Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Hey! Wanna Tone It Down a Bit, Boys?!?

The Roanoke Water Department boys tore up the street with their jackhammers this morning while I was trying to work^

Sometimes it just doesn't pay to go to work and lately that's been when a wide variety of working boys have been hard at it on Kirk Ave. Today it was a group of jack-hammering Roanoke water department guys; recently it's been a succession of carpenters, painters, plasterers, carpet and tile boys, electricians, day laborers, plumbers and big-truck-drivin', hammer-carryin', noise-makin' blue-collar-wearin' workers intent on keeping me from typing another word. I have been willing to bet Republicans sent them.

As if the noise isn't enough, I was chasing after a parking cop for several weeks, looking for tire markings, estimating that hour since I moved my pickup and putting more effort than I ever imagined possible into avoiding a parking ticket. I got three in two weeks. Then I bought a parking place for $65 a month.

Then there's the heat challenge. It's been cold outside and when the guys working on finishing our office construction in November and December went in and out and out and in and in and out again, time after time after time, it got so cold I wanted to hang meat. I bought a small personal space heater instead and it kept the hypothermia away. Going to the bathroom and leaving the heater, though, was not pleasant. I will not say that pee froze in midstream, but I will say that the zipper went back up faster than it should have on a couple of occasions.

On top of all this, there's the passersby who just have to stop in to chat ... especially when I'm writing. I sit in a picture window street-leve, and I guess the idea is that if I'm writing, I'm not really working so there's plenty of time for palaver. I like to chat so much that when somebody comes in, I break off the writing, rear back in the chair and say, "Have a seat. What's up?" which I shouldn't do if I'm ever to meet a deadline again. My partner Tom Field just shot me a threatening e-mail about me having sent the same book reviews in two different months' compilations. I'll bet my first-born male child that I made that stupid mistake when somebody stopped to chat.

It's supposed to snow tomorrow. Maybe I'll stay home and get some work done.

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