Working on a construction site with a bunch of burly guys (and a gaggle of girls) gets the testosterone flowing through your veins. You feel like a man.
There’s nothing quite like strapping a leather tool belt to your waist. A hammer, two screwdrivers (flat head and Phillips), a measuring tape, and a pencil are all you need to make believe you can build anything with your two, bare hands.
When I arrive, a few people make some back-handed comments because of what I’m wearing: a black pea coat, dark blue jeans, a black sweater, and sunglasses. Although there is some snickering, they don’t realize I don’t do “construction clothes” because the foreman never has to wear them.
After the basic safety training, I throw on a pair of steel-toe work boots, strap on my tool belt, and get paired up with another worker.
The day entails door installation, trim work, patching, sanding, and painting. There’s an elation that comes with the physical exertion of pushing your body to do things that it doesn’t feel like doing, but wants to do over and over again.
It’s as if I’m Bob Vila on This Old House
, only younger and better looking.
Time flies by as I busy myself with the intricacies of semi-gloss and egg shell finishes for six shades of white. Lunchtime is a well-deserved break where we act like testy-less teamsters.
My spirit comes alive when I'm constructing something out of a few basic components. It’s no wonder why the renovation boom hasn't stopped; billions of dollars are spent each year on making the home a better place to live. You’re not doing this for yourself, but for someone's family and future.
At the end of the day, I take a step back and admire my work. It isn’t bad for someone who isn’t a trade professional. Then again, with the hours of HGTV programmed into my brain, I wouldn’t be too surprised if I could build my own home using a couple of two-by-fours, some nails… and a contractor with a lot of patience.
On my drive home, with the testosterone still in coursing through my body, I want to pound something with my hammer and screw something with my power drill. Maybe a trip to Home Depot will satisfy those cravings. And if I can't have that, then I want a big, fuckin' steak 'cause a man's gotta eat after a hard day at work.