks to Scott.