If I Were a Carpenter
We were all thrilled when a notice came to our doors about the garage rooftop being turned into a community garden of sorts in our apartment complex. Our apartment block population is largely made up of seniors, most of whom sold their homes to move into a more compact lifestyle. But the yen to do a little gardening is hard to erase from the mind. There’s enough old Mennonites here who grew up in their gardens and who will jump at the chance to have a little plot. Mind you, it ain’t no acreage, but just a token of what used to be. Well, good enough.
Well now, ya can’t just dump a load o’ soil onto the roof an’ expect other than a big mess. Ya got to build garden boxes. In the first place, it’s hard for old people to stay bent down to seed and hoe their gardens. It’s even harder for them to get up again after hours of weedin’. Besides, garden boxes define the boundaries of each garden plot.
I didn’t really believe this would happen until a load of pressure treated lumber showed up on the rooftop: 2 x 10’s, 4 x 4’s an’ 2 x 4’s all just layin’ there getting seasoned I suppose. Well, it’s early in the year yet so ya’ got to have some patience. So far, so good.
About a week later a couple o’ carpenters show up. At least I think they was carpenters. They spent a couple’a hours walking around the roof assessin’ the situation. Well it’s a big roof coverin’ a hunnert an’ eighty cars per garage floor plus the indoor pool. After they done their inspection, they called it a day. The next day they show up ready for action. They commence to pile the 2 x 10’s in two places an’ the 4x 4’s in another, along with the 2 x 4’s. That pretty well takes up the whole day. I should perhaps qualify takin’ up the whole day: they had to take time out to text messagin’ on their cell phones, have a bunch o’ smoke breaks an’ sit downs between carryin’ lumber around. I should also mention that it took the two o’ them to carry each piece o’ lumber, one piece at a time, to it’s designated spot, so there was another two days that just sort’a flew by.
Well now the carpentry work was about to start, so they set up their radial arm saw an’ started cuttin’ the 2 x 10’s (keepin’ up with their textin’, smoke breaks an’ sit downs at regular intervals) an’ two days later they got ‘em all cut an’ ready to assemble.
They don’t use nails neither. No, they gotta screw ‘em together, one guy holdin’ the pieces an’ the other guy screwin’ ‘em into place. For my money they was both just screwin’ around, stretchin’ a two day job into two weeks “work”.
Now I gotta wait while they bring the soil up one shovel at a time. That ought’a bring us to the May long weekend when you can start seedin’ the root crops an’ we’ be right on schedule.
Turns out these guys aren’t carpenters at all, or if they are carpenters, they specialize in time management. I didn’t know they had to learn that in their apprenticeship school. They must’a learned it from the bricklayers who ain’t allowed to lay more than seven bricks an hour, accordin’ to union rules.
Used to be that if you had a job to do, you laid into ‘er until you got ‘er done an’ to H E double hockey sticks with the hindmost except for wipin’ the sweat off yer brow. Well, they don’t do it that way no more. I think I was born forty - fifty years too soon, or at least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.