working man’s thought

Sunday morning and I started my shift before 6:00 a.m.
I stood at the time clock and exhaled my tired exhale. I entered my numerical code and then placed my hand inside the scanner.
After the clock beeped in its tiny beep of acceptance, the word “THANK YOU” flashed on the L.E.D. screen and I exhaled my tired exhale.

The cold weather has been relentless…
I went up to the 29th floor and stood on the setback of the building where I work. I sipped from my coffee, looking west, and watched the colors of morning dress the side of glass buildings near 5th avenue.
I stared at the sea of Midtown buildings, watching white smoke rise from the rooftops, and thinking of different places I would rather be.
I thought of white sand beaches and tall fruity drinks with tiny umbrellas at the top of the glass.
I thought about blue waters, drowning in lazy afternoons, and relaxing in the outgoing tides of a small island…

On a weekend cruise to nowhere, I once stood on the upper deck of a ship and watched the fullest moon in the brightest nighttime sky.
I could use a trip like this.
But here it is….Sunday….and I’m on the job
I’m at the start of an 11 hour shift and the only vacation I have planned is the one when I’ll paint the rooms in my house.

I believe life comes with tradeoffs.
Man on the train always tells me, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”
In order to get where I want to be, I have to work.
But if I work all the time, I never have the time to enjoy the things I work for.

My Old Man suffered with this too. I suppose a lot of us do.
If you want something….you have to work for it.
And if you get it…you have to work to keep it.
That’s just how life goes

Alone on my shift, I grabbed my tools and plugged away at the list of chores, which were left for me.
I had an argument with someone that did not speak English. Then I wondered who was stupid; him for not understanding or me for trying to explain….

A man can bang his head against the wall for centuries and never learn from his mistakes.
This morning, I decided I did not want to be that guy.
So back to it I go.
I have this trick. And if I’m able to pull it off, maybe the dreams of sinking into lazy sunsets, and white sand beaches will become common place.

Who knows….maybe I would miss the city.
Maybe I would miss this side of Lexington Avenue, or the lights that flicker from Times Square.
Maybe I would miss the homeless man on the shuttle from Grand Central. He sits in the middle of the train and sings, “Jesus is lifting me,” on guitar with only three strings.

If I pull of my trick…maybe I could see a different side to this city
(or somewhere else)

After finishing my jobs, I looked in the mirror. I washed the dirt from my face and from under my fingernails.
I was reminded of something I heard in a 12 step meeting.
“Anything worth something is never going to come easy. But if you want it, and you are willing to go to any lengths to get it, the world can be yours.”

I changed my clothes, shut the lights to my shop, and then I went to the time clock.
I punched in my numerical code and placed my hand in the scanner, which followed with a beep, and the words, “THANK YOU,” flashed in the L.E.D. screen. I exhaled my tired exhale….and here I am, back at it…
and working on my trick.

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