So far my list includes taxi-driver, trapeze artist, surgeon, dog-groomer, monk, and hostage. Here's another.
Last week I had a room on the twelfth floor of a new downtown Brooklyn hotel. From my window I could watch a new skyscraper being assembled. The basic I-beam members were in place and concrete floors and ceilings had been poured. But the structure lacked external walls!! Where there will be walls sometime it the future, preferably before the building is leased and inhabited, was what looked to be an orange plastic mesh, perhaps reinforced with a thin cable or two. From my vantage point, I could could see right through to the interior of the building. There men on aluminum stilts were spreading on the ceilings something that might have been plaster but was more likely some sort of curing preparation for raw concrete. Let me make this clear: men on stilts were plastering ceilings in rooms that had no exterior walls and where a slip or trip would send them plummeting twelve stories to the hard sidewalk. Frankly, I found it difficult to watch without vivid and horrible imaginings flashing across my vulnerable brain. So without hesitation I can add to the set of occupations in which I would fail ignomiously, stilt-walker in high-rise construction. A terrifying way to make a living, especially for people like me, pre-frightened by heights.