Basking in the warmth of an afternoon sunset at the end of a long day at work is almost always an amazing feeling. Marinating in the various shades of pink orange and blue with lavender hues against your skin sitting on a rooftop like something straight out of a picturesque movie ending can only be explained with experience.
Roofers find joy in subtle moments like these at the completion of a project.
Where are the origins of this unique appreciation for elevated work environments and the risk of life and limb at the slightest loss of footing? Perhaps the initial seed of desire was germinated at an early age, delinquently playing upon the rooftop of the family home.
Perhaps it was an act of desperation in need of a payroll to meet mandatorily imposed stipulations of an ugly divorce decree or conditions or parole.
Whatever the reason a roofers journey is saturated with bruises and the occasional smashed fingertip hammers love to remind us of our soft exterior and skeletal interior it seems.
Ask any roofer about near death and apprentice to journeyman alike will almost rhythmically begin unraveling a tale or two of slipping off a latter, dangling from a ledge or dodging a misfired nail gun. With each explanation, I tend to notice a unique giggle and smile similar you that look you see on a skydivers face as they gleefully elaborate about cheating death.
Am I suggesting that you pay full homage, take the day off BBQ hotdogs, chicken and watermelon between June 3rd and June 9th (National Roofing Week), ...meh, I dare to dream.
Understandably that is not going to happen. What would be great to see though is a little less stigma during show and tell. Put a roofer next to an app developer in front of a class of iPad wielding children and an hour in he (or she) may get one question.
What does all this mean? It means the life of a roofer comes with a heavy burden. Carrying sheets of clay, asphalt, and tar is just the physical part of the job.
Roofers have a thankless job that requires they risk their lives daily to protect families and business. A position driven by the concerns of a parent who would pay hand over foot to ensure that water doesn’t leak on their child at night. A lifestyle that helps commercial landlords provide a safe place for their tenants to do business.
One of the most interesting things I have ever heard a journeyman roofer say was “a secure roof is like freedom, you never notice how beautiful it is until it’s gone.”
Of course, there is a stark contrast between losing your freedom and losing your roof, but in that very moment, Cicero had superimposed himself before my very eyes.
Whatever your socio-economic environment is, it is always a good idea to know someone in the roofing profession. You may not go fishing or sit down and break bread with them on a regular basis. But whatever level of engagement you have with a comrade in the roofing industry it is sure to blossom into jewels of experiential wisdom and advice.