In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog:

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

An Encounter With the Media

I was in my early twenties, full of it and in charge of a seven person crew repairing the highway. We were the day shift of a twenty four hour operation and we had plenty to do.

The delartment of transportation dictated there was a four hour stretch when rush hour traffic didn't allow lane closures. Since we were on the side where it was the evening rush that was critical, the hours between four and eight in the evening were the hours we stayed off the highway. This meant that at 8:00 pm, a crew would start tearing out the sawed concrete and prepare it for the morning crew to pour. After that, the same morning crew would saw the next sections, tie the rebar and otherwise prepare the project for the night crew.

I was, for lack of a better phrase, screwed by the arrangement. Since the night crew didn't have access to supplies during the day, I was left with securing any materials and repairing equipment, besides the rest of my responsibilites. As time went on, and the hard used equipment had more repairs, I found I was on the project from 4:00 am to after 6:00 pm every day. There was always something else and I was becoming punch drunk from fatigue.

To add to the hard work, we were having a particularly hot summer. The bank clock on the side of the service road constantly reminded us it was 105 degrees in the shade each afternoon. This heat was almost unbearable and could kill within minutes.

The local media, always looking for a story, sent a crew to our site for an interview to add to their story about working in the heat. I saw them coming, which was the beginning of my encounter with the media.

At the start of the project, we contacted all of the media to alert them of slow traffic and congestion. Out of all those we contacted, only one A.M. station responded and broadcast the fact each morning. They had my admiration, the rest, as far as I was concerned, could kiss my ass. They had no idea how frustrating it is to deal with the motoring public and the dumbasses that manage to get behind the wheel.

The television crew's van pulled to the shoulder on the opposite lane from which we were repairing. Otherwise, they'd committed a mortal sin when it comes to traffic control. You never force drivers to choose between the dangerous collision of a motor vehicle and the seemingly open area of what appears as an almost unrestricted lane on the opposite side. That unrestricted lane has people working that have nothing between the bumper of a car and their body, except a shirt and a pair of pants.

I was pissed. We were trying to finish concrete that was setting extra fast due to the heat and extra amount of cement to decrease the set time. We only had a few hours before we needed to be off the highway and the concrete needed to be set before we left. Now, this crew was adding another source of stress.

I had no idea at the time why the crew was visiting our site, so I was thinking: "I bet they're here for a story on the dangers of working on the highway and how important it is to keep the public informed." Since I was the only one who appeared in charge, the young lady - with her entourage of technical dweebs - approached and asked the question: "How does it feel to work in this heat?"

I lost it. The last brain cell grasping sanity lost its grip and tumbled to the bottom. I unleashed a diatribe about disgust, betrayal and my disrespect for the media. I don't remember exactly what I said, but it included my disgust of how they made no effort to alert the public of the dangerous traffic and how inconsequential their silly news story was in relation to the amount of wrecks and mayhem I'd observed since the start of the project. When I finished, and the young reporter managed to close her mouth, she instantly regained her composure and asked one of the concrete finishers: "How does it feel to work in this heat?" Never breaking his stride, he answered: "I work better when I'm not talking."

The reporters stared, I glared. Realizing there was no story, they tucked their tails and left. I fumed for the next few minutes to God and anyone else that would listen. I was still fuming when I left that evening after repairing the damned equipment and making sure everbody had every damned thing they needed - those worthless bastards.

We didn't make the news that night, although they did find some workers more than willing to be on television. It was a cute story that pissed me off. I haven't thought much of the media since that day.

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