Friday, June 5, 2009

Perusing Google Analytics the other day I noticed that someone in nearby Poway had visited both this blog and my business site, both of which are not linked to one another. I have only half-heartedly tried to keep the two separate, but how could I not blog about the misadventures of atomic element #13? (The light metal simply begs for it!) I don't mention this blog to my customers for the obvious reasons. I mean, hey, it's not like it says in any of the contracts WILL BUILD ALUMINUM PATIO COVER TO DELINEATED SPECS. ALSO: YOU ARE BEING OBSERVED. But some day -I just know it- someone is going to hire me to build them a patio cover solely because they read this blog, and then I will be the one being observed. It will be an unfortunate experience. And then The Great Blog War will ensue.

Yesterday I got a couple standard phone calls from a customer, wondering why the hell I wasn't there at 6AM like a proper contractor. And then it dawned on me: They're going to check to see if I posted to the blog! They're going to know why I'm not there building them an aluminum patio cover! I can just imagine the Angie's List write-up: Contractor does good work, but arrived late. Too busy posting about being late on his blog. Oh, well. It could be worse.

On Monday I built a freestanding cover precariously balanced on three square, paneled columns, in a triangle shape, but with a curved hypotenuse. On Wednesday I built a solid-ceilinged cover with double 3x8 mitered headers resting on two classic round Roman columns, in a thunderstorm. Yesterday I built a cover that had a mere 8 foot projection, but was thirty-seven feet long. There was a pool in the way, and I had to muscle the thirty-seven foot lengths of aluminum up and over the posts with one arm, extended out over the water. Today I am building a smaller cover, but one without posts and without headers, that spans between two buildings. And all of it all by my all lonesome self.

I don't even want to think about next week.

It happens like magic! I show up alone, late in the morning, with a bunch of aluminum, and the customer is standing there at the door, arms folded, and looking over my shoulder wondering where the other workers are. I can see it in their eyes as they look skinny me up and down, Dammit. I made a terrible mistake hiring this guy. And then I smile and say, "Well, I better get started! I'll have it finished at 6:00!" And then they laugh like it was a joke. A particularly unfunny joke, and one at their expense. Clearly, they don't appreciate the humor. (But that's the part that I find funny.)

Oh, but all the hard feelings go away in a few hours when they look out the kitchen window and see The Great Pyramid of Cheops taking shape in their backyard. Wow!

So has everyone, but I've been underestimated all my life. I have always liked it this way, for one reason or another, but I think I'm finally beginning to get sick of it. I guess I'm just looking for people who take you at your word and give you the benefit of the doubt, despite what they think they see through some proud prism of self-satisfied judgement. After forty-odd years of searching, it seems there aren't a lot of people like this. I wish I were one of them.

Moreso, I wish I was just back in college blowing everything off and throwing ping-pong balls into plastic cups.

Have a hooptastic weekend.