In the waiting room at the doctor's office yesterday. Two men, casual acquaintances meeting there by chance, talking shop, which means either laying carpet or hanging sheetrock, I missed the beginning of their conversation. First man is seated with his back to me and another row of waiting patients behind him and between us so I can't see him. Second man is standing. He's on the short side, round-faced, in his fifties, his brown ponytail's going gray. Wears glasses, a small ear ring, an unzipped black hooded sweatshirt over an olive green fleece pull-over and faded black jeans with long white patches of dried paint or plaster or possibly glue running from his knees to his cuffs. His black workboots are splotched and spotted with whatever it is streaking his pant legs. He keeps one hand half tucked into his pants pocket. His other hand is always at work, rubbing his cheeks, his chin, the back of his neck, smoothing back his hair from his high forehead.
First man: Want me to say something? Put your name in? You're available, I know we can use you. It's a big job.
Second man: Sure. Tell him. Tell him I can do three hundred yards without thinking.
First man: That much?
Second man: Sure. I used to go in, IBM would have me in, and I'd do three hundred yards in a night. Doors included.
First man: You'd get the doors in?
Second man (looking a bit sheepish): I'd get 'em done. (Reaches up under his ponytail to rub the back of his neck. Grins. His eyes light up with pride.) Looked damn good too.