It’s hot here in the desert.  Even now, in November, when people say “ah…the heat has broken,” we’re still talking 90F at midday.

The road I have to take to my house winds through a whole huge construction project designed to make room for even more cars and maybe a high-rise or two (Abu Dhabi loves itself some skyscrapers, the glassier the better).

The men who dig these roads (and build the skyscrapers) come from Kerala, Goa, Sri Lanka; Islamabad, Peshawar, Karachi — places that, until I moved out here, existed only on maps or in newscasts about “more violence.”

Sometimes, when I see a man lost in thought or resting in the shade, I imagine that he’s remembering his family “back home” (we all think about that place, backhome), or daydreaming about his wife/lover/child.  And then I think maybe it’s much more prosaic than that: what’s for dinner, my feet hurt, I’m hot.

Mostly, I think these guys are invisible — invisible in the sense that Marx writes about, that all laborers are essentially invisible — and in terms of what they wear: heads swathed in scarves (absorbs sweat, keeps the sand out of eyes, ears nose), bodies wrapped in company-issued coveralls.  Without these almost faceless bodies, however, the city would collapse back into sand and dust.





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3 Responses to Workers

  1. Stacie November 15, 2013 at 12:40 am #

    Good for you for giving a shout-out to the workers! I’m amazed by people who do hard physical labor, especially in the heat!

  2. Michelle Longo November 15, 2013 at 6:49 am #

    I was wondering about your weather earlier today and I made a mental note to look it up which I promptly forgot about until I read this. I can’t imagine working with all that gear in such heat. Such an important job that the invisibility seems unjust.
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  3. Robbie November 16, 2013 at 8:06 am #

    The first photo is especially powerful.
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