Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I’ve been asked ‘why can’t you just be nice?’ I think that might be code for ‘shut your damn mouth.’ But I’m not sure.  Instead of shutting up, I will chime in and say something sweet (but just THIS time).

Jeff jackhammered up the entire sidewalk on Saturday afternoon with help from some guys fresh off the farm.  Dawn Farm rehab and recovery center.  They were spectacular workers.  And my husband can work—a la Ann Feeney--work.  I mean the man has no skin left on either of his hands.  

The other guys worked like dogs for 5 straight hours as well. They were breaking up 6” thick concrete and then hauling it to a dumpster.  Let me tell you, this is no mean feat. It was a sight to behold. I am quite sure those crispy farmers slept their sober tushies off that night.

These guys are newly sober---probably inside 90 days. I didn’t really ask.  What I noticed was this kind of pride in the effort that they were putting forth.  I could see it in the way they moved, wiped sweat from their brow and worked together to accomplish this pretty hateful and difficult job.  It was something else.   There was no conversation because the hammers and the compressor were so loud.

It dawned on me how relieved they must be to be acting ‘normal’ even if ‘normal’ meant busting ass for 5 straight hours.

Everybody bitches about having to work.  I’m the top on that list.  And I don’t even have a 9-5 job!  But work defines the parameters of our days.  It gives meaning and purpose to our lives.  Our work products reflect back to us the quality of our attention.  Don’t get me wrong, work sucks. Work is tiring. Work is work.  The only thing worse than work, is NO work.

My babysitter started with me 5 years ago tomorrow.  She was 17 at the time. She was a mother’s helper at that point because she couldn’t drive.  So either I would go pick her up and then load the kids in and then drop her off right before bedtime or her mom would come and get her.  She is a Brazilian-born legal resident of the US now.  She has been late maybe three times in 5 years and none without the excuse of some traffic accident or other catastrophic event well beyond her control. 

I asked her why she was such a diligent and excellent worker. She just smiled.  But then we got taking one day and she told me that she never expected work to be fun. She said that she always thought work was supposed to be work and that fun was supposed to be fun.  Work is work.

It’s always fun when you clock out.

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