Sunday, November 2, 2008
As I stood
As I step beyond the chain link fence next to the side walk. I immediately feel out of place. The people around me dressed in white T-shirts jeans and multicolored hard hats, they appear foreign to me just as I must appear foreign dressed in a suit and tie. Certainly not the proper attire in which to attend a construction site. Before me sits a building's bones, a series of wooden frames connected together not fit to be called a building yet, merely a shell of its future existence. I do not feel at home surrounded by the sights and sounds before me, loud noises, I must appear like a phantom to them as they walk by with out so much as looking up at me. I feel lesser, as I approach a podium upon which building plans are strewn about I look to my right and see a large tent, beneath it a multitude of tools. A workshop established in the midst of all this dirt, its very typical. Around the edges I see hammers, boxes of nails, drills and other implements set up on card tables, saw horses, anything with a horizontal surface wide enough to support something. Wooden planks all around piled neatly into stacks, virgins to soon be sacrificed in the name of progress. Clearly all these items used frequently. I stop for a moment to take note of the center of the tent. A lonely table saw, clearly a veteran of such affairs it sits surrounded by its cohorts the other tools and yet separate. Undeniably the staple of this worksite as the pile of sawdust collected at its feet would suggest and yet, not given the same care as the power drill sitting on the work bench nearby. Perhaps it is due to the machines simplicity that it requires so little care or upkeep, or perhaps it is unappreciated for the vital cuts it makes for the construction crews. It is as this moment I am interrupted by a worksite manager, clearly inpatient he directs his eyes at the roll of paper under my arm. I am directed over to the podium, the site where the conductor may conduct his orchestra of assembly. He looks over what I have to show him and clearly by his expression he is not pleased. I suddenly find myself thinking back to the table saw, situated alone, its important role forgotten until a problem arises and its needed once more. Our meeting ends as quickly as it began, the manager walks away to inform his staff of the changes that have been made and likely a few other words not so pleasant.
This construction site is very dissimilar from the Nichols House in Boston, and yet they are the same for undoubtably at one point the Nichols house had a similar look, unfinished and a mere fraction of what it now beholds. Surely it to must have had changes made in its design much to the displeasure of its constructors. And yet it has advanced beyond the scope of my project, it is remembered and is in some ways complete. Whilst my project sits unfinished on its lot, spread far away from its neighbors, gone are the days of buildings pushing right up to the edges of each other, and my project is certainly no expansion, so much wasted space in the name of “comfort”. The Nichols House provided someone comfort long before the need for a large garden.