There are builders in my flat. Despite their apologies for waking me up, and the way they cautiously introduced themselves, I was completely expecting them. Frankly it would be just rude of them not to come and replace my door when they’ve been replacing all the doors in the building for a week now.
I don’t mind the drilling. I don’t mind the hammering. I don’t mind the seeming nonchalance with which they rip the door frame out without a blow-by-blow account of what they’re doing and who actually asked them to do it in the first place, especially when there’s so much more in the building that needs attention.
No, I mind that when I switch the kettle on, I suddenly feel compulsion to offer them a “cuppa” or something, despite not feeling the compulsion to offer them a wash when I took a shower. It’s just polite, right? It’s a barrier-crossing British good natured tradition.
Except I haven’t spoken to them enough to know if they’re British or not. I haven’t spent enough time in the communal areas with them to see if they’ve brought their own kettle or flasks- I mean, who am I to force my tea upon them? Who am I to assume that they’re so under-equipped or ill-prepared that they don’t have their own access to theanine?
The cultural gulf between myself and builder is not a knee jerk reaction, these are skilled tradesmen and I’m… well I’m sitting in a comic book t-shirt writing a blog with no socks on. Yet the cultural gulf provided by our differing tastes in tea (not to mention the cost per bag of any errors) is somewhat terrifying.
So is any other assumed cultural difference. I swear that yesterday they had a radio they were belting out inaccurate vocals to over the sounds of their drills. Today they have nothing, yet occasionally break into whatever tune they are carrying. Have they silenced the radio on my behalf, and should I do the same? How easy is it to fit a door while being forced to listen to Powerwolf’s “Resurrection By Erection”? Maybe some tongue-in-cheek power metal will bond us in the short time we have together. Maybe not.
Ultimately I think I’m only writing this so they hear me tapping away and don’t start assuming I don’t do anything with my Tuesday mornings.