Many things strike me since two months past. As a man used to working alone much of the time and then too on his own in a crowd and with a crowd of men in communal workshops of shared space for long and short periods, I enjoy both with and without the crowd. Working alone for long periods on end I might see things differently to others, perhaps even with a somewhat skewed view of things. It has never really been singularly normal for me to go to an office or a factory setting Not normal for me to even wear a suit or formal dressing and then again dressing casually for indoor office work. I have always avoided such situations. Felt compromised. Taking an elevator to some high floor to join the type of team that sends texts and emails to communicate rather than passing a tool or holding some wood was as distant to me as the proverbial flying to the moon. I have never really ‘dressed up‘ or ‘dressed down‘; and I am thinking slash-cut, stonewashed clothing here, for work, nor have I showered in putting on the image I needed be in with any peers in order to go to work. My showers came mostly after work when I was, well, dirty or sweaty from the work I did–often both. I don’t say any of this to be discriminatory, just to point out the different worlds and that’s all. I know many would like what I have had but had little if any choice. My writing too never came from formal education but from an innate desire to communicate my feelings, thoughts and reasonings to others. So what I do isn’t based on any job I did or was trained for but from a desire to do my own expression of what life means to me. Why, I even coined the term ‘Lifestyle woodworker!’, if you will. That’s because I made the life I wanted to live as much as possible. You know, saw a path less traveled, if you like. One designed along a way that would make me fulfilled. It has. I think still that this is how those who went before me answered their vocational calling. Not something any job coach or teacher doing work advisory for pupils uses or thinks important anymore.
And then too I joined up the two words ‘knife‘ and ‘wall‘ to create the very sp[ecific term ‘knifewall‘ because, well, I used to use it all the time in my classes and to communicate it to my co-worker juniors too. Before I said it for the first time, it hadn’t existed. I say this because, well, men are getting a taste of what I have always experienced throughout my work-life pretty much, which is working from my own sphere of creativity and also from or very near to my home.
In my carefully crafted world, I always found each and every one of my children hovering somewhere near to in the background of a workbench. They each grew up with a spokeshave in place of a rattle and wood shavings between their toes. In the epidemic we have been working through these past two months there are many who grieve the loss of going to work, I have identified that in a previous blog post because many such things have become a new reality for many, but then there are those who are just enjoying themselves and having a ball working in the garage workshop with their kids. The pandemic has not at all been all doom and gloom, you see. It has been a very sad period for many. I know we each of us feel the grief in loss when even someone we never knew passes away as a result of the coronavirus.
This week I was truly blessed to see dads at home, in the gardens, walking out with their kids and then too doing a wide range of things with their kids that I just NEVER saw so very much of before; they were finding new ways of just being dads! It has been the loveliest thing for me to see a young father outside in the carpark (parking lot USA) walking briskly behind a three-year-old scooting along on a two-wheeler bike learning how to ride it.
Two days ago a family in the garden around the corner from me was busy digging out the whole front garden out with spades, forks, picks and shovels to establish a brand new look — a father and son easing their way through the day in companionable spirit as it is supposed to be. This pandemic seems to have brought the fathers home like nothing else ever did. Relationships are deepening as peer ties seem to somehow evaporate and people across all ages are coming together as seldom seen in our personal histories.
There are remarkable things happening, but I do hope that Britain doesn’t get totally back on its former self-collision course to re-establish itself as seemingly thoughtlessly. Remember too that all of the forecasts about the disaster Brexit would have on Britain never came true. It didn’t happen! Something a million times bigger brought all countries to their knees and not one of these prophets of doom predicted it. The media, the politicians, the economists all have to pick themselves up off the floor because once more it’s the people on the streets that are doing the leg work to pull the world together as best they can. People matter and they vote with their feet!
So it has been nice seeing the dads at home with their children and in deepening relations as it should be. We have to work at making it happen a thousand times more, but, you know what? This just might happen!