Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Mr. Cellophane

I started a cleaning job today.

After a long time lounging around as a student, or unemployed (which is kinda like being a student), it was wonderful to knuckle down and spend an entire day working. I know I've posted before about my inability to get my head around some parts of work, but when you've got a mop, a bucket, and 2000 sq feet of floor to clean the conceptual problems fall away and your body takes over. It's wonderful. I'm now aching in a dozen different places and am now re-acquainted with muscles I'd forgotten existed, but I couldn't be happier.

Or, I almost couldn't be happier.

Something I noticed as I went about learning/fulfilling my duties today, was how different people respond to my presence. Some would say "Hey" and greet me like a normal human being, but they were in the minority (I counted--it rounded out to about 1 in 12); another minority were people who were obviously busy and probably too caught up in their business to realise I was there (also about 1/12); but by far the largest group (all the remaining--5/6ths!) was the group who ignored me.

I'm not talking about strangers ignoring other strangers they pass on the street kind of ignoring; I'm talking about people making what seemed to be a conscious effort to 'not see' me. Faces that where laughing and smiling when talking to a friend suddenly became blank when I stepped into view with my mop. People who smiled back at me stopped smiling and stiffly turned away when I turned and they could see that I had been cleaning the glass. While riding an elevator with a rag and can of chrome polish a lady stepped in, smiled and jovially inquired if it was 'time to clean the car'; but on learning that I was 'one of the cleaners' she fell silent and then (after an extremely awkward 20 second ride) hurried away as though the lift were about to catch alight.

Of course, it's altogether possible that I am misjudging these people; that I'm reading far more into this than is really there.

But I don't think so.

Charles Spurgeon writes that:
I think you may judge of a man’s character by the persons whose affection he seeks. If you find a man seeking only the affection of those who are great, depend upon it he is ambitious and self-seeking; but when you observe that a man seeks the affection of those who can do nothing for him, but for whom he must do everything, you know that he is not seeking himself, but that pure benevolence sways his heart.
It's my hope that this time working in the margins--as the ever-present, lowly janitor--will be fruitful. Not only in allowing me to relearn what good, hard, work is; but also allowing me to develop a heart for those who tend to be relegated to the footnotes, if they're noticed at all. If the Master could do it, why not I?


  1. I too am doubtful that you are mis-reading things. I certainly will be an interesting learning experience.

    My question is - what is the path from this to blacksmithery?

    1. Basically, the first order of the day is to get the wheels greased with some kind of regular income; after which I plan to a) start tinkering away myself and (more importantly) b) find people of the smithing persuasion who are willing to teach me the trade.

      An apprenticeship would be nice, but I have my doubts about easily finding someone in the area, and if I can avoid moving halfway across Australia I'll do so. I have a gent down south who doesn't have the money to keep an apprentice, but who's willing to have me look over his shoulder. Hopefully with people like that (and the occasional workshop here/there/when I can afford it) I'll be able to learn the skills I need--after which it's simply a case of putting them into practice.

      I'm under no illusions about my getting to my destination *quickly*, but I know I'm going to get there. In the meantime, I'll try and enjoy the ride. :)

  2. As you say - the timeframe can be long, just wanted to make sure you have a sketch *A* route to get there.

    BTW - what's a moderately equipped workshop cost?

    1. Somehow missed this comment.

      It's hard to gauge the exact expense because a number of items vary greatly in cost depending on whether they're purchased new, found secondhand, or are simply an old piece that needs some refurbishing.

      The three things I'd need (apart from fuel and metal) are a forge (New ~500-$1000; homemade ~$100-$200), an anvil (New ~$500-$2000; secondhand ~$200-$800; in need of refurbishment+cost of refurbishing ~$100-$500), and a toolset (Depending on exactly what I had and how much I was able to fabricate myself ~$300-$2000).

      So all up I've a range somewhere between ~$500 and ~$5000 depending on how lucky I am with regards to anvils/tools and how much make-do I'm willing to put up with.

      Of course, there's probably something I'm missing that will throw the above grossly out of whack, but it's a reasonable estimate. :)


Comments are currently unmoderated as an experiment in behavioral psychology.