He soon found out that there are many different tricks and methods to maintaining proper body heat and comfort, (it is true what they say about dressing in layers.) In the long hot summer months it was easy, almost always the shorts that nobody cared about, a tee shirt worn inside out and a pair of old skateboarding sneakers. The weather was always too hot to wear anything else. By eight am he found himself sweating, and rather than exchange clothing for something dry it was easier to just let it all soak in with sweat. The soaking of perspiration seemed to add to the cooling effect when taking breaks at ten, twelve and three. In the summer months he never wore gloves, but rather dug his hands into the materials in hopes building natural calluses which paid off in the long run when it came to construction, but dulled the fine sense of feel that most are accustomed to. Little things like extracting dust boogers from the nose became an almost impossible feat because he lacked any real sense of feeling. He once described it as “a sensation that your hands are completely covered with band aids.”
In the beginning he was painting a lot and took to wearing his shirts inside out in thoughtful effort to keep them clean, but soon found out what a great discomfort it was to wear the shirts right-side out when covered with paint (there were many rashes involved until finally he had given up all together in trying to salvage his clothes in order to look nice for others.)
Later he found a Goodwill store in Maple Valley (where a childhood friend lived) and when visiting his friend he would purchase ten or so tee shirts for 99 cents a pop and his tee shirt problem was forever solved.
Shoes were a different story, making the mistake of wearing both his good sneakers on different days and ruining them both, he was left to wear only a nice pair of dress shoes when out and about on the town. Soon all of his shoes, (dress shoes included) stunk of death and sweat. Finally he broke down and bought a new pair of highly fashionable white sneakers on sale at an alternative sports store, along with an old pair of work boots from a thrift store. The work boots were a necessity on rainy days where the old sneakers just seemed to invite trench foot by absorbing up whole mud puddles much like a piece of bread does gravy.
All his white socks turned brown so he switched to black socks only, and when looking in mirrors while wearing boxers he thought that this must be how a business man would look in a hotel room far-far away from home.
As the sun started setting earlier and earlier and the cold started breathing its way down north there was much needed change to his wardrobe which took a lot of trial and error but eventually became ritualistic.
The pants were always levies, mainly because he had so many pairs which he never wore, but more so because he couldn’t stand the unnatural rigidness (or cost) of the other chosen brands like Dickies and Carharts worn by his construction co-workers. He found that the levies worked best with a pair of flannel pajamas given to him by his mother as a Christmas gift a year earlier. And wearing these pajamas underneath the thick skin of his levies made him feel like he was putting good use to an otherwise unusable gift (he was never a pajama man, choosing to wear pants until going to sleep, then boxers. If he was sleeping with a woman he some how managed never to take off his boxers when having sex, but rather pulled them down to his thighs.)
Never wanting to wear jackets because of their restrictive behavior when swinging a hammer, he discovered that hooded sweatshirts suited best. When the weather got even colder he simply put on more tee shirts underneath and when needed, he wore a long sleeved Nike dry fit which he chanced upon while shopping at a suburban Wal-Mart. He remembered how well the thin layered Dry fits pulled the sweat out and kept him warm when playing soccer matches. He also liked the protective quality the shirt had when acting like a sheath and arresting any chapping that might occur from the shoulder straps on his tool bags.
In the winter, gloves were a must. Not ski gloves, leather gloves or thin isatoners, but the kind gloves gardeners wore. The cotton outsides added flexibility and warmth while the gummy rubber insides added grip when holding frosty boards and frozen metal objects. After about a month of wearing gloves his calluses disappeared and he was able to do things like masturbate again or feel his girlfriend’s nipples growing erect against his fingertips.
In the coldest and most dreadful of weather he wore fleece head bands around his neck, a stocking cap on his head and wool socks inside his work boots. If it was snowing outside he spent the night before drinking rum and called in sick the following day.
He really wasn’t calling in sick, but he would have if the boss hadn’t already given the crew the day off. The boss was perhaps most interested in profit and there is nothing profitable about sending a bunch of young men (who would most likely move at a sluggish pace) out walking high above the earth on slick snow covered trusses only to risk falling to sever injury or even death.
All these things made him appreciate life, the little things like clean clothes, warm blankets, his girlfriends body heat pressed up against his chest, crotch and thighs when the world out there, outside of his home, was moving faster and faster, busy like a worker bee... building and consuming all the things that he would probably never own.