I’m getting used to my new job as a builder’s mate, but am relieved it’s only for a few months. I like my morning latte at McDonalds, nodding to other builders who look at me with sympathy/amusement/shock. I like being a passenger in the van, bumping along the roads.
We head to Spar before work and I spend five minutes dithering between a pork pie, a Scotch egg, a grotty sausage roll or huge white-bread sandwiches for my lunch. The other day one of the assistants looked up as we entered the store and said a cheery, ‘Morning chaps!’ Huh? What is it with everyone thinking I’m a bloke?
The lovely eccentric woman we are working for right now is still calling me ‘Alan’ and it’s my new builder’s nickname, but at least it’s better than ‘Half-Shift’. Something rather disturbing happened last time I saw her though. She came upstairs holding a book out, saying, ‘I think you might enjoy this, here, take it’ and she thrust it into my hands. I turned it over. Susan Boyle’s autobiography, ‘The Woman I Was Born To Be’. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Gender-confusion to one side, I think I will enjoy myself until my proper job starts. I’m loving the fresh air, the fact that every day there is something different to do and it’s good to learn new skills. After nine weeks of working from home, it’s a blast to have company again.
MS is always hovering in the background though, like a bad fairy at a christening. One day, it could be my balance playing up, the next my hands might be tingling. We just work round it. It’s part of me, there’s nothing I can do about it, so there’s no point worrying. For now. One thing I have noticed is that my confidence is increasing, after taking a severe bashing last year. This more than makes up for the black dust up my nose, the bits of plaster in my ears and being mistaken for a man…