Saturday, November 13, 2010

Writer's Concrete Block

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to break up a cement driveway with a pickaxe and a sledge hammer? I haven’t either, and I don’t know yet because he’s still working on it. The pickaxe resonates with a ping-thump sound as it chips away at the rock-hard gray substance that was laid down so many years ago. The sledge hammer sounds like a loud crack and then a thud as large chunks give way. The scraping sounds set my teeth on edge.

Now I am wondering if he knows that they have developed machinery to do this type of work. A Bobcat, with a front mounted jack hammer could do the work in a fraction of the time, but since this is a job arranged by the home owners association, I suppose saving money is the first order of business. One man, one pickaxe, one sledge hammer, and staggering stamina. Whack! Crack! Ping! Thud!

I just looked out the window to watch him use the flat end of the head to pry up a hefty chunk of four inch concrete. This visual is much better than written research and will come in handy for me if I ever write a story about a Mason who accepts jobs from tightfisted homeowners associations. Let’s see, what would I name him? Rock Morter? Connor (Con) Crete? Or maybe an antonym would be more fitting like, Loose Gravel. Now I’m being silly.

Somehow, this brings memories of my mother back. I can still hear her say, “you do everything the hard way.” Seems strange coming from a woman who tried to stop a car from rolling down a driveway with her bare hands rather than snatching a small child (me) dangling from the open door before dropping off under the front wheel. Good thing I was really young, flexible bones and a whole lot of luck kept me from sustaining any permanent damage.

I’ve always known that noises interfere with my thinking process which, at times, puts me at a disadvantage. I marvel at writers who sit in coffee shops to get their work done. Peck, peck, peck, they type, oblivious to their surroundings. One blast of the blender mixing someone’s Caramel, Mocha Frappiccino and I would be out the door. I just can’t incorporate noise into the creative writing process with any type of flow. It’s kind of like when reality gets in the way of an aspiration. Maybe I should write a piece on the Big Bang theory. Bang! Boom! Bonk! Scrape! No, I’m not that smart. Sometimes I wish I had a funny icon on my tool bar. Just click and everything you write is funny.

Uh oh, the chain gang just added another worker. Oh, it’s Juan, my gardener. I don’t suppose the pickaxe guy likes the cement dust being blown into his face by Juan’s leaf blower but that’s their axe to grind. The purpose of the driveway replacement is to eliminate trip hazards. I can’t tell you how many piles of bricks, dirt and cement there are, not to mention the wheel barrow sitting at the base of the porch steps. Now I’m listening to the Edgar Winter Group perform, Free Ride, in my head.

Saturday morning is my favorite time to write but there are signs that it’s time to stop. I’m thinking in broken English, my train of thought has been derailed and I am flitting from one subject to another like a hummingbird on crack. I guess I’ll take the worker some iced tea so all I will hear for the next few minutes is the tinkle of ice in the glass. Ahhhhh.

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