Friday, April 11, 2008
On the corner of the bustling shopping center, already known and frequented by the local community, an ambitious construction project is underway. A flimsy chain link fence surrounds the dusty site, the worn woven metal providing little more than a psychological barrier between the concrete shopping center and this budding new project. There is a big gap in the fence, making it easy for the workers to enter and exit, but also leaving it accessible to any member of the public to enter the restricted zone. The enclosed area is large, big enough to contain the planned 5000 square foot store that will sit here in the near future. The ground is made of dirt and the 12 inch boot imprints of construction workers poke the dusty surface. A small handful of construction workers are present, each looking identical in their uniform of blue jeans, white sweatshirts, tan boots and white hardhats. Construction has just recently begun, only a dozen metal beams have been put in place to create the foundation of the building, and three steel beams, almost four hundred feet tall stand vertically. Despite the size of the proposed project, there is a quiet calm within the construction site, like the relaxed mood of a warm Sunday afternoon. The small group of men work efficiently with the instilled knowledge of their craft. They move confidently and smoothly, knowing all the necessary steps needed to complete the project. Hardly a sound moves through the construction zone, communication is exchanged psychically or through eye contact when needed, but this is rare; every man knows his role and performs each small task with an effortless ease. Four of them are working on raising a metal frame, the dark metallic frame looks purple in the sunlight and the huge square piece of welded steel rises vertically into the air, forming the skeleton of the new building. With only a couple men, they manage to lift a thousand tone of metal, there are no cranes or mechanized machines in sight. A construction worker every so often descends from the top of the highest metal beam. His toes are tucked into a groove in the small metal beam and he slides down to the earth slowly, like Dracula with his arms crossed at his chest and still wearing a hardhat.