On workmen

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When Bleach and Tonic was little, our mother was a terrible snob. We were constnatly told, over our John Lewis kitchen table, about how education had saved them from a life of drudgery.

We were informed that if we wanted a good life, we had to work hard at school. The appalling alternative would be to fail, in which case we’d shudder have to learn a trade. Perhaps we’d end up in a council house. We knew all about council houses; they were where the rough boys at our school lived. Rough boys who made our live feel much longer than we wanted it to be.

This led us, before we knew better, to simultaneously look down on tradesmen and to fear them as we feared failure and roughness

Some years on, of course, and the situation is reversed. I go to work in my poor job with an expensive laptop in a cheap messengar bag. The leather is worn and soft from all the times I’ve hauled it reluctantly to work:

It feels really comforting to touch. Sometimes on the way to work I want to bury my face in the bag and hide from the day to take some crumb of succour, but it’s a false comfort in the same way that the drudgery of work provides a false comfort against the harshness of the universe. The universe, like my life, is still out there waiting

At the moment, I am working at home because a tradesman is in the house doing a menial job which I myself am not capabable of doing.

It’s very awkward. I am working on my mac, drinking pretentious coffee and listening to ‘Let’s Get Lost’ by Chet Baker on Spotify. I look like an absolutely useless spanner.

This workman is trailing mud from outside onto my floors and I am not saying anything. From upstairs, I can hear Radio 1 xtra and, of course, I am not saying anything. A few minutes ago, I heard the toilet flush and now I can smell and appalling smell and of course, of course.

Intimiadted into silence in my own home by a richer man than me I was brought up to fear and look down on. What a weekend this is going to be

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