Thursday, June 15, 2006
Pissed Off / Pissed On
I've been trying to think of something that doesn't just piss me off, and it's been an uphill battle lately. Here's something, maybe:
A nice brush.
This is called a "crow's foot", and its only purpose in life is to apply a certain surface texture to walls. It's a plain, honest tool with a wooden handle.
It's made by an American company. I don't know if this particular tool was made in America, but it probably was, because they don't sell many of them these days, and the whole Globalization thing depends on volume. A Crow's Foot texture is kind of labor intensive, so you just don't see it in new construction. They use all that spray-on stuff now.
I have an old house, and it has that kind of texture on all the interior walls. We had some repairs done on it recently, and the guys who did the work were high performance technicians with this brush. They matched the existing texture perfectly, and they were quick and clean about it. None of them spoke English.
We had some concrete work done on the front porch, too. We hired a local master craftsman, who brought his daughter along to translate. He and his son, who is learning the trade, did great work at a reasonable price.
What precipitated all this was a foundation problem. We hired one of the big national firms to do the repairs. The salesman who gave us the winning bid was a white guy, but the crew who did the work was 100% Mexican - not an English speaker among them. I was astonished by the efficiency with which they dug, jackhammered, jacked, and filled our slab.
As a result of the foundation movement, there were some problems with our fireplace, too. We had the brick veneer torn down and replaced with "cultured stone". We had shopped around and picked the color, but the men who did the work talked us into throwing over the showroom row pattern in favor of their own freeform style. That is, the one who spoke English talked us into it, and we were glad he did.
Mondrianesque, n'est ce pas?
I'm pretty far from a privileged guy by American standards, but I have no clue what it's like to earn a living working like the people we've had in our house lately. I was proud that these artisans suffered my white ass to share a beer with them when they were through with their work.
And don't get me started on South Texas Culture, and "Mexicans" in the military, and the way that "Family Values" and "Christian Virtues" are expressed in Hispanic daily life, and so on and on.
This whole "immigration issue" (as it's contrived) just pisses me off.
I should have picked a different tool.
I'm getting quite a few hits from searches for "crow's foot texture" and the like. Presumably that's because Lowes