Spider and Flies

I have no idea why Stephen do not sub contract bricklaying work to do as a sideline. He told me he was "lazy" and do not like to be the "boss." Steph confided that he would rather be a worker, so that he has no other responsibilities outside his daily work. He was not wrong. A bricklayer brings no work home, knocks off on time and answers to no one as long as he goes his work right. If Steph is to take on mini projects on his own, he will have a reputation to upkeep, customers to please, to provide services to impress and a lot of planning to do.

From time to time, Steph would ask me to consider going into the trade, get myself trained up and take up some jobs on my own. He would then be more than happy to support me as a skilled tradesman. That would be counter-productive and silly. For one, I'm not sure if he realised it at all, much as he dislike being the boss, Steph has all the qualities being one. He has the necessary skills, personality and network to do this sort of thing well but his reluctance went on for these few years.

Not sure why but lately I heard Steph has been taking up some smallish projects. Almost every Saturday morning he would drive his Ford Explorer and brick up some places for somebody. This sort of thing is similar to trying your luck in lottery. You have to be in it to win it. When it comes to getting small jobs though, the chances are nowhere as remote as winning lottery. In fact, if the job is well done often enough, the chances of a referral is high. The more good jobs he completes in his own name, the more often job requests will come. If Steph keeps up at this, eventually he will be offered something significant enough to put him in the dilemma doing it full time or not. I call that a happy problem, if it comes.

This week I received a call from the big man. He wanted me to do the labouring job for his new Saturday work. Several times in the past, Steph remarked over the phone, “你可以的吗?” (You can or not one?) I could almost imagine him looking up and down to my scrawny frame. His reservations were not without basis. There isn't an inch on me that looks like a brickie. Yet I survived 1 year of intensive work in the steel factory as a TA. Every night felt like a double gym session. The last time I checked, the density of steel is higher than bricks.

As I was taking a pee at work, I looked up and saw tiny flies struggling by the window. Those were not the pesky bush flies, which normally arrive in the city in mid Spring. Just some tiny ones that looked like fruit flies. They appeared to be snared by some dust or fine threads invisible to my eyes. Even the spiders have reappeared from hibernation and began spinning their candy floss to lure silly flies. Perhaps it is time for me to work. I suspect Steph's job doesn't really need 2 manpower to finish up his job. He just wanted to get my butt up and do some work. He even offered to pay me. I hope he will tell me how much he quoted for the job. I will not be taking the money if he doesn't make enough from the job. If I learn something from it, I'll pay my school fees with my services.

On the eve of Stephen's birthday, he put up an awful sounding rhyme on Facebook

Today I learnt to lay bricks
I discovered i was not quick

I follow Stephen's lead
Later will come the speed

Concentrate on ten mills joints
There are so many points

Level plumb keep it clean
Keep it straight it mustn't lean

I want to be an apprentice
So i will get better at this

It is probably written for his students. Cheesy as it sounds, that is the mentality I will adopt for Saturday.

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