I have worked an honest day today. Nowadays it is a rare day that I stay at work for what used to be my usual twelve to fifteen hours, but I have had to deal with many, many setbacks over the past six months and it is beginning to push my hours up. My son misses me though we still have our morning commute in papa's red car and I still get home in time to tuck him in.
What capped the day though was an extraordinary stretch of late night home improvement. When I arrived tonight there was a box waiting for me containing a set of door handles as part of my final push in the total eradication of tacky faux brass fixtures from the house. I could not resist and ended up doing all the doors on the first floor, hinges and all, before sitting down to copy edit my lovely bride's program notes for the Boston Symphony Orchestra's upcoming performance of Manuel de Falla's El retablo de maese Pedro, and now this.
As I was doing all this and congratulating myself on my industriousness, the image of my father suddenly came to mind. He's been dead now twenty-three years and the stretches of time that go by when I don't think of him can now be measured in days and sometimes weeks. I was suddenly hit by the realization that I had never worked so hard as when I worked alongside him as a youth. My work is intellectually and emotionally draining and I have to swallow more than my fair share of bile on an almost daily basis, yet, I have never worked as hard as I did then, waking at 4:30 am to go to the market to buy the daily supplies for our short lived experience as capitalist owners of a working man's cafeteria. We would often be there still at ten PM, cleaning up and fending off the roaches. He never complained that I remember, he never faltered. I am a cocky son of a bitch, I always feel that no matter what I have my education and experience to fall back on and will always be able to provide for my family, no matter what comes. But what was it like for him? Not knowing whether he would be able to make ends meet. What does that feel like?
I wish I could ask him, I do miss him so