...what will remain over time - Barbara, Milan

06/19/2015 - 05:00 PM

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Barbara, Open Access, Telecom Italia, is at the site in front of a new shopping centre and recalls working there with two colleagues: for one of them it was his last job.

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The appointment is for 10 am with the surveyor, at the site in front of the newly-opened Shopping Centre, but I have arrived early, so I decide to have a look at the final result: basically, the last time I was here there was nothing but bricklayers, electricians, painters and decorators and a lot of concrete. I go in through the entrance sparkling with marble, if I think that... there were no walls, nor floors, I shudder and feel a certain disorientation. I look for the pillars and the single loadbearing wall in the building, I well recall the conduits and cables laid that freezing morning in early December. We were in a hurry because the Shopping Centre had to be ready for the opening date. I run through the cable routes in my mind, I see the brand new manholes, down there is the trap where we laid the strips. The two businesses worked well on that occasion, coordinating and collaborating to comply with the deadline. Milan was plastered with giant hoardings advertising the opening. I see the surveyor waiting for me at the end of the corridor, but he is on the telephone and, with a smile he makes a gesture of apology. I reach him, but the phone call is a long one, so I whisper to him: “Don't worry, I'm early, take your time”… and I move away discreetly, pretending to look at a shop window.

In a flashback I see Mauro and Cecco again (the connection engineers from Bergamo who arrived promptly, always early, like me), getting out of their van with a smile and offering me coffee, before starting work. I see them again climbing the ladders, and going down quickly and efficiently: war machines, I say, then we go down together into the underground area, I explain the plan to them, and make the usual recommendations, even though with them it is pointless: they understand instantly and begin running from the van to the exchange, they lay cable, they make joints, they talk to each other on headsets from one end of the building to the other and test the lines in record times. That day, at the bar, I almost quarreled with Mauro as I wanted to pay the bill myself. Cecco had complained of a bad back. I made gentle fun of him. In the evening, when it got dark, Cecco called me to tell me that they had finished: the job was complete. I did not even ask him how his back was. The surveyor had finished his phone call and came to me. “You are crying, Ms Buganza”.

“I'm sorry," I replied. “I was thinking that we have done a good job here, which will last a while”. The last one for Cecco, I think. That bad back carried him off in two months. I did not even get in touch and thank him one last time.

 

Barbara, Milan

“Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today.”

Oscar Wilde