I am shirtlessly lifting blocks of wood around. Sweat drips from everywhere. My finally visible six pack glistens in the sun. Factor 30 has got me covered. I am not getting skin cancer today.
Steel buckets pull against my biceps. I am wearing shorts. Not too short. Below the knee. My leg hair is on display. Contrary to what I recently learned is expected within my social circles, I have not shaved beneath my arms. Ever.
Power tools are scattered at my feet. I don't know how to use any of them, but to onlookers it seems like I do. I pick up screws every so often. I carefully observe them, hold them close to my face and narrow my eyes. Like I am not out of place.
My facial expression is unwaveringly serious. This is not an appropriate time or place for joking around. Unless it's at the expense of women. I'm not comfortable with that. And the mention of women might lead to the other guys discussing their relationships. I don't want to hear about these other guys' relationships. So I don't make jokes.
I hold something while another guy uses a drill to screw it in place. This object is heavy. My peers respect my ability to hold it up. Even if they're capable of doing it too. Blood vessels are prominent along my arms. Probably because of dehydration.
I feel awkward when I'm not holding anything. There is a piece of wood at my feet. I pick it up. Splinter in my finger. Shit. I ask for a plaster. They have none. While they eat lunch I go to buy some. I've never had to buy these and don't even know where to go. I find them in a shop where everything costs €2. The only ones they've got are pink and have Hello Kitty all over them. My finger is bleeding profusely. I buy the pink plasters.
As I approach the other adult males they are laughing but stop before I get there. Are you ok man? We get back to work.
I continue to lift things around but not use the power tools. As my arms grow tired I feel more emasculated. I'm holding things all weird because it feels strange touching things with my plastered finger. For some reason my body won't let me use it. That finger is sticking out while all my others work like they should. The other guys all keep looking at me.
We finish. Everyone pats me on the back for doing a good job. Nobody else gets a pat on the back. I am the mentally-challenged kid that the other kids use to feel good about themselves by not bullying.