A friend who I met on my bus route, a master plumber and electrician, was, according to him, recently “sentenced” to a supervisory role, due a small series of strokes. He was no longer able to work directly in the field practicing his trades. Although grateful to at least still be able to go to work, it was evident he was struggling with not being able to do what he loved and had done for the past 30 years.
He knew I was doing some remodeling on my house and had a few other projects in the works.
He had a very good buddy he wanted me to meet, who recently had fallen on hard times as a result of his divorce and thought he and I would get along. He figured we would have a lot in common as his buddy had bought and remodeled his own house. He told me he was very concerned about his mental and emotional wellbeing; that he was really down-and-out. He explained that he had been suffering from major depression. He felt it would do him some good to get out and get involved with a project to help him through the tough period he was experiencing.
I told him to give him my telephone number and have him call me and that I would invite him up to see the progress of the renovations. He said he had a better idea. He was having a barbeque on the weekend and that I should come over so that he could introduce me to
That weekend I attended his barbeque and met his buddy, Sid.
Sid seemed very quiet and polite. It was hard to carry on a conversation with Sid because he had both a very deep, distinct accent and seemed very reluctant to talk much about himself, or anything else for that matter. I couldn’t tell whether he was just a very quiet and private person or if he just didn’t like me.
Never-the-less, I invited him up to the house and gave him my phone number and address. I figured I would never hear from him again.
A couple weeks later, I was in the house taking a little cat-nap after working on the yard all morning. I had lain down just a few minutes as I try to only sleep 20 minutes at a time when napping. I awoke from my nap and went back outside and started working again when I noticed a note on my windshield.
It was a note from Sid, he had been there just a few minutes before. I had just missed him. He indicated on the note that he would return sometime later in the week. He had stopped by to see the project.
I went back to work.
I was slowly learning to use my hand. It was a slow, painful process, but I could see progress. Some days went better than others. I keep at it regardless, determined now more than ever, to overcome the shortcomings caused by having only one functional hand.
My next door neighbor Ms D had asked me to ask the carpenter if he would be interested in building an outdoor deck and some other things. I was very reluctant to ask because of my experiences with him. I explained this to her but she insisted anyways.
So, I asked him to submit a written proposal and bid, including a materials list, amount due and the payment terms. I did this for her protection. Besides, like I said, I learn fast and had learned a few things since my first encounter with the carpenter.
While working in the yard the carpenter drove up my driveway in his old pickup. He had finished the bid and was bringing it to me for Ms. D.
I also had a few other jobs going, for which I wanted a bid for. Perhaps I was over-confident. That’s the danger with having had some success in doing a few remodeling projects plus the great progress I was making using my hand.
When I look back, I now have to admit that it might have been more false confidence. Just because I had coordinated a few jobs and had some success using my hand, I wanted to run before I walked.
He went over the job and explained it all to me like I was a kindergartner. I had a dysfunctional hand, not a case of severe brain damage. I clearly remember thinking that he had such a condescending nature.
He pointed out that because this bid included a lot of complex tasks like building kitchen cabinets, removing walls and installing headers, he was going to need someone experienced to help him.
I had been making great progress with my hand and eagerly offered my help again. When I offered to help him build the shed, he said, “You’re pretty much a cripple from what I can see, and pretty worthless to me, I need someone I can trust on the other side of the wall to lift and hold the rafters. So, I will just bring my son.”
I nodded like I understood his logic. I didn’t.
He then turned and left. As he was walking down the driveway he glanced back over his shoulder and said, “I’ll need a couple weeks notice to schedule this job; give me enough advance notice.”
It was like someone had kicked me square in the gut, after he said what he did about me being a cripple. I did my best to try not to show how it affected me. I don’t know how well I did at that. He didn’t seem to care anyway.
I must really be a glutton for punishment because here I am asking again if I can help him.
I so wanted to prove that I could do it. At first, I wanted to prove it to myself.
Now, I was going to prove it to him.
All I wanted was a chance. It was obvious I wasn’t going to get it, so the next best thing was to learn every thing I possible could.
I was doing this.
(Protected by copy write, all rights reserved ,D.Jerzak 3-04-2007)