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September 12th, 2006

Interior Roofing



I work in a small suburban office park. The "plaza" in which we lease our offices is comprised of one-story buildings, rather like my own mental idea of a "medical plaza". The look is not like one of those southern California tropical gardens with buildings interspersed between the plants. The look instead looks more "office park in Texas". Crepe myrtle trees in front, a hedge to the side, a Church of God in Christ unobtrusively experiencing spiritual gifts in one of the spaces, holding forth pentecostally until two in the afternoon on Sundays.

This week the work crew hired by our landlord began replacing the roof on our building. The operation thus far works very much according to plan. The landlord thoughtfully advised us of the coming inconvenience. The roof guys did another building in good time, and made progress on our building yesterday.

I liked the machine that generated power to fuel the roofing tar up to the roof from the ground. Its all-encompassing mechanical hum proved appealing not repellent. From within my office, the gentle clomp-clomp of workers' boots amounted to interesting sidelights rather than endless distractions.

I like to tackle my own projects, within and without, with the same spirit--notice to all of potential inconvenience, sure-handed work on the bare patches, efficient machines and the gentlest clomp imaginable.


Some people love the smell of napalm in the morning. For me, a similar sensation arises when I drop dress shirts off at the dry cleaners for Comet Cleaners to do an extra-terrestrial job of starch and press, only to find that other, equally eligible shirts sit ready already for pick-up.

When I heard the sum they quoted me, roughly a decent fraction of the average month's per capita income of the day to day citizen of Belize, I became convinced that the dry cleaning included not just a swath of shirts, but an entire lending library stocked with an encyclopedia of shirts. I digress, parenthetically, to state that there is nothing wrong with me that being a librarian would not have cured, and then deviate back to topic.

The high price tag at Comet Cleaners was not, as it turned out, an indication that any more than a satisfying number of shirts was ready to wear. The price culprit instead was that some of my wife's clothes were newly cleaned (or, if the word is not cleaned, then dried).

I consider the price inequities between men and women's dry cleaning bills a modern travesty of market economics. I remain surprised that some enterprising cleaners has not already realized that a loyal clientele could be built on a gender-neutral pricing plan. I did not mount any soapboxes today. I paid the bill, and drove to work.