I like to stay up late at night, watching movies, reading, or whatever. Why not? I don’t have to get up in the morning anymore. I’m retired. So, to get the 8-9 hours of sleep that I require, I usually sleep until noon. This week put a serious crimp in my style. The new landlord is making the repairs, which were neglected by the previous owner. This week he replaced the roof.
A crew of Amish workers showed up at daybreak and needed to go through my apartment to bring ladders, tools, and supplies into the backyard. So, I was up at 7 a.m. all week. I then proceeded to go back to bed, but it was almost impossible with all the hammering noises they were making. Still, I tried, and I did manage to doze off occasionally. Eventually, I just had to get up. All these Amish guys were swarming all over the house like bees in a hive removing the old roof and installing the new one. Except one guy. Duane was more or less just directing traffic, so I thought he was the boss.
I was wrong. One of the hardworking Amish guys was the boss. Duane drove the truck and made phone calls. That was his job. The Amish don’t drive trucks. When they have to go to town, they just hook up the horse and buggy. So, for big construction projects, where a truck is a necessity, they hire a non-Amish guy to drive the truck.
It reminded me of many years ago when I worked as a manager at Miriam’s Stationary and Book Store on the Amtrak level in Penn Station. My boss, Moishe, was an Orthodox Jew and forbidden to work or run a business on the Sabbath. The Sabbath, however, was the busiest day in Penn Station. So, he worked out a deal with his Rabbi. He owned and operated the store six days a week. Then, come sundown Friday, until sundown Saturday, I magically became the “owner.” I couldn’t do outrageous things like sell the business, but I did have all the other privileges of an owner. Best of all, I had no supervision, as Moishe had to stay away from the business for those 24 hours.
My friends and I had a great time. Most of them commuted to work by the Long Island Railroad, one level below the Amtrak level in Penn Station. So, after work on Friday they would come to the store. We cranked up the music in the store and we would rock the place. Plus, I always had plenty of beer in the refrigerator in my office. My friends and I enjoyed our own private happy hour before they hopped on the Long Island Railroad to go home for the weekend.
It worked for us, because it worked for everyone. Since the store was predominately a book store, our biggest customers were Amtrak riders who wanted to pick up a book to read on the train. Normally, they would hang out in the store for a long time, like it was a library, browsing the books until it was time for their train. The large volume of browsers made it possible for the “boosters” who worked the area to easily steal books. On Friday night, though, the music was so loud that it was not conducive to browsing. People would come in, quickly buy a book, and head to the relative quiet of the Amtrak waiting room to begin reading it. Business was brisk, but there wasn’t a big crowd in the store, so the boosters couldn’t hide in a crowd. So, business was up, theft was down, and good times were had by all.
It took the Amish roofers four days to complete the new roof, and now things are finally back to normal around here, and I can sleep until noon again. Ahhh! To sleep, perchance to dream of all the fun we had in Penn Station when the real boss was away, and the understudy took the stage.
Peace & Love, and all of the above,