sitting on swinging pipe…




view from the top

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

I am not one that can be labeled as someone who had a career. My work history was sporadic because my mental health issues kept me from feeling comfortable around other people and thus I would come and go from jobs frequently and mostly because I was afraid of someone-or some situation arose that made me feel fearful. Having no automobile made a lot of problems for me too-but I took a job with an outfit that had jobs that no one wanted to do and yet they had to be done….sandblasting,painting with toxic fumes around or the fiberglass shop-and they were’nt to disturbed by guys like me who were reliable as long as they were there working but yet those same men may or may not last out a week.
I had actually hired on there to be a truck driver-the shop in Gainesville was the supply hub for about 25 jobsites around the southeast,but the trucking jobs were limited to three full time drivers and those positions were like waiting to get entry into a high society country club-so I was stuck as what they refered to as a yard dog.
The main operation of the company was the construction of prestressed concrete water tanks-with up to 10 million gallon capacities,and they also developed waste water treatment facilities…almost every project was for a city utility and there is hardly a city I can go through that does not have one or more of these tanks involved in thier water works.
As I said-it was a come and go job-it was a rough job,most always out in the dust and sun….and every suprvisor had vocabularies of hard four letter words that they seemed to use more as terms of endearment…for instance-“thats one good muther fucker there,he’s one fuckin worker” or in opposite…”if that boy dont tighten up I’ll kick ten shades of shit out of him”. It was always like that-rough rough work and rough rough talk.
Now along the various times I offed and on with them I ended up working in the scaffold yard-a very go no where job. Trucks would return from the jobsites with hundreds of gunite caked scaffold frames and the braces and all the small attachments and we would have to take each frame and straighten it if it needed,or the worse was the sand blasting and painting,but what ever it was it was the same mundane pieces are parts and tasks over and over and over.
It had to have been my fortieth or fifty-fifth time of working there and that is where I ended up-I believe it was the spite of old BO who was my boss-it seems-everytime I went back to work there. But it would’nt have mattered-hardly any of the yard jobs were worth it.

[I need to note-to build these tanks the scaffolding is used to start the frame to hold the sheets of metal that form the core-and this outfit had thousands of scaffold frames and the became a rental service as a subsidiery of the main company.

One day while bending braces back into shape I began to notice this little Toyota pick up truck that was always sitting there and after inquiry I learned that it was the outside sales rep’s truck-but they had a very hard time finding any one to last long enough because they became intimidated by the job superintendants and all the cussing…which I was already used to by working in that yard,so I applied-and to my surprise and more so to BO’s surprise,I got the job….and by the time the next five years came and went I had become one of the leading scaffold men in the south east. The out fit was so pleased with how I built my knowledge up and they invested in me by sending me to Purdue-Calumet University to take courses in engineering and scaffold safety and I also was sent to WACO International school of scaffolding and with that and the years I had spent there on the off and on days I learned enough about building these things that I was good,damned good.
So to interject here-and return to my original sentance,I had three main occupations that I followed in my life,being a mortician-and most of all…the big rigs,and this place-building scaffolding.
And all that said just to tell you that it is one heck of a feeling sitting 90 feet up in the air on a inch and a half diameter piece of pipe waiting to sway back enough to grab the piece you need to connect that pipe with….its called having your ass wrapped around your neck because it is the only thing available to hold onto something way up there!
It is funny how we can adapt in situations-two hands and two feet that are born to be on solid ground and when we try to adjust them to working at great heighths and no foot holds or hand holds and not enough hands anyway to hang on and yet to build the tower you are on….and like I said-that tower is swinging in the wind with you as a ballest up there….so you learn how to use your butt cheeks as a third hand. Yeah-no joke…you get up there and feel that feeling your butt goes in two directions,one around your neck to hold you tight-from fear-and the other it wraps itself around that pipe so you can somehow feel you are not going to fall.

I’m soon going to habve to tell about Paul.
Paul was a guy that stood six foot tall and was well built as a man-but he was a stupid as a box of rocks. Perhaps one would be swinging from a pipe and had need for a hammer-and would yell down to Paul on the ground and yell to him to tie a hammer to your line and it did’nt matter what kind of hammer but Paul would stand down there and offer choices and debate the best for the job while all the time the wind has control of you and you are swaying to and fro on this pipe and desperatly needing a hammer to bend something back into position to lock the pipe in so you can catch yourself and get ready for the next section. Paul also had a habit of getting lost when you’d send him to a hardware or a supply yard….and he would stand in front of a pay phone as if you would randomly have that pay phone number and was going to call him to give him instructions….and the poor fool would stay in front of that pay phone for the longest time before he’d realise no one was going to call him.. He was dumb we one time sent him to a town south of here called Silver Springs and instead of going to Silver Springs which was twenty miles from here….Paul took off to Silver Springs Maryland-true story.

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