Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summer help

I debated long and hard before I decided to call this entry "summer help." Those words seem to convey a somewhat lazy attitude,  one held by a teenager who knows he can get away with murder since no one really expects much. There's other phrases that indicate that attitude, like "Maui Time," for instance, a reference point often appropriate to the speed of college students during spring break.

But I have been woefully inadequate in finding anyone who I would refer to as "summer help" in a negative sense here in Port Gamble. The summer workers must be paid well, supervised well, and held accountable to a high standard of behavior, because when I see them they are dressed well, always working, and interuptable only long enough to make sure they are friendly.

Take this mower, for instance. I'm sorry to say that I have yet to get his name, even though I have stopped him on several occasions tring to get his permission to use that machine. I've wanted to ever since I saw those machine, must be close to 10 years now.

No, he will stop, smile, turn off the engine, and let me know without saying anything the least bit bothersome, that I am not going to be running that machine while HE is responsible for it. So a couple minutes  later off he goes as always, having brightened my day and taken a short break.

I said they must be paid well. They must also have a chance to come back again next year, a chance to get a letter of reference in case there is no work here next year, and from seeing some  of them in "action", a chance to spend a few off hours with a person of the opposite sex.

Having worked one summer in college in a small town (only slightly bigger than Port Gamble), I know the influence of "being watched." It's a healthy way for kids to learn to be careful in what they say or do, knowing that if their words or actions aren't viewed properly it might make a difference in what they do in the future. And believe me, while I wasn't the "class cutup", I'm having fun trying to put some of them on the spot. It's a game we play. It's fun and it works, and they stick to their jobs like only "summer help" can in a place like Port Gamble.

I'm also amazed by how many of those "summer help kids" are now balding, full time, and still working as hard as ever to make the most of this place. One in particular (who is not balding) was very active in the crew that moved a "disheveled stable" into a "beautiful quilt store" and in the many days I watched, not once did she take advantage of being a woman to do less work. I hope to corner her in the next day or two to get her story.

One other item. Yes, I am back on the "job." (This is a "job"? Wow! I didn't even know there was a pay day.) I took a little time off to work on getting my meds to respond to me instead of me having to respond to them. I'm back and will try to add posts a couple of days a week. This place is crawling with things to talk about, a whole different perspective on life on the planet earth.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fantastic costumes!!!