Tricky those plasterers (They spring their presence on you at the last moment...)

This evening the plasterer finally showed up (only 7 days late) to let me know that they're starting work on the apartment tomorrow... which is to say the day I'm having people over (finally, after skipping it last week in anticipation of the apartment not yet having recovered from their work).

So, it'll be a bit of a construction party. If I had more time I'd get some work lights and tarpaulins to drape over everything for a more authentic look. Some of the best talks happen in a half-finished building full of hope and promise, with the faint hint of toxic fumes and sawdust reminding you of the fragility of life.

You sit in the stark emptyness, your body exhausted from a long day of honest labour, resting up against a wall and relishing the comfort of not moving. Conversation turns to dreams of the future or anecdotes from the past, and your workmates are just that, people with whom you've accomplished something physical and tangible.

Too tired to get up and go home, you sprawl out on the drop cloths, arms behind your head, watching the stark shadows of the worklights through the ladders and scaffolding. The complex intersecting patterns play against each other, obscuring their sources. You stare into the brilliant cross-hatching and vaguely remember the jungle. You slowly work your way through some cheap sweets brought along as a snack, chatting about the rise of man and his resulting pursuit of women.

Eventually you realise you are famished and decide to head out for dinner. There's always a little greasy spoon nearby, cheap, hearty food and conversation that drifts back to review the day's work, maybe planning next week's phase of the project. Eventually you head back to the site and pack up all the tools.

As you walk out the door you turn off that last light. The scaffolds and ladders take on a darker aspect. The shadows of the work-lights are replaced by moonlight. You realise how foreign and scary the shapes would be, but you remember the hope and promise. You know what this space will become, and the crouching tigers in the shadows are your friends, waiting for you to return to them.

Of course, the Toronto version is just to throw some drop-clothes over the furniture and set up a few work-lights to cast pretty shadows on the walls.


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