If you have taken note of the many times I’ve giddily touted a new ambition, fervently declared my devotion to perfecting a language or an instrument or a random skill, and have suffered the awkward disappointment of never hearing mention of them again, you may have to leave the room. I have found a new vocation. As of yesterday, I have submitted myself to the labor intensive craft of being a professional roofer.
Oh, you heard me. Why, I was just on a roof this evening. I have tar stains on my arms and ankles, from where I failed to rub turpentine. Yet another pair of old leggings lies fossilized in the garbage. I may or may not have grown a beard suddenly.
A few weeks ago, it rained and rained. My poor dad woke to water dropping at an insulting speed of 12 drops per minute, splashing his face with spiteful deliberation. Sorry, my mom immediately called for a quote on a new roof. And, unsurprisingly, the price was terribly depressing. Can we DIY it? I asked half-heartedly, having recently had Pinterest explained to me. You see where this is going…
Still, unlike repurposing an egg carton for my growing collection of floating candles, thatching a roof can be quite an ordeal. It involves me first opening the dreaded toolshed, from where I have to extract a ladder, from where a considerable amount of wasps live and regularly need to be sprayed out. And then there is the perilous journey up the ladder, balancing that heavy jar of sealant in one hand, spatula in the other, legs starting to feel numby-wumby. Upon reaching the top, there is the slight satisfaction that being lighter than a middle-aged man affords, giving the delicate condition of such a worn roof. But then, giving the delicate condition of such a worn roof, satisfaction soon gives way to a panicked image of falling through said roof, onto one unsuspecting father…
But then, there is a reward here somewhere. Scraping the tar over the depressed cracks above the den, the sun setting on a beautiful day. This house. The crab apple tree that my uncle planted for me on my sixth birthday, the greatest present. Gigi the shih tzu, bewildered at my looming height. I thought of that scene in Blade Runner, when Roy tells Decker, “I have seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion…”
Maybe the fumes were starting to get to me. But I enjoyed the momentary feeling of self-importance that being a roofer can afford, standing so high above everything, working. It’s a nice, sweaty contrast from the birthday princess I was all week, for which I am equally grateful.
About that— this may have been my favorite birthday ever! I felt so warm and celebrated. Thank you notes were mailed today… But if any of you catch this, I still want to throw in a few more: thank you, thank you! I love you, I love you!