This afternoon we were walking and met up with a few locals who showed us some of the trails around Green Head Point — trails we would never have found on our own. The trails led down to the waterway between Deer Isle, Peggy’s Island, and Crotch Island, where the big quarries are to be found.
Based on what we’ve seen, you could probably set up a quarry wherever you wanted. Granite seems to be everywhere.
This morning we went to the Deer Isle weekly farmers’ market. In addition to stalls offering local produce, eggs, dairy products, and meats, there also are stalls offering crafts and handmade goods — like the one that sold these spoons.
As I walked by, I was struck by this pile of left-handed spoons. There was a similar pile of right-handed spoons, as well as spoons that were agnostic on the preferred hand issue. I thought it was a joke — like the old prank about telling a gullible kid that he needed to go find a left-handed screwdriver– but the earnest young woman selling the spoons made clear it was no joking matter. Getting the right spoon to match your “handedness” is extremely important, she said.
It seemed strange to me — but then the whole concept of “handedness” seems pretty strange, too. Human beings are studies in bilateral symmetry; we have two arms, legs, hands, feet, eyes, ears, and nostrils. We don’t typically think of people as having a dominant leg, or ear, or nostril — so why do so many people have a dominant hand? About 90 percent of humans are right-handed, 9 percent are left-handed, and only the remaining 1 percent are truly ambidextrous.
That means, of course, that the market for left-handed spoons is a lot smaller than the market for right-handed spoons. But why should we have a dominant hand at all?
The TV show Dirty Jobs features host Mike Rowe checking out jobs that involve difficult, hazardous, and frequently disgusting conditions — like working in a sewage processing facility. The jobs featured on that show would be a tough way to earn a living, but I’m wondering whether having a job that exposes you to noises all day wouldn’t be worse — for me, at least.
We’re having some work done to the exterior of our house, and the crew that’s doing the job is using an assortment of tools that make a wide variety of different loud noises. There’s the humming drone of the air compressor. There’s the sharp, staccato bark of the nail gun. And then there are devices that make grinding noises, devices that make sawing noises, and devices that make incredibly high-pitched whines. It’s like being in a This Is Spinal Tap dentist’s office from hell, with the volume on the amplifier turned up to 11.
For a while every day, when the crew begins their work, I think I can screen out the noise. And for a while it works. But ultimately the different sounds, occurring in different combinations, break through the mental barrier. And once that happens, all I can think about is when the nail gun is going to be sounding off again, and I’ve got to get out and go somewhere where I can find peace and quiet.
The guys who are on the crew are a good group. They work hard, know what they’re doing, and seem to enjoy having jobs where they get to work outside on sunny days and sing along to the songs on the radio while they saw and grind and nail. The noises don’t seem to bother them.
My hat’s off to them, but I couldn’t do what they’re doing. I’ve realized I really need a quiet place to work.