Every so often, my neighbor here in the co-op,
Kevin (pictured), asks me to help him on a job. He
does some high end design-y landscaping, which
often includes pretty slick steel and concrete
features such as planters, fountains, and
elaborate stairs. He's been working out a handrail
design that sandwiches a 1/4" steel strip between
(ee-pay), also known as ironwood because, guess
what, it's hard AF.
As luck would have it, the job site was just
a couple of
blocks from where I
got my start in the building trades.
The spendy bakery and terrible taco place are
and just like way back when, I found myself
by the task at hand--in this case, how to miter
angles around inside and outside corners. To be
fair, Kevin had
been stumped, too, which is why he called me in,
but it felt just like
old times, and not in a good way.
It was fruitless and frustrating at first, but in
the past fifteen years I've learned how to learn.
"Just start cutting," I told myself, which was odd
because I very seldom tell myself anything, but
I had to assume the role of my own teacher. I made
a couple of misguided cuts with scrap, but sure
those haphazard experiments triggered an insight
into how to do it right. The rest of the day was
pretty satisfying as the joints came together snug
Too bad the sun was red behind a pall of smoke, wildfires
raging all around. As the ash wafted down I
kept thinking about all the creatures outright
perishing or losing their habitats in the Columbia
Gorge, all because some
idiot kid thought it'd be fun to throw
fireworks off a cliff into tinderbox grass. Humans
are a cancer on the planet.