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Tuesday, 10 August - link

jesus was a carpenter

Ten thirty pm finally finished sweeping out the bathroom. Couldn't get the plaster chips out of the sink; it drains slow now. My carpenter didn't lay a plastic sheet over any of the plumbing, so the dust entered every crack and pipe.

That's a midnight handyman - I needed someone to come in as the sun was going down, cut a hole in my cabinets big enough for a dishwasher sitting in the middle of my kitchen, and someone to cut a hole in my bathroom wall big enough for a mirrored medicine cabinet.

Along the way are knotted woods, stray nails, unannounced ancient outlets, and rats nests. The job extends past 9pm, past 9.30. He is worried the police are going to come and bust him for power tools.

It would not be his first brush with authority, you know. He was visited by the secret service about five months ago. He was sipping coffee at Starbucks and writing a book on his laptop. They approached and asked for him by name. He had a premonition that the President of the United States was going to die in a plane crash. Same as he had a premonition about 9/11. He writes allegorical poems about these premonitions and sends them out in email newsletters. He's had multiple visits from the FBI and Secret Service. He's helped solve crimes with clairvoyance.

I stood back, mouth slightly agape, inhaling particulate matter as he madly sawed out parts of my wall and nailed together old 2x4s to reinforce an ragged opening. We were running past his promised time, everything was a rush. But he did have time to tell me about work behind the camera in the porn industry. And Scientological friends who nearly convinced him to accept fame and fortune in exchange for his mortal soul. Instead, he gave away all his possessions, became homeless and started writing books about his visions and experiences. All this emerges as he wields the sawzall around my tiny bathroom after nine PM.

When he first arrived to start working, I talked him through the job and then went to write on my computer. Each five minutes or so, he would call out "Oh no!"
"What's that?"
"Better come look," he'd reply. I'd put my laptop down on an upright milk crate and climb over his tool boxes into the bathroom. "Well look - I just found a nail poking out of this board. Looks like I'm going to have to cut around it." After the fifth such call, I realized - the nail, the board were not the point. I was needed to listen there. Jesus was a carpenter.

So I stood in the doorframe, studying the installation manual for a Bosch dishwasher, listening to his understanding of the conversations that happen at a sub-perceptual level. I grabbed a chisel for a little while and worked to help him fit the dishwasher under the counter. He told me stories, and slowly the holes were roughed out, the dishwasher was tucked away.

He left, I cleaned up. Nearly 11pm, I sat down on the couch to have some peace with my mind, alone in my home for the first time in ~15 hours. Then I heard deep bass emerge from next door - my neighbor spins Techno to unwind. Not bad Techno either. Just Techno, close to 11pm. I decided to water my plants.

Posted on 10 August 2004 : 23:28 (TrackBack)
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Justin's Links, by Justin Hall.