Monday, July 12, 2021

Bright Neon Yellow Shirts: Day 13

This article of clothing is now my favorite sight when I am out. The wearer may look a little bit bedraggled, and the t-shirt will have smudges on it; that is one light color and hard to keep clean, but it is a signal to my mama's heart now. Almost to a one, this will be a working guy or gal, outside in every sort of weather you can imagine. Many are engineers on construction sights or water lines, others are the labor force in those same places. My kid is a combination of the two and I am super proud of him and the work he is doing all across the country these days. 

I learned about the required color when we went shopping before he took off on his first mission a few months ago. It is an obligatory safety standard now required by OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, so everyone anywhere near a road or any sort of construction project must wear it. It is just one of the "caution colors" but the most widely available one, there is an orange version, a green version and, according to my research, but not my experience in shopping or noticing, a magenta one too. (I'll be on the look-out for that one!)

They are worn because of regulations and as a badge of honor. "Yeah, I am out here making sure that you have clean water, the electricity is running and that this building gets done in time for the winter. I am honoring the contract and the trust placed in me, no matter what the conditions." As I have watched my son take off for a project 12 hours from home on a Sunday, work in rain, cold one month and in 120 degrees under rafters for three weeks straight, I have prayed for his safety, wished him well and developed great admiration for his strength and resilience.

If I am waiting in line with a bright-yellow-shirted individual, I might ask what line of work they're in, or glance out the door to see what kind of truck is parked and waiting for them. I am beginning to know which kind of vehicle might be doing what now. I travel for work as well, so I meet many in shops along the highways. Even if I do not say "hello" from shyness, I am sending really good vibes your way if you are out in your dusty boots, work pants you hope won't rip today, and your fluorescent safety shirt. And I am thinking of my own child, hoping he too is safe and happy.

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