There is a whole lot of construction going on in my city. Everywhere you look new high rises are popping up. Supposedly this is a good economic sign, I just hope they find folks to buy all those condos.
British author Jerome K. Jerome once said he found work fascinating, and could sit and watch it for hours. As I watch some of these many buildings grow, I notice how many changes have taken place in the world of construction work. Once a bastion of males, many women now don hard hats and steel toed boots and take their place in the pit. I have noticed that construction work is now much more reliant on machinery and less on brute strength. Worker safety is also paramount.
But the one thing that I notice that has changed is the workers’ lunch box. For years a worker brought his lunch in a box designed to snugly hold a thermos in the lid and a couple of sandwiches and perhaps a snack in the main compartment. The construction workers today carry what we used to call picnic coolers. Big enough to lug to the beach for a day’s refreshment. What do they have in there?
I know that physical labour gives one an appetite, but that is not new. When I worked as a student for my municipality we used to start at eight in the morning and have a break at ten. Most of us had a cup of coffee and maybe some sort of brioche or toast. But one summer there was a full-time employee, Evangelista, known to all as Vangy, who often worked with us and who was known to consume an all dressed cheeseburger everyday at morning break. He would wolf it down in two maybe three bites. In two hours he would be having lunch, but he still needed his mid-morning cheeseburger. Sadly when I returned to work the next summer I was to learn that Vangy had been hospitalized with cancer for several months. He passed away within weeks of my return. I don’t believe the cheeseburgers played any role, but it did cross my mind.
Today’s construction worker’s lunchbox is big enough to tote several cheeseburgers, and a few cans of drink. Maybe even a small table and chair. A parasol? Paradoxically, given the evidently vast amount of food they are putting away, workers on construction projects today seem to be in better physical condition that their predecessors.