Wor(l)d Building

"Nice jacket!" grey-bearded, hard-hatted Construction Worker Elder hooted into the wake of air left by the woman who had just about finished flowing by on Rice Howard Way.

His verbal spasm was delivered with the stress on jacket, and was aimed not as much at the woman (she was pretty much out of hearing range) as at sunglassed, hard-hatted Construction Worker Younger,  who was standing next to him in line at the Fat Franks gourmet hotdog cart.

Heavy lifting
His remark was in reply to Younger's question.

"What do you say now?" he had asked his wizened workmate. "We can't even say much anymore!"

By this curious lament (his stresses were on now and anymore) Younger was presumably testifying to the uncomfortable presence inside him of some kind of cultural governor, some piece of internal argument that inhibited what came naturally to a construction worker set a-sizzle by the presence of downtown beauty.

Things like, and worse than…well, you may know the gross soundtrack.

No, what happened here was what didn't happen here. She was not propositioned, she was not rated out loud, she was not reduced in language. Someone somewhere had gotten into Younger's head and told him that that doesn't happen anymore.

And he was a bit, frankly, bewildered by it.

Bewildered enough to have jokingly asked: "What do you say now? We can't even say much anymore!"

Not to worry, said Construction Worker Elder, guiding his young colleague, showing him the wisdom of his years.

"Nice jacket!" he said out loud, sort of.

Laughter all round, sort of.

"Here are your smokies, gentlemen," said the Fat Franks guy.


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