For Chris Mathis, and our teenage business, at one point, 34 yards under our care, and an orange Fiat to get us there.
It's easy to think the Latino landscapers you see in the office park as almost robots, the amazing efficiency with which they cut, edge, blow, almost like they left a sign saying, "The Mexican Army fue aqui, was here."
Except of course if you've worked with them at all, for real, which I have been fortunate enough to do for the last six of nine days, and then you see them as very much not robots, but people just like everyone eles, and of course somewhat different as to being from foreign countries, if not everyone who does landscaping is Latino at all.
First of all, as to the funny nature of life, even among the Latinons, they aren't all Mexican, as many of the folks I've been getting to know happened to be from Guatemala.
"De donde es, de Mejico."
"No, de Guatemale, o Honduras."
"Guatemale Ciudad, o Tegucigalpa?"
Like today with "Tonio," all of five foot four, but running with the wheelbarrow with me, almost pulling me, with "mash," like sand, but heavier, so the doggies at the apartment complex could run more freely on their walkway to ... well, do what doggies do in the "dog park."
Tonio likes to speak in, and learn, English, like most of the Latinos I met, if like Alex said, it's harder if they start learning later in life, if he thought it funny the sign said, one he read carefully out loud, Please clean up after your pet. (There were no cats in the dog park btw.)
"Why they not say "clean up your dog's sh---?"
Ah, the idioms of English, like him asking, "Is it correcto to say, "We making maintenance?"
"Se dice, nosotros somos maintenance." It's said we are maintenance," although if you understand Spanish, you will understand why he thought it made sense to say it that way, as to the limitations of translation, and the small pleasures in life as to its complexity too. That was a nice ESL class today in the dog park, if a long day shoveling too.
One day was the almost all black crew of Parkside, cool people like Big Derek, "Yo man, we a team. We stick together, as a team, we be alright." Derek who had a shirt that was important as a reminder every day now:
"God gave you 86, 400 seconds: Have you used one of them to say thank you?"
Funny the things, or places, you can learn a lot from, if you try to see it in its own terms.
It was also a privilege to be the "White Crew" one day, Dennis Brother of the Owner and Alec Jones Flag In Front Yard Man, and Joe the Mason "This is humbling to cut grass," of he liked it too, and James the Country Boy who travels to Colorodo. That come what may I will remember very well, and also the Sims with one m brothers, like Derek and Jordan minus an m, and curiously right across the street from the gym of John Coffee, who I hadn't seen in twenty years.
Small world, if another story.
As to the note about the Mexicans, work a day with Alex, the Mexican Landscaping Super Hero, knocking out houses, office parks, and you'll see how well-conditioned you are, if I held up my end, pretty much: the blower is an acquired skill, and a hard earned one, as its a lot of walking, back and forth, back and forth.
It's a nice feeling at the end of the day that started at eight and ended at eight to see an office park that's flawless, just you and Alex, or the Church, or even the house, if you're with good people, which I've been lucky enough to to thanks to Mark and Dennis Sims, one m, not two.
But that's a neat thing about America, how you can find, thanks to the Massey'sand especially Wayne, most especially Wayne Higginbotham, some work to do that if it's hard work, is also fun in its tangibility, and along the way meet some really good people, and in the future never have, if I didn't think that, the illusion that the Latino landscapers are robots, because they're not, but just folks like the rest of us, if ones figuring out their place in America, if we of course do that too.