The Construction Temp

So I plunged from the dizzy heights of a counter dolly to the pits of a Greenfield construction site. They needed someone ASAP to back fill their administration officer who went off on mysterious personal leave. No one was sure when she would return so the job was open-ended.

After the first day, I realised I seriously needed to re-think my wardrobe. Even my lovely patent kitten heals sounded like seagulls with severe case of gout pacing up and down the temporary floorboards. So I decided to go fully utilitarian with my daily attire, right down to my brassieres. They were no longer encased in gorgeous elegant butter soft lace, but held up with NASA like padding designed to perform their duty of being a Bustenhalter (German word for brassiereshouse for breasts).

My background as a chemical engineer would have been of little use to the civil engineers. They like to play with dirt, I used to like making things explode. The temporary accommodation portables looked like they had been fitted out by a Zen master. Everything was functional, practical and streamlined. Everything except the paperwork on my desk. Engineers like designs, and a lot of them so I would have 73 version of the proposed freeway fly-over that I would need to fold just so. I earned major brownie points for knowing how to fold an A3 into a neatly folded A4 that would fit in the planning folders.


The construction temp image 29 June 2015


For obvious reasons, I love engineers. They are equal parts logic and creativity. No hammer, no problem, just use your Blundstones. No fork, no problem, just tightly wind up your napkin and fashion it into a spoon.

The construction site was filled with the smell of testosterone and cement. Construction also attracts a diverse range of staff. There was such a cacophony of different accents that I felt like I was at a UN council meeting. Although their accents may have varied, their language didn’t. Engineers, I think, have been wrongly accused of having limited vocabularies. I beg to differ. They are, as with most things, efficient and expedient. Why use five words when you can get away with one or two. For example, they can be quite versatile in their use of the F-Bom. They use it to convey myriad expressions:

Excitement              F#@!

Curiosity                 What the F#@!

Disappointment    No F#@!ing way

Anger                      F#@! Off

Satisfaction            Now that’s what I’m F#@!ing talking about

The Project Director was fast and furious with the F-Bom when he came charging up to my desk. I thought I was going to be fired, but he wanted to see version 103 of the northern section of the freeway. He paced like a nervous coach as I slid across the floor boards and handed him the file. He opened the file to the appropriate page and swore at the electrical engineer as he pointed to the specifications.

“See that? The street lights face into the street you dumb ass, not onto the people’s backyards. What the F#@! Were you trying to do, turn six kilometers of street lights into an airport runway? Fix it!”

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