mains de secretaire
So, I’m sitting here and staring at my hands.
They aren’t very callus-y. (And, no, one is not more callus-y than the other. Perv.)
They are big. They look like hands. Just… soft.
I’m not sure how I feel about it.
I’m somewhat burly. I am! Well, I’m not completely without burl.
But, considering my relatives and ancestors, I would expect more calluses is all.
There are carpenters and builders all over my family. On both sides. My family tree has a tree house in it. And probably a bar.
My maternal grandmother’s family were all carpenters… and brawlers.
My maternal grandfather had some building skills as well.
My paternal grandmother’s family… well, I’m not entirely sure. They can certainly drink. And some can play the fiddle.
My paternal grandfather was amazing. He could build anything. He was a whiz with wood. And, when he was younger, he was in charge of testing the quality of concrete on huge building projects. He’d stop the cement trucks coming onto the job site, take a handful from the back, rub it between his fingers and either wave them in our turn them away. I can’t imagine that. I can’t even tell when food is cooked. When I cook boneless chicken breasts, I have to buy the exact same type, cook them for the same amount of time, at the same temperature every time. If that chicken company goes out of business, I’m gonna starve.
Or poison myself.
I have two uncles that are carpenters/contractors. My dad builds substations.
So, my family builds homes and controls electricity.
I can drive a nail.
I’ve done it on a few occasions. And it felt somewhat natural. Like it was in my DNA. But, waaay dormant.
A couple of summers ago, I worked on a deck with my Dad. It didn’t start off well…
Dad: Just put down the decking. Nail it here and here. Alternate on every other one to here and here. And that is it.
Me: Interesting… And this “decking” of which you speak?
Dad: It’s the wood, you. Wood!
Me: Would I what?
Dad: Would you feel it if I hit you with this hammer?
Fine, that conversation didn’t actually happen. I am just annoyed that this post isn’t funnier.
My father would make sure to talk to me every once in a while as we worked on a deck. He and I suffer from the same problem. Our minds wander if we are performing repetitive tasks.
For example, I started thinking about all the nails in the pouch of my carpenter’s apron. (Yes, I said “apron.” Again.) I was imagining them all living in their own little nail world. Going about their nail lives. Worrying about the return of their arch nemesis “Magnet Man” and trying to find a cure for oxidation.
Yes, this is how my brain works.
I thought I would jump start my inner builder one summer when I worked at one of those giant warehouse-style building supply stores. I learned quite a bit, actually. Though it had a bumpy patch or two.
One day I took a board back to the cut shop to have it, well, cut. The cut shop dude wasn’t there, so I decided to do it myself. I put it on the saw and was just reaching for the on switch when he came in and yelled for me to stop.
Him: Stop! You are going to cut your hand off?
Me: But, I didn’t even start yet.
Him: You just look like you don’t know what you are doing.
Me: Fair enough.
He was probably right. My mind was wandering to the cute girl who I had just sold a door too.
[I helped her pick it. I carried it to the check-out. I told the cashier to give her ten bucks off because of a little scratch. The cashier looked scared, but I told her she could just tell her manager that I said it was OK. (Ha!) And then I carried it out and put it in the back of the truck that the girl was driving. We chatted for a few minutes. Exchanged names. But, not numbers. I told her that anytime she came in for stuff that she should ask for me. She smiled and said she would. Then she thanked me and drove off… And then I remembered that it was my second last day of work.]
Part of my job at that store was to help people design their decks. There was a little kiosk, with a computer and deck design software. Despite it being pretty user friendly, and hard to screw up, I laughed every single time. These people were asking for me to help design large decks to go on their huge and expensive homes and all I could remember from 7th grade drafting class was people having sword fights with the t-squares.
I should mention that I’m not completely useless. I can put up shelves. Assemble crap from Ikea and the like. But, I think it would be amazing to be able to build something from scratch, you know?
Maybe my role is to build things with my words? To create worlds with my writing?
Yeeeeah, I didn’t buy that either.
I’m going to go wash my hands with a brillo pad.