No car came with the truck and trailer, yet I could see at least one extra head in the double cab. Mr. Construction was first out of the rig, prolonging the mystery of just how miserably twitchy I was going to be during the unload. He walked toward me as the passenger side door popped open.
“The kids are spending the weekend with their father, so we just have the little one today.” Wife and toddler emerged.
I am a close listener. Most of the time. And, if I am not analyzing how something was said, I am wondering why the utterance. It helps me pass the time. It also keeps me away from talk radio, for that spew is overwhelming, and an hour of agendized ad hominems and non sequiturs can keep me busy for days. So, a simple declarative statement should be a piece of cake.
1) Face value. Much like, “I have two cords of wood on the trailer.”
2) He is so over-joyed with the prospect of relative peace and quiet for a couple days that he cannot keep the good news to himself.
3) It is a bit of a backdoor apology for the previous delivery.
4) Everyone likes kids, and more kids are always better, so sorry for the disappointment.
With the toddler came a stroller, one of those cheap, flimsy ones unsuited for any terrain other than a sidewalk, plus a sippy cup, both quickly left in some tall grass. The wife donned gloves to help with the wood as the youngin’ went exploring off on his own. The wife soon ungloved to fetch the lad. I pointed the way to see the ducks should she need an engaging distraction. I received a blank look as she brought the child closer to the action and put the gloves back on.
I shall refrain from remarking on her efforts with the wood except to say, bless her heart for trying. The kid manages to climb the side of the trailer and begins to scale the slatted sidewalls. “Be careful.” I say as a general warning that all might hear and heed. I then get a lesson in parenting from the stepfather.
“We pretty much let him do what he wants. These are his formative years and he will determine his own limits.” Something like that, the syntax mine.
I don’t know if he detected a mild admonishment when I said, “Yet, when they get hurt, it breaks your heart.”
Eventually, I suggested (tried to convince the wife) that the toddler might enjoy a short trip through two gates to our garden where they could partake in tomatoes and cucumbers fresh from the vines. Off they went until the task at hand was complete.
I noticed two things about my co-worker: he never shut up, basically providing me with his résumé and job experiences from the last ten or more years; and, he was reluctant to retrieve the logs closest to the bed of the trailer. I listened and grunted acknowledgement at the appropriate intervals; and, finally noticing the second tendency, took care to stay on my side of the load. (Yes, I had related my back issues and wore a weight belt to emphasize the matter.) I am not saying the man is lazy, for that wood was put onto the trailer, and this after a full day’s work at a remote location; yet, I was not getting paid for my participation in the unloading.
There was no call out to the spouse when the job was finished, and, after handing over the final installment, we had a few minutes of silence to drive home the point that I was ready for this year’s business to end.
Stacking the wood in the barn is a tedious process. I had him pull close enough to the door that I do not have to go far with each armload. Yesterday, in three hours I managed to move 1/3 of the pile shown below. Today I will try to do that much again, or more. I require no assistance or companionship except from the jazz station on the radio.