By Ryn Gargulinski: QCS Columnist
The air is stagnant. Hot. Preheated to at least 350. A blazing light beats down upon slightly greased metal. Everything on it begins to bake.
No, it’s not a batch of cookies in the oven. It’s just another day in the life of a roofer in New Mexico.
Although the Pillsbury Dough Boy has it bad — especially since he’s made out what will eventually become high-cholesterol white bread — the chubby chap is never actually put in the oven.
A New Mexico roofer may have it worse.
But that’s not the only job in the Land of Enchantment that lacks some enchantment.
A friend of mine, who gets gigs as a roofer, also had the pleasure of painting in the wind. It was so impossible he even wrote a poem about it — and he’s not traditionally a poet. I think the poem started lyrically with something like “This stinks” and kept repeating the “painting in the wind” phrase so the listener got the full effect of the wind beating on the brain.
The worst part of the wind painting wasn’t even the wind per se. It was being stationed downwind from a bunch of cows.
Yes, the poem mentioned the acrid smell of beastly dung and flies the size of Ohio. (I think he wanted to say flies the size of Texas but it didn’t rhyme.)
The wind also makes picking up trash in roadside ditches another job barely vied for. Especially during election season when those bright “Vote for me” signs end up in shards tangled in the weeds.
Some interesting things, however, do blow into the ditches right along the sign parts. Like a $10 bill and a cat skull. The money was ripped up from being blown apart through parts of Clovis but it was salvageable with two readable serial numbers. Kind of. And one has to wonder if that is ample reward.
Also notice that TV guy who goes around to crappy gigs all over the country — and once even cleaned out the bowels of a bus station in Queens, N.Y. — never seems to make it to New Mexico.
This is not to say every New Mexico job leaves a lot to be desired. Well, maybe in the paycheck arena as it is one of the worst-paying states in the nation.
But that’s just part of the challenge that may make it more worthwhile. Don’t ask how, it just seemed like a soothing thing to say.
But it’s not hard to round up some folks who truly enjoy their work.
Farmers and ranchers seem to be having lots of fun, especially if they have a cattle ranch full of those steers with the really cool horns.
And how can any agricultural worker hate their job at all if it even minutely involves goats?
Being a writer is also fine — in any state — but especially when penning about New Mexico. Here one can explore a fine variety of anything — without getting baked on a roof.
Ryn Gargulinski writes for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at: