Wasn't I the one doing some mild complaining about this being a slow week, workwise? Ah yes, Horatio, this too shall pass.
In a couple hours coporate partner Stu and I will meet with the architect at our latest gig, the 'Taiwanese Resturant in the Strip Mall'. I love it when we're at the phase of just starting, or just getting ready to finish a job. All the stuff in between is mostly routine slogging, but that initial rush is completely compelling.
The architect, in this case, is someone whom we've worked with before. A seemingly dapper young'un, he favors dark New York cut suits and hair which is zapped with a stun gun to convey the idea of careless, yet trendy fashion. He is the visionary, the creator, and we the talented yet hickish extension of his designs.
I often wonder how he perceives the two ancient warriors at meetings like this. Most of the time he starts out these meetings with a bit of a condescending tone, trying to break down directions into simple tasks that the feeble will understand. We'll tolerate these paradigms to a point, and after a while, I'll toss in a few "colloqialism" or "demographic nuances" style phrases that throw him off track. We genuinely confuse him. I half expect him to interrupt himself and cry, "Why, you actually speak intelligently!"
We have that effect on people. It amuses us to no end to play with their stereotypes. It is probably the single worst habit we have, and why we will never get rich in this field, although we certainly do very well. Point in fact: I refuse to act stupidly in order to curry favor or enhance someone's inflated opinion of themselves. This no doubt affects our sales, customers like to carry the image of low IQ construction types who nevertheless slavishly work on their projects and produce good results. It comforts them, somehow. A bit too much of the old 'Bob Vila's Home Again' viewing, perhaps.
Some of the most successful people I know in this business are also some of the dumbest, but they have a cunning in their own way. They know how to kiss ass and say the right thing at the right time to make a customer proud of his position as an 'owner'. A spender of much cash. A successful business person.
Nah. Too much trouble. While we go to great lengths to be polite to our customers, we do nothing to spoil our image as two cranky, profane workman who "On the other hand are the most talented sumbitches around." Yes, thank you, we are.
Bring on the Taiwanese. When this job is over, we'll sit back at the opening of 'OUR' resturant and bask in the glow of a happy owner, running around on opening night taking in the compliments of her customers and taking in their dollars. We'll raise a glass to the architect, standing at the bar with a free highball, being patted on the back by his contemporaries for another stunning achievement.
All from our reserved table back by the kitchen door. Ah well, the waitstaff always loves us. Maybe they'll have a few extra eggrolls to toss our way.
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