Friday, May 04, 2007

Today, I Become a Man

There is a part of me that is slightly embarrassed by the fact that I have always made a living by sitting in front of a computer screen. Like most other things that I am slightly embarrassed about it all comes down to the fact that I think this lacks masculinity.

So, when one of the Polish builders (Pole 4, whose English is at least as good as Pole 1’s. Don’t ask me about Pole 3 – I haven’t seen him since their initial visit, though on alternate days there has been a Pole 5 – the Daily Mail is right – we are being swamped!) asks me to go out and buy a couple of things for them my first thought isn’t “Hang on, aren’t I paying you to do stuff like this?” but “Hurrah! I am one of their gang, doing proper man’s work!”

As I have previously mentioned, it is only 522 paces to Homebase, it’s a lovely day and I could do with a break and some fresh air, so it’s no imposition. OK, so they are still doing most of the job – the cutting breeze blocks, sawing wood and touching things that have had poo on them, but as I stroll there past my fellow builders in their white vans, I realise that this is how it must feel to earn an honest living with your hands. This is what it’s like to make something tangible and useful each day and to feel the weary satisfaction of physical labour, instead of messing around on the internet till about half four, having a bath, then cobbling together some gags that you saw on Have I Got News for You the previous week.

If this is the job satisfaction you can get, perhaps I should stop this writing lark and become a builder. Maybe just a junior builder, like when I was helping my Dad with DIY as a kid and he’d ask me to saw a Very Important Piece of Wood. Which, now I come to think of it, probably never made it into the finished item. Hmm. I will inspect my parents’ bookshelves closely next time I visit. There’s no way that this is some joke that builders have with builders’ merchants is there? To see how many idiots they can get to go in and ask for a 38mm reverse retracting grommet wedge?

Still, it will all look lovely when they finish it with the striped paint.