Well, actually it was also a green and red day too, but it started out blue.
I rarely wake before the sun. When I did long ago I fell right back to sleep the second we pulled out of the driveway. I was 15 minutes late on this blue morning (technically 13 I was told), half expecting him to have left without me, but I was happy to see the lights still on and his car in the driveway as I pulled up at 4:43 AM for a day of reportage. It’s hard to draw the demeanor of a man that has had the same early morning routine for over three decades, even if you have known him your entire life and were direct witness (and interruptor) to this routine for over a third of that time. Everything I know about work, and working—and a good deal more for that matter—was bestowed upon me by this singular person. We’ve had our share of conversations about the subject over the years (he’s still waiting for me to “get a job”) but none of them forced, none of them a lecture. The conversations have always been more a recap. Kind of critique-like—where the day went off, how it could have been done differently, better, more efficiently. Not faster, more efficient. Have you ever observed someone and didn’t think much of what they were doing only to realize in a short time so much had been accomplished? That is efficiency. That is what happened on this day. in a short time my father went from blue, to green, to red. I shadowed his work as I did mine. And while I didn’t drink coffee way back when I was working with him I do now in times of need. At 7 AM, three hours into my day and no passenger seat nap or coffee to have been had, I feared 3 PM would be painful to reach. But as I chased him around the shop, trying my best to be as efficient as he was, the clock spun around and the day moved on. No sooner had the ink dried on my paper when I found him off prepping the next job. Once, maybe twice, I caught him smile as I put my pen and ink down to start a drawing of him mounting a plate and he lifted his head, turned off his light, and walked back to the press. I imagined him to say, “you couldn’t keep up then, you can’t keep up now.” The day passed without pain, in fact I wish it had been longer. And though we didn’t ride home together, I certainly got my lesson in efficiency.—Dominick