PG&E crews have been tearing up the streets in our ‘hood for a good five or six months now. Seems there was this federal grant that PG&E was sitting on, and even though they declared bankruptcy, the fed insisted that the work get done or the money get returned. It has been great for Ryder, as we’ve gotten to watch a lot of great construction, and play on a lot of really cool work vehicles after hours.
Walking home from a trip into town yesterday, Ryder wanted to stop and watch the crew in a hole at 18th Street & Douglass. The scene had everything our toddler could ask for: guys wearing safety vests and hard hats toting shovels and sledge hammers, a mini-excavator, and a dump truck ~ all within forty feet of each other.
We were watching the guy operate the mini-excavator – the same mini-excavator we’ve crawled all over when the guys have gone home for the day, the same mini-excavator that Ryder figured out how to honk the horn on – when he noticed Ryder intently watching him work. The guy honked and waved, and Ryder just gaped back. I leaned down, “Can you say ‘Hi’ Ryder?” He waved. The guy stopped working for a second, and asked Ryder if he wanted to sit in his lap and help him operate the excavator.
“You are kidding, right?” was my first thought, but I asked Ryder if he wanted to give it a shot. He said yeah, and up he went.
The amazing thing was the look on his face the whole time: very serious. The guy was telling Ryder what they were doing, guiding him along as they took a scoop out of the big hole and emptied it into the dump truck twice. Ryder was extremely focused (except for when one of the other guys shouted, and he turned to see what was going on) and tuned in to the moment. It was neat to see. Neat? Hell, I was giddy! More excited than he.
There are benefits to having a kid in the city with the lowest per-capita percentage of children in the United State. I think I owe that guy a six-pack.