Saturday, January 19, 2008

Thankfully, I Never Once Said "Yee-haw!"

"Call me idle only when my hands are such. Give me something to swing, sir, and you will never think me lazy."
~Andrew Schnorr

So, here's a picture of me from this past Thursday.

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Ah, that Andrew. He doesn't wear clothes, he wears costumes." Ahem. Actually, these were the clothes I was wearing for the day, because that Thursday was the most labor-intensive day of the training week: the service project day.

Now, during the Spring Training of RAs, we always do a little community service project. Y'know, to show that we care. Last year, we had gone to this homeless village (that is to say, a village where homeless people could live and work). Once there, however, we split up into little groups. I was part of a group putting up a greenhouse. One of the aspects of that job was to break up big rocks into little rocks so as to fill some trenches or something.

Long story short, I was one of three guys in charge of breaking rocks (no points if you guessed that it was the three largest guys). The other two had crowbars, and I had the almighty sledgehammer. I tell you, it was intense work, and I enjoyed every minute of it. It made me almost wish that I was in prison (in the 20s, when the chain gangs were used for more than just license plate printing).

What does that have to do with this year? Well, there was a wide variety of options of places to go to this time around. The majority of them were simple gardening trips, there was a theatre that needed to be painted. The one I chose, though, was a park restoration. Why? Because it was "Mortar Rock Park." My logic was that because there was "rock" in the name of the park, there may have been some rocks that needed crushing.

As it turns out, I did get to crush some rocks, albeit accidentally. (Crushing rocks at a rock park known for its rocks is generally considered a bad idea). However, there was more to it than that. This park had become neglected, and so had been overrun with ivy and other invasive plants. While most of the above-ground ivy had been removed, there were plenty of roots that had to be taken out.

And that's where we came in.

We had a variety of tools at our disposals, from spades to shovels to pitchforks. However, none of those caught my fancy. Too mundane, too...passive. No, the tool I wanted was the pickax. Think about it: it was the closest to a sledgehammer that they had, and it matched my outfit. (Now, most of my outfit was practical; jeans to keep my legs protected, an unimportant white shirt to get dirty, and a hat to protect my head and neck from the evil rays of the sun. The suspenders, though? Purely stylistic. They just kind of complete the look, I think.)

Oh, and you better believe I used that pickax. If you know me as some gentle soul who wouldn't hurt a fly (because why wouldn't you), then you would be taken aback. Give me a tool to swing, and a target to destroy, and I am a machine! A monster! And I love doing it.

Now, of course, pulling up ivy roots wasn't the only thing I did. I also pulled up trees! Small trees, but trees with pretty deep roots. We used this little wrench-like grip to get a hold of the trunk and then it was just heave-ho from me. There were a few trees that needed to go. The most annoying of the bunch was this little sucker that, after we dug around it, we found that a nearby, larger tree's roots hadgrown around its own. Basically, the large tree was hugging the the roots (I'm not even going to try to turn that into innuendo). So, what's a guy to do? Well, I put my goggles on for protection, take up my pickax, and hack that sucker until I realize that the larger root branch is over twice as thick as originally thought. And with the angle I had, it just wasn't happening. Had I a normal ax, tough, it may have been a different situation all together).

There were some funny moments in the day. For example, before we found out about the underground root hoochie-coochie, I was simply trying to pry the tree out with my bare (and by "bare", I mean "gloved") hands, using the large tree nearby for support. However, the only good position I had was so that the large tree and I were...intimate? I suppose for the unknowing eye, it looked like there was some above-ground hoochie-coochie as well.

Then, at the end of the day, I was the last person to walk back to the little base camp (e.g. table with snacks). However, it was apparently perfect. I had my hat on and my pickax propped on my shoulder, and I was walking around the corner from this large rock wall with the sun setting at my back. From what I was told, it looked like I just came out of some romanticized Western.

(There should be pictures of both those things, and more. If I ever get a hold of them, I'll post them up.)

The funniest thing was that I kept on saying to my fellow workers, "Oh, we're going to be sore tomorrow." However, I managed to work on a program that very night and woke up the next morning without a sore muscle in my body. I'm not sure if it was because of my recent excercise, but it felt good to not be walking around like a wind-up tin man.

Anyway, I guess the point of this is...I like to destroy things by swinging.

(Oh, and on a completely unrelated note, I think that when I'm wearing my goggles with that outfit, I look like I could be a Coen Brothers character. What do you think?)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great story. Knew you had it in you Andrew!

I've got some "chores" for you the next time you are back at the "homestead".