Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


Working Hard

Filed under: People Watching — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

As I exercised on the elliptical trainer in the hotel gym, I could see the construction workers laying bricks on the new addition. There were three of them, but the only one who was working was the guy in the mustard colored jacket. I could tell he was talking to the other two guys as he aligned some of the bricks. He stopped for a moment to make a point, gesturing with his hands. His chopping hand movements made him look a little angry. He went back to tending the alignment of the bricks while the other two brought up a steaming bucket of mortar.

They were working on the last two rows on the top of the building. The scaffolding stayed on the other side of the property while the man in the mustard jacket reached down from the roof. One of the other guys hoisted the heavy bucket of mortar up and dumped it into the tray. The guy in the mustard jacket slowly moved the tray and a stack of bricks to the area that needed work.

He lowered trowels of mortar onto the line of bricks. Every once and a while, a bit of it would fall, making the long trek down to the ground. He brought out a corner brick and mounted it on the edge of the building. When he pushed the brick down, even more mortar fell down the long length of the building. I watched as he placed brick after brick along the line, ignoring the discomfort of my workout. I could feel the sweat threatening to inch into my eyes and I wiped it away with my fingers. I had been working out for about forty minutes and the man in the mustard jacket had completed a row.

I smelled the pungent odor of my own sweat and I hoped no one else could smell me. A noisy group of men had arrived to sit in the sauna. None of them noticed the work going on right outside the huge plate glass window. I saw the other two construction workers approach the bricklayer, and I realized that they had been gone for a long time. They were carrying paper coffee cups with plastic lids. One of them had brought an extra coffee for the guy in the mustard jacket. The three of them took a break, huddled over the cups for warmth.

By the time my workout was done, the other two guys were busy bringing up another steaming bucket of mortar while the guy in the mustard jacket set the alignment of the bricks he had placed. I hope they got time and a half for working on a Saturday.


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