Friday, August 12, 2005

The Scaffolder.

I have a beautiful desk. It really is something else. It's a corner office on the top floor of a science facility here in Fancypants University. The view is absolutely amazing. I haven't enjoyed the view lately, however.

The building next to us is undergoing major renovations. As a result, they're having scaffolding installed all around the facade. I never really considered how scaffolding is installed around a five story building. Much like that trip I made to the slaughterhouse when I was younger, now I wish I never knew.

A team of five construction workers waltz around on these metal catwalks, slowly erecting the scaffolding. The frightening thing is -- they aren't strapped onto anything. These guys first install the metal scaffold and then place wooden planks on them. Note, the wooden planks are not fastened to anything, they slide around like crazy as these daredevils walk on them.

This has made it very difficult for yours truly to get anything done while at his desk. Everytime I look over I keep thinking, "God, please be careful. You're walking on that crap five stories up!"

Yesterday was the worst. They were passing the wooden planks up in a vertical assembly line fashion. One of the workers lost his grip on the board, reached over to save it from falling and nearly fell himself. Good old me, I screamed out in horror, "OH JESUS CHRIST, LOOK OUT!"

Mind you, I work in a a quiet laboratory space. Everyone ran over to my desk, wondering what was wrong. I said, "The, the scaffolder... he almost fell... look out there." As my coworkers looked out, the scaffolder looked all of them, smiled an waved. "What are you talking about, Vavoom? The guy's fine." My coworkers started grumbling, "Man, the new guy is really wierd" as they walked away from my desk.

I looked back out the window at the scaffolder. We were at eye level with one another. He shrugged, saluted, smiled and went back to work. I couldn't help but think, "You've won this time, scaffolder. Next time I'll make you look like the fool!" Barring nudity in the workplace, I don't think I'll be able to draw his attention the way his mishap did mine. In that case, I guess my imagined threat was an idle one, at best.

Anybody know where a guy can get a good set of blinders in Boston? I think I'll need them if I'm to have any chance of getting anything done at my desk.


Blogger Megan said...

I think you should call the area OSHA office with that story...since I'm in occupational and environmental health I know these guys actually are supposed to have some safety measures. One company just got hit with some pretty big fines after some workers were caught doing something really similar.

8:03 AM  
Blogger Joann said...

Get out your camera and let them see you take a photo. That might get them to strap up. I was taking photos for my Flickr page of some guys putting up a new billboard--they got all nervous; thought I was from the state.

They hooked up.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So when are you going to tell us which school fancy pants university really is?

11:45 AM  
Blogger Vavoom said...

anonymous: Fancypants University is that one in the Boston area.

11:46 AM  
Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

nuidity in the workplace...How exciting...But watch out for those sexual harassment lawsuits.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

I'm guessing Fancypants U. is M.I.T., but I've been wrong before.

Yes, Boston's theme has become almost "Love Boston And Love Construction". I was a trolley tour guide in Boston when the Big Dig began. Sheesh....

You'll learn to love the Kennedy jokes, but heaven forbid the telling of them unless you're a native. If you don't believe me, try it.

Have you been to the Christian Science Mother Church? They've got a 30-foot stained glass globe of the world you can walk through!

2:47 PM  
Blogger Lily said...

Next you'll be telling us you saw a baby crawling precariously up and down the scaffolding. =)

3:23 PM  
Blogger Vavoom said...

Fancypants University is ITT tech or DeVry. That's my guess.

3:42 PM  
Blogger RT said...

LoL Vavoom, I used to do scaffolding. I have to say, you're description was perfect, right down to the plank assembly line.

(Do you even know how heavy those f*#@ing boards are??? And trying to lift them out in front you... Oh man, I had some nights when I thought my shoulders were going to fall off! But, there's no other way of doing it, unless you have a crane at your disposal. Which we didn't because we were inside.)

Your story reminds me of an incident that happened at work one day. Similarly, the line was going along just fine (as it usually did) until someone dropped a plank. The plank fell and hit another worker (who wasn't a part of the line) on the scaffold and knocked him off (four stories of off!) The ambulance came and took him away, and while I don't think he actually died, we never saw him again.

Anyway, it is a dangerous job, but not as dangerous as you would think. We knew the risk we were taking, which is probably why the guy saluted you. He wasn't doing it to mock you, he was just happy to be alive and simply acknowledging that you were witness to it.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Meow said...

The horses on the hansom cabs. LOL
Maybe you can snatch off a pair off a parked one whilst the driver is not looking. Or is that a New York thing only?

7:43 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Just be happy you're not overlooking the Fancypants sewage treatment plant. It would not only be an eyesore, but a nose irritant as well.

I, for one, don't want to know where FPU is located; it would take all the fun out of your posts.

9:52 PM  
Blogger LoraLoo said...

You could always cover the window with a poster of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I agree with joann. Take out a camera, they'll probably strap up.

10:00 PM  
Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Construction workers SHOULD be wearing proper safety gear at all times. Obviously, the guys STUPIDvisor is an asshole.

But, should someone fall, you can bet that the insurance company will fight the claim due to the fact that "proper measures were not taken to prevent the accident".

At the least, the guys should be wearing body harnesses and some kind of fall arrest system.

12:07 AM  
Blogger Merry Stitcher said...

Go back to Filene's basement. If they don't carry blinders, you might find them on a fellow shopper or two. (They're very useful there!)

12:30 AM  
Blogger A Fashionista said...

LOL LOL LOL Merry that is hilarious. Go to Filene's Basement. LOL LOL
I think Vavoom has got evil up his sleeve. He's gonna taunt that scaffolder and he'll probably nearly lose it again.

10:47 AM  
Blogger Raine said...

It sounds like a shoddy subcontractor sent casual laborers to do the work.

A corner office on the top floor sounds lovely. Hopefully you'll have a view of the trees in the fall.

I think F.U. is the one that Bill Gates said FU to.

12:11 PM  
Blogger thc said...

Put your head down and get back to work. I'm a little concerned about your obsession with construction workers.

3:40 PM  
Blogger dreadcow said...

Blackhawk helicopter + 60 feet of rope = weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

5:04 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

Do you have blinds on your windows that you could close? I guess that wouldn't work either because you would be peering through them all the time and then the construction worker might get another idea about you...hahah

8:40 PM  
Blogger An80sNut said...

You might have to use Lemon-Scented Pledge on their planks late at night and set up a video camera while you work. That way, you'll have evidence that there is clumsiness over there. B)

8:42 PM  
Blogger Moose said...

Those guys are nuts.

12:58 AM  

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