Friday, February 29, 2008

if i had a hammer...and i do

alright, so this other carpenter and i have been doing restoration work on this antebellum church in a rich and historic part of tennessee. every day there are loads of people going in and out of the church for work, groups, meetings and whatnot. of all of these people only 1 person going in and out of the doors has returned a genuine "hello" and even stopped to ask us what we were doing or talk to us. he was the ups guy dropping something off.

we are forced to set up in and around the main walkway due to the area we are rebuilding and some give us dirty looks and others say things. one guy, maybe 30, was walking by yesterday, knocked over our level that was leaning against the wall and then looked at us as if to shame us, looked at the level, looked back at us as if to say "you pick it up and keep it out of my way next time" and then walked inside. another guy had to step around our compressor and after not saying hello back to me, began to wipe his shoes off on our nail box because he got his shoes a little dirty as he stepped off the path.

it is funny at this point to say "hello", "howdja do?", "nice day" and get nothing back. especially when they are literally talking to eachother about gospel-related messages.

...i have considered that maybe we were tearing up the wrong church but, no. my contractor has assured me numerous times that it is the right one.

people talking outside the doors in the last few days: 1) have outrageously misquoted plato - by a 34 year old guy to a girl much too young for him he was clearly trying to impress 2) a few guys from the church band were talking about trying to remember a "blues" song they had heard about "what they're doing in heaven today" 3) a mid-20's guy and girl who must either teach some sort of sunday school or yourh group were talking about what art activities they could possibly do with the kids.
*well, i am just a construction worker that nobody will say hello to, let alone converse with, but 1) i got a degree in philosophy and know my share of plato 2) i often play the very song they were referring to - that old washington phillips gospel number, what are they doing in heaven today and 3) i used to be responsible for a multi-million dollar budget helping create and provide different thematic art programs to public schools in manhattan and the bronx for the new york city school board.

i am not saying that i am better than those folks but what the hell!!! i could have helped in these few ways if they treated me like a valid human being. i have worked dozens of job sites now and this is the first time i have been made to feel like i am just a laborer and it is at a freaking church. what happened to jesus the folk hero? woody guthrie's jesus? well, they probably wouldn't have liked woody guthrie either.

- i am sure it is hard to miss the irony that they are all there because of a carpenter and yet they won't lower themselves to talk to one standing in front of them.

1 comment:

  1. Man...I am SOOO sorry this crap has happened to you. But thanks for posting it. If I am being honest with myself I've walked past all sorts of workers in our church without engaging them on more than a superficial level.

    I do say hello but how often am I open to engaging them in a way that could be mutually beneficial or how often have I looked to them for answers to questions that I might have? Slim to none.

    It's like people living in parallel universes when the reality is it's the SAME FREAKIN' UNIVERSE.

    Christians can be real stupid sometimes, as my life has proven more oft than not.

    I guess I'm making progress because I would NEVER wipe my shoes off on equipment, I would say hello certainly and if I knocked over a level I'd be apologizing profusely.

    Of course, if it was your tool I'd probably just take it as my own. Kidding. Mostly.

    Thanks for shedding light on my prejudices and shortcomings, brother. I'll try to be more the Carpenter to "carpenters" in my sphere.