Saturday, December 16, 2006

Holy Shit!

Long time, no blog. Damn, time is just slipping away. Next week is Christmas, like that means much at this point. Anyway, I'm still rattling around here at Arcosanti. The last week has been, uh, interesting. It's like as soon as I started getting paid to work (instead of paying to work here like I did for the first five weeks) about half the people turned into total pricks. I finally had all I was going to take from my "boss" and we had it out right in the middle of the workshop in front of the entire department. Now it's like he's my best friend. It's like it was some sort of initiation or something; kick the new guy in the nads and see how much shit he is willing to take. Whatever. It sounds like pretty much everyone leaves the site for Christmas, so maybe they'll come back in a better mood.

Other than that, everything seems to be plodding along. Work here proceeds at an excruciatingly slow pace. There are three apartments that could be finished by a competent construction crew in two or three days. Factor in that most of the work force here are technically students that are still learning to swing a hammer and a week or two would still be doable. Arcosanti's expected completion date? March. That's right; three months plus to accomplish a week's work. Part of the problem is that nobody here works a full day. We are supposed to be on the job at 7:30am. If everyone is there by 7:45, it's a good day. Typically, nothing meaningful happens until 8:00am. Then everyone stands around talking about what they did yesterday and what they will be doing today. By then, it's time for the half-hour morning break that takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. Now it's 10am and finally time to do actual work. Until 11:45 that is. Then it's time for Morning Meeting followed by a one-hour lunch break that normally stretches to an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half. Factor in more talking about what was done (or to be more precise, what was intended to be done if anyone ever did any real work) and call it 1:30pm when work starts for the afternoon. Then everyone is done for the day at 3:30pm. I swear I have never worked less at a job than I have worked here.

The above describes a "full day" of work. Those are few and far in between. The entire site takes a half-day off if there is an all-site party (about twice a week), if one or two people have to work through morning break or part of their lunch, if it is Friday, or if it's been a "long week" (meaning that it's Wednesday and no one has come up with an excuse to take a half day off yet this week).

Holy Shit! It's no wonder it has taken these guys 36 years to build about 5% of the place.

"Holy Shit", by the way, is now my favorite phrase because one of the Italian guys I work with says it all the time. We'll be in the workshop actually doing work, and you'll hear "Holy Shit!!" in a thick Italian accent (which is damn funny, by the way) from some corner of the shop. Everyone else starts asking what's wrong assuming he just fucked something up or cut off a finger or something. His response: "Nothing. I just really like the way that sounds." Hysterical.

I also love the way the U.S.'s weapons of cultural mass destruction express themselves here. You haven't really laughed your ass off until you've listened to a Korean ex-military guy drunk off his ass singing Abba's Dancing Queen, word-perfect, at the top of his lungs in a heavy Korean accent.

Holy Shit!


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