high school often
smelled of burning tar. the shirtless workmen
provided a welcome distraction from class as they pushed the
hot black goo around the leaking lower roof with mucky brooms
in what seemed to be an almost annual patch-and-seal event.
my french teacher ms. russo gestured with her hands as she
explained, "flat roof. c'est bete." well, flat roofs shouldn't really
be flat--they ought to be sloped for drainage, like the four i've
been working on high above lake union. (it's
my slightly soul-crushing task has been to build the supports for level wood
decks by taking about 120 measurements in a grid per roof with a laser level
and combination square, then cutting short PVC pipe segments to within a
16th of an inch. i can handle the precision and repetition, but what gets
to me are the little shreds of plastic which the chop saw spits out. they
look like coconut flakes but don't really belong in
food chain. given 1/8" blade width and 240 cuts so far, i've finely grated
30 inches of polymer. it's a recipe for instant hypocrite when later at nearest
sandwich shop i hand back the plastic bag i said i didn't want and get a
little indignant when the cashier says, "oh, you can just throw it out."
that's the soul-crushing part--wanting to do right but ultimately not.