Two Men

Its a hot June afternoon.

For sun devils like myself it can never be too hot. Yet I have an advantage: as someone who works from home I can step inside whenever its too warm and as I toil away I seldom wear more than shorts and a t-shirt. I can adapt.

Moments ago a moving truck showed up, a long one with single rear axle. 18′ I’d guess. Living in a university town in the heart of a university neighborhood we’re used to this – moving vans, free moving boxes on the curb just after the start of every month and the ubiquitous free furniture doting curbsides randomly.

On this hot day the driver tried to maneuver the big truck down the narrow stretch of 41st Street but the driveway, like so many in this ancient ‘hood, was designed for horse and carriage not motor vehicles. He had to come around the block and with one smooth move and a long bleat of his horn he backed into the other parking lot in one move. I know its a guy thing, but backing up a rig is a right of passage.

I started to think about all the tradespeople I know. Stylists, garages, repair men, movers and so on, doing their work every day in the heat of the summer and the chill of the winter, unsung largely but needed none the less. Its popular now a days to talk about outsourcing or offshoring as if it had just happened, but that’s politics for you. We take the obvious and act like its something new.

Yet the people I see every day, from the guy at the market who is never to busy to give you food ideas, to the postman who smiles even as he tromps through the neighborhood with his pith helmet as the temperature nears 100 are still here. Like the corner store that opens at 6:30. Or 7. Depending on when Ali wakes up. The garage that will always get you in even if they have to say late. The barber shop where a cold beer eases the dullness of waiting for your cut.

The people who day in day out do their thing, largely unsupervised because they’re responsible and adults: no one needs to tell them what to do or how to do it. And we are the better for it. They have not been offshore because they are part of the fabric of our town, and every town needs them.

So as the clock wends past 4 and I debate how much longer I need to work for the day the two men in the moving truck just begin another load, My guess is they’ll be going till 7 or 8 or as long as the light lets them. How good it is to have these people we count on so much doing their job day in and day without celebration. How good it is for my town and yours.

Think global, buy local and raise a toast to the men and women who make our world go around every day.

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