“It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.”
Have you ever been part of a group and have just known you’re despised by the people who are in some way responsible for or are otherwise forced to interact with you? I’m not talking about being a libertarian, or a vegan, or a mommyblogger, either. My pre-apprenticeship is going down in FLAMES, people. IN. FLAMES. It’s open revolt, except it’s not us, it’s our keepers. Everywhere we go everyone knows what a terrible group we are and how awful our attendance is, and we were told with a month left to go that absolutely NO ONE will qualify to receive recommendation letters.
It’s rather freeing, actually.
It’s freeing in part because I know it’s absolutely hooey and none of this really matters. I’ve gotten a lot of skills, and have made a lot of contacts, and have learned so much, and as far as that goes, it’s been completely worth it. I’ve learned about trades that I never would have known about or applied to, and have learned that I really like volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, especially when they let me run the nail gun.
But what these people think about me and my classmates, who are actually an awesome, capable group of women? It don matter none.
Today we went out to Kingston where the laborers are. I didn’t know until a couple of months ago that laborers are a trade that do almost everything but licensed work (like electrical and pipefitting). Mostly we talked to women there, but a guy came in and talked to us and said things several times to the effect of, “Despite what everyone says about the laborers, we work really hard/are very skilled/are constantly working” etc. Finally I took pity on the poor man, who seemed to be getting crushed under the enormous chip on his shoulder about his chosen profession and interjected: “Actually, no one has anything bad to say about the laborers. It’s mostly the ironworkers people talk smack about.”
“Ironworkers! Well, those guys are REAL ASSHOLES,” he said. We all nodded.
Due to a typical lack of communication on the part of our unwilling stewards, I didn’t know I was supposed to park and walk on the ferry to be picked up on the other side, and so paid and drove on. Finally the thousands-of-tons ferry made its gentle and miraculous kiss against the rubber of the dock (how is that even possible almost every time?) and I drove myself to the site, parked early in the back lot of the training center, and pulled out my trusty book.
Currently it’s Anybody Can Do Anything by Betty MacDonald and BOY HOWDY is it speaking to me. It’s memoir by the Mrs. Pigglewiggle/Egg and I lady about her 12 jillion jobs she held during the Depression, mostly engineered by her psychopath sister.
So I’m sitting there and I hit on this phrase that MacDonald drops about the ancient-by-1930 house she lives in with her mother–she says it has “elastic bedrooms.” What is this, some kind of 19th-century magic? My mind raced. Did they change size? Was it some kind of terrible wall covering? I’d heard of coin-operated heaters….
I was distracted. And my smartphone is DRAWERS. If I tell it to go on the internet it just has an aneurysm, wets itself, and wakes up with 3% battery, claiming it has no idea who or what I was talking to it about. It’s your selective-hearing granny. So I texted P.
>Do you know what an elastic bedroom is? Depression era
P: No, but I can look it up.
HOLY SQUANCHY, IT WORKED. I am actually interrupting this busy important guy who is at work solving real problems and he is looking up something stupid for me.
>Thanks Poogle I am desperate reading my book here
Later, P.: Best I can come up with is that they hold as many people as need be.
OF COURSE. MacDonald had a large family and they crammed into a three-bedroom. Ask a librarian indeed.
After dinner, Franny’s birthday came up and I was trying to get out of her what she might like to do, since she’s not keen on parties. I told her she could go to the mall with her little friends and I would even kick in a sawbuck for a virgin mangorita.
“What is a sawbuck,” she AND my sister (over for Monday night dinner) said, almost at the same time.
“You know, a ten?”
I had to explain I was reading a Depression-era memoir and I was enjoying some of the slang, old and new to me. I think I probably picked up sawbucks in all the noir trash I am often reading or watching. I started telling my sister about the memoir, thinking it would be of interest to her since there’s many mentions of the Seattle streetcar and the Public Market and they live in the University District and at one point she works out past Skid Road. I told her I’d texted P. earlier that day about something in the book.
“…Poogle, because it’s like ‘Google,’ GET IT?” I was saying when P. came in from the kitchen where he was doing dishes.
“What book is this?” he asked.
“Anybody Can Do Anything.”
“Is this about that–”
“Elastic rooms, yeah.”
“Oh, that was the book I found that I was using as a source to answer your question,” he said.
CONTEXT! Go figure! I’m running off to my first test at a union tomorrow. I am VERY TIRED so I think I will sleep long as well tonight. And then…MATH.