"Hawaii ain't the United States!" the man proclaimed vehemently. "You might as well say Cuba was the United States."
"Hawaii ain't Wisconsin," a soft-spoken man said.
"Cuba used to be in the United States," one angry man interjected.
"They have sugar cane there," the soft-spoken one volunteered.
"Kennedy, ya know." the angry man continued.
"Who?" said the first man, who apparently hadn't been following the thread.
"Kennedy!" shot back the angry man.
They left the bathroom, continuing to argue as I sat in the stall wondering if I should get up and go to the shop again. The temperature had dipped below zero outside, and the bathroom was a busy place. As the only place where most of us could legitimately loiter for a while to warm up, we made use of it when and how we could.
Standing up and opening the stall door, I only made a few steps before I was stopped in my tracks by what seemed an apparition. My astonished look was answered by a cool stare from human eyes - eyes set in a silver hulk of rags. In only a few seconds I managed to make out a man who had been spray painting a compartment of the ship. He was protected about the eyes and nose from the silver paint, thus somewhat flesh-colored in that area only. Otherwise he was defined by masking tape, shredded overalls, some sort of beanie, bulky gloves and boots - why, I wondered, would anyone subject themselves to that?
I soon learned that there were classes of tradesmen, and painters were at the bottom. I was a welder, and our lot was quickly loosing status due to the liberal hiring the company was doing. Outcasts from other means of support, we were turning to the free training and high wages offered by the shipyard. We were known to be softer, as well - not used to the cold, easily upset over burns and smashed fingers. Of that group, I was one of the softer ones.