Plumbers, electricians, contractors, lawn maintenance workers, tree trimmers, flooring installers.....etc.
They have all been men. They have all been ordinary, blue-collar, working class men with calloused hands, manly banter and gruff exteriors.
However..they are a very chatty bunch!
Maybe I give off the air of sister/wife/mother/generic female stand-in...but I am always surprised by the things they talk to me about while they are working and the openness with which they speak. I don't know if there's something about me that draws them out, or if the stereotype of silent, unemotional men is simply untrue.
They tell me about their divorces, about their wallets getting stolen but how it's no big deal because their credit cards are maxed out anyway and they can't make the minimum payments, about their plans for retirement, about their wives, about their health scares, about the towns that they grew up in and what brought them to Florida.
It's quite strange how completely honest and talkative they are.
Maybe it's the nature of their jobs. Not only are they practicing a trade, but they are required to constantly interact with people, going from home to home and trying to please their customers. They're probably used to the forced intimacy of working in their client's private spaces, surrounded by the tokens and photos of family life that fill most homes.
It's also been heart-warming to see how many of these guys work in close partnership with a "buddy" of some sort. Father and son, cousins, brothers, lifelong friends...they seem to come in deeply bonded pairs.
I don't know that I have noticed a correspondence in the women I know. I can't think of any common, similar working partnerships that are as prevalent among women.
I don't know what it means...but it's interesting.