Possibly the thing I like most about construction school is the rigid certainty of geometry. The math is pure; the numbers add up. After years of writing, noodling with subjective words and fickle fiction, it’s nice to tangle with right angles and right answers.
But that was not the case today.
Today, Polly and I had to make up two tests that we missed because we joined the class mid-trimester. One test was on Employability Skills, the other on Communication Skills. Having been employed for the better part of my life–in the communications field, no less–I dared to think I might excel in these two units. Or at least outperform my dismal work on the rigging exam.
But the questions relating to employability skills and communication skills turned out to be more existential then quantitative. For example:
“What substance is considered socially acceptable when used in moderation?”
I was pretty confident the answer was not C) Methamphetamine.
But from there, I became less certain. Depending on where you live, maybe A) Marijuana is socially acceptable. If you live at my house, B) Alcohol is not just socially acceptable, it is encouraged. And if the prevailing chitchat at a recent holiday party–where everyone had something to say on the topic of opioid constipation–is any indication, then I’d say D) Prescription Meds are plenty socially acceptable in this climate.
Unfortunately, only one of the multiple choice answers was correct, and I’m not telling you if I got it right.
But I will confess to missing this question:
“What is an important practice to avoid errors in writing that can cost time and money?”
In ten weeks of construction school tests, this was the first question about writing–the field to which I have dedicated my adult life–and I got it wrong. I answered C) Mastering composition. The answer was D) Accuracy.
Is accuracy a practice?
The final perplexor had to do with people working together to complete a task. Polly and I were both certain we knew the answer. One of us insisted Collaboration; the other, equally dogmatic, said Teamwork.
(Teamwork is different from collaboration? Who knew?)
We still don’t know who circled the correct answer, but the rest of the day–which we spent building and dismantling a roof system of hip and valley rafters–Polly and I debated the finer points of teamwork versus collaboration. One thing is for certain: construction requires both.