Sunday morning. It promised to be less than 100 degrees today, but I was taking no chances based on past fallacious forecasts. I got up at 5 am, and I was determined to get the outdoor work done before it got hot out. My wife was still sleeping, so I had to get out on the wrong side of bed.
I arrived at the job site. The Beautiful Pagoda needed to be treated with Thompson's Water Seal. It looks innocent enough from a distance, but once you arrive at the top, you can see that on top of the beams between the pillars holding the whole thing together, a row of joists (there are ten) supports a row of 20-foot long pieces of 2 x 2 treated lumber - 37 individual pieces. And it all was very dry, thirsting for the 5-Year Protection of Thompson's Water Seal. Believe me, we've got so much goddam wood that I hold Mr. Thompson personally to that Five-Year thing, and will not re-apply the Water Seal a minute before that five year period has expired.
Best to start at the top, so that everything drips downward. The gravity here in Wisconsin is simply overwhelming this year. I think it's something to do with El Nino. The 2 x 2 was adequate to support my more-than adequate weight. But the gravity was very intense on my knees, so I decided to negotiate the job sitting down. I perched cross-legged on top of the 2x2s, painted three rows, then hopped along to the left, and when I reached the other end of the 20-foot piece, I moved backward, and hopped back to the right. All in all, just like a little typewriter. Ding! I must have negotiated about twelve miles on my dupa. Usually when I work with treated lumber I end up with a nasty sliver, usually under my fingernail. Well, this time, I got the sliver, but not in the finger.
So, when the fat sow across the street gets out on her front porch and starts pointing and laughing at me, in a mean, cigarette-tainted voice, I was simply not in the mood for levity. I did not scream to her "I'm closer to heaven up here on the Monkey Bars than you'll ever be, and I've got more than three teeth, too! And I don't sound like a tubercular hyena when I laugh! ..."
And, when I had finished the job and was heading across KK Avenue to get a coffee at Steve's (10:30 am, my first coffee of the day), the one thing I was hoping not to hear was a lecture on Street Safety. And yet, some fat ass with a white moustache and an annoying womanish whinny of a voice started to lecture me on waiting for the "walk" light. I felt fully capable of being able to discern something as large as an automobile, and I didn't tell him that "I don't need the advice of some sissy-voiced walrus who can't cross the street without help from the government. Look both ways before crossing, you nitwit!".
And things got worse. There were people standing around the order desk at Steve's, I presumed that they were waiting for their orders. I stood by the pastry counter, where you're supposed to stand, to get waited on when your turn comes. And some little goateed 3g texter, standing on the other side of the register - got waited on before me with all his #$%# chai with extra espresso shots prepared a certain fussy way, with a sprig of free-range basil, no doubt. I just wanted a black coffee, and I wanted it now. I didn't tell him "Don't you know, you poor ignorant fool, that the line forms over here?" Instead, I got behind him, where the rest of the line seemed to be forming, for today.
In front of me was a little girly-boy, he looked kinda like I did in the days when I got beat up a lot, and his mommy. Mommy told him that he liked the Belgian waffles -- he just wanted to use the bathroom. He headed for the restroom, and of course it was locked - as any idiot knows, the key for the restroom is kept at the checkout counter. He returned and found out about the key, while his mother was ordering the Organic Belgian Waffles. I waited patiently - the Belgian Waffle Experience playing out in slow motion, standing between me and my coffee.
All the while, some dimwit was explaining to someone else in line that he had "taken it to channel 6 and channel 12, and so, they'd have to listen to his side now, in view of his having the media in the palm of his hand. I had heard this word-for-word screed so many times in my Customer Service days, and was definitely NOT in the mood to hear it repeated again. No matter what species the insect chewing at his rectum, I did not care to hear about it. Not today. I had been up six hours without coffee, my head was still spinning from the dazzle of the sunlight, and my sliver was hurting.... and, luckily, just as I was about to lose it altogether, my turn in line had arrived.
Coffee in hand, I fled back to the job site, and enjoyed a new start to my day sitting in the shade on a half-empty can of Thompson's Water Seal.
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