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Friday, Jul. 12, 2002
We hit the scene in Nags Head, North Carolina.

"We" being the corporate entity of Outfoxed. That is being comprised of Stu, Stu Jr and myself.

Yes, there is a Stu Jr., I've mentioned him before.

Haven't I?

Anyway.

We were summoned on a mission. A work mission but a mission just the same. When Corporate Outfoxed is summoned to do work out of town, the rejoinder is nearly always the same. From the entire delegated Corporate Body.

"Road Trip!! Road Trip!!"

A trip to Nags Head (for those of you still freezing in Calgary, Nags Head is a Beach Resort / National Park sort of thingy) is not unusual, we live not too far from it but far enough that it feels like a get-away sort of place. The sort of place that you like to go to once in a while, just to say you did.

"I went to Nags Head last weekend."

"Oh yes? Was the surf nice? How about the fishing? Were the tourists really awful?"

That sort of place.

Of course when we go, it is not to vacation. It is (sounds of Wagner in the background) a time to go to work, to toil and make hay and otherwise capitalize on the need for talented labor in an increasingly white-collar society.

There is a little known underground of worker in the world. There aren't that many of them, a collective of them even more rare. And I rant about this far more often than I should, but still. Corporate Outfoxed is the baddest of the bad at their craft. Such talent should not be indemnified as anything but, well, talented. Witness thusly.

We went to the jobsite on a Tuesday. Were met by a twenty five-year-old with a cause who identified himself as the Project Engineer (translation, glorified administrative assistant) and proceeded to lecture us on jobsite safety and other items under his purview. I started to dislike him after, oh, say 15 seconds of conversation. He was subsequently dispatched by Stu after an unfortunate incident when he elected to lecture the Great One for failing to wear a hard hat. Inside a finished building. In 100 degree heat and humidity. It was short, it was ugly.

When we take on a job, especially out of town, our presence is expressly intended to be one of grim, humorless work ethic. I'm not kidding. We hit the job, we move like wraiths through tasks mundane, like silent carriers of the stealth virus through sodden and uninspired legions of huddled, uninspired worker bees.

Short story, we kick huge ass. We work like demons to get the job done, and then we leave.

Time and again I've heard the same words out of Superintendents who are left sputtering in our wake.

"Damn, boys, y'all sure did kick this job in the ass!"

Truth be told, we do. We are focused when on the road, not that we aren't when left on our own turf, but being on the road seems to mean a special challenge. The thrill of performance to an audience. Knowing that we are doing something perfectly routine to us, installing architectural millwork, but doing it in a way that is streamlined and compact and done well, at a rate of speed that is beyond fast. It is a perfectly and positively unknown speed. We have done this so often, it becomes routine. Communication is a series of grunts and inflections, a wave of the hand indicates 40 feet of cabinets are to be installed, for example. An hour later, the task is done. That's fast.

Fact is we just want to get the hell out of there and have a beer in a strange and wondrous tiki bar, but that's something we'd never let on. There is no hand signal for it, we just go ahead and do it.

It's like I tell Ally, at the conclusion of many of these trips out of town.

"Man, I love going on the road!" (her face generally crimping and eyes rolling up with a 'Here we go again' look). "We eat a great breakfast at some diner, work like fiends for 12 hours straight, have a 6 pm beer, eat like kings at dinner (seafood being a particular favorite) and go to bed in a nice hotel. What could be better?"

She is patient, is Ally. She doesn't get too worked up over the 3 kids she has shepherded for the duration of my fun road trip, nor does she mention the yard gone to seed and needing a good threshing. She tries hard not to glance at the growing pile of bills on the desk.

We left the job on a Thursday, having completed what we set out to do. The Project Engineer was sitting outside of his trailer, looking somewhat dejected after having been struck down by his superior ("Look, you don't know who you're dealing with here. There guys are the best in the business and you almost ran them off the job with your stupid safety regulations. God, don't EVER do that again"). Stu rolled down the window of the truck as we rolled out and waved a cheery wave at the P.E., offered a doff of his cap and hollered, "See ya later, dickhead!"

I allowed as to how that would be taken as somewhat offensive in our gentile world. Somewhat untoward.

"Hell, I don't care. That punk tried to make me wear a hardhat in a building that the Pope would be safe in. And I was hot. Ain't my fault that the Superintendent ran him down a notch, the kid had it coming to him. And I'll tell ye something else………"

I tuned him out as he ranted because the deed was done. The job was pretty much complete, in a quarter of the time that had been allotted. We had destroyed yet another set of paradigms laid out for us in the fashion we were famous for, the two grumpy old guys and a silent, learning youngster.

It's nice to be good at something.

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