Life-roofers, so called because they truly live on rooftops, are increasingly rare. And that is a shame, as they provided excellent services: always ready to jump in the event of a falling tile, always à on the lookout for leaks, pierced gutters and other flying tiles, their singing presence in all seasons, on various positions on the roofs were the charm of now abandoned ancient mansions and large provincial houses. Some can still be seen crawling among the ivy on the half-eviscerated roofs of abandoned manors, no doubt trying to shore up an inescapable collapse.
Those who have known the life-roofers miss their gentle cries on the hard winter nights, their delicate morning strolls from top to bottom, the light sound of tiles following their steps. On the other hand, there will be no yearning for their excrement sliding off roofs, their urine that sometimes flowed over the gutters, their waste dripping down the windows when the wind is particularly strong. Furthermore, certain life-roofers families, ill-adjusted to their environment, have developed anarchically, and their many, sometimes mischievous children galloping over the rooftops sometimes had the guts to climb down onto the balconies and stick their hideous, blackened faces, against the glass. To beat them off with rags was quite pointless, given their speed, and the certainty they would be back a few minutes later.
You do not choose your life-roofers: they settle in, and work for a few years, contenting themselves on criteria that are quite difficult to put a finger on. To feed them, to pay them is an insult to this proud company; to spy on them, to make contact, even eye-contact might frighten or upset them and the next day this gift from the skies, so to speak is gone.
One can only rejoice, on the other hand, from the end of the fist fights between life-roofers and woodwork men. Indeed, even though they rarely met (only when the damage was really serious), these encounters were always the scene of violence and damage to walls, falling tiles, hung bodies, screams, and sometimes even violent deaths. It should be acknowledged that woodwork men are far more peaceful than life-roofers, and their overall torpor, their prolonged immobility under the tiles, in their cavities, under the roof-crowns left them ill-prepared for confrontation with their upstairs colleagues, used to the wind, to sudden movements, to the rain and the open air.
Nevertheless, how could they live without each other? It is well known that roofers' nests, generally next to chimneys, have their exact counterpart in woodwork, and in some cases it has even been observed (to the extent it has been possible to count les woodwork men, blackish shapes slowly inching forth in the semi-darkness)that the number of roofers is exactly the same as that of their hidden equivalents.
Certain novelists have even gone as far as seeing the distribution of roofers, woodwork men and their underground equivalents, tilers and sewage workers a symmetry of the order of the divine, matching the positions of the stars, or the way beehives are organised: everything has been said, but how much credit should these hacks be given?
Woodwork men are themselves also in danger of extinction; unwarranted absence has often been observed of the oblong forms stuck to girders, in parallel to the disappearance or moving out of life-roofers.
The heart is saddened to see the traces of ropes, tools, timber parts, woodchip, abandoned as if in flight from a fire. Family ties, murders, marriages are these events liable to lead life-roofers to abandonment?
Would this sensitive and discreet company be itself moved, even obliquely, by memorable events attracting attention to them?