written this morning after a long shift at work

Something is coming my way.
I don’t know what it is, but I know a change is coming.
I can feel it.

After working the overnight, I pulled another 8-hour shift, and I picked up exactly where I left off.
Lately, I’ve been re-piping a lot of old cast-iron radiators.
I’ve been moving them from one spot to another, which means replacing the supply valves on top and steam traps at the bottom.
The problem with this is the radiators are heavy and most of the valves are older than my oldest relative.
Once the wrench begins to turn the valve, the pipe begins to squeak from tension. We call them “Squeakers.”
After a while, my arms feel tired. My knees hurt from crouching and my lower back stiffens from pain. I begin to think of excuses or count the minutes before my next break.

The key to jobs like this is movement.
Stopping allows me to focus on the pain in my knees. Stopping leaves me to think about my lower back and the strain in my arms, and at my elbows.
But most of all, stopping causes me to look around and see how far I have to go.
They say, “A watched pot never boils.”
I get that….

This morning was like any other day in my neck of the woods. I stayed for the late-night overtime and went back on the clock by 6:00am.
As cold as it is and as tired as I was, I went to the roof of my building and stood above Lexington Avenue.
I watched the sky lighten after yesterday’s storm.
I watched the white clouds of steam rise from the rooftops on buildings across Midtown Manhattan.

I feel something coming my way.
It’s a change, but I don’t know what it is…

When I started this job, I said “This is only temporary.”
I figured, “I’ll do this until I figure out what I really want to do.”
But 15 years doesn’t feel so temporary….

I found an old flyer for an off-Broadway play. It was curled up and tossed behind one of the radiators I was told to move.

My good friend Vincent Mazza always tells me, “Keep writing, kid. I believe in you.”
I wonder if he knows how much that means to me….

I’ve been working on something for a while now.
But I have to remember the key to any job is movement.
If I stop, I’ll have time to think about the pain.
I’ll have time to think about my doubts and my insecurities.
If I stop, I’ll think about how far I have to go in order to get where I want to be.

And if I don’t stop…..
if I keep going…..
I have a better chance of finishing what I started.

Which reminds me, I better get back downstairs.
Those supply valves ain’t gonna change themselves


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