I've got a lot to talk about today so bear with me. I've been really busy over the week and probably won't have time in the near future for an every-day post unless it's something really important or so funny it can't wait.
So I've moved here to Florida and have been settling in very nicely, making several new friends and finding new places to hang out and things to do. Clewiston, FL has the distinction of being a "Quaint little drinking town with a fishing problem..." so I kind of fit in. It has several watering holes to chose from, but... I'm beginning to think that it's against the law to serve any kind of non-lite beer other than Budweiser. This is what I'm talking about. My frosty, ice-cold adult beverage of choice is Miller Genuine Draft. I really can't do Bud products of any kind because of some serious nasty after-taste issues... And basically I think lite beer is for pussies. Especially Coors lite. That's the biggest oxymoron I've heard in a long time.
So every bar I've been to here sells only lite beer. What the fuck!
So now I'm stuck drinking lite beer when I decide to go out in the evening. That is unless I buy a case and drink at home. But sometimes I need a little human contact other that the people I work with so I suck it up and soldier on with my lite beer...
This wouldn't be so bad but last night I was saddled with a bartender who either has some major attention-deficit issues or is dumb as a stump. I get to the bar about 7:15 last night and sidle up to the bar and the bartender eventually gets to me...
"What'll you have?"
He nods and goes to the cooler... And comes back with a Bud lite.
"Eh, I said Miller lite..."
So I get the beer I asked for and a few of the other guys I'm working with show up and we start kabitzing and generally having a good time. I finish my beer and put the empty bottle down to get a new one. After a time the bartender brings me a freshie... A Bud lite.
"Hey, buddy, it's a Miller lite..."
This went on for quite a while and it was beginning to piss me off. How fucking hard is it to look at the empty bottle and get a full one with the same label? It's not like the place was really full.
Anyway, after a while I called over a second bartender, a woman, and slipped her a Jackson just to make sure I got what I ordered and didn't have to wait an hour for a beer. Lubricating the wheels to get lubricated...
So like I said I was with some guys from work, all of us new. Some have absolutely no railroad experience and really don't understand why the safety stuff we're learning is so important and why all the operating rules are written in blood. Someone had to either die or ger seriously hurt to get these rules implemented. The old heads at the railroad keep on telling some of us that all this "Safety Bullshit" is going out the window once the harvest starts in October and the only thing the company is interested in is production... But what they don't get, and coming in as a new guy I understand and see readily, is the company hired my boss and the training guy this year because safety had totally gone by the wayside to the point that a conductor last year was crushed and killed between two railcars last year.
So the company has learned that safety is number 1 and isn't going to let it happen again.
What a lot of these old heads just don't get, especially the engineers with 20 years seniority, is that the conductor is in charge of the train, not the engineer. And me, as a conductor, telling the engineer to stop, he better well fucking stop. If I tell him to make any movements at all at the speed I say, he better well fucking do it exactly the way I tell him to.
I plan on coming home every day after my shift still sucking air and pumping blood with all the parts I have still where they were at the beginning of the shift. It's not the most dangerous job I've ever had, but it's up there and I plan on working safely.
Anyway, I said before the railroad has hired a bunch of new guys this year and one of them is sort of like me. He's a 40~something divorced guy doing the whole mid-life career change thing. But that's where the similarities end. He's about five years older than me but his way of dressing is more suited to a college freshman and had the whole tattoo and earring thing going on... I think he spends more on his hair in one visit than I have all of last year. But the biggest thing with his obvious over-compensation is the massive diesel pickup truck he drives. Sure it's a nice truck and I've owned big trucks before. But I've always had a need for them. Whether it be my continual camping and hunting and owning horses where you need a big truck... But now I don't need one so I don't own one.
One doesn't need a huge one-ton four-door pickup 4WD just to go to and from work, especially with the cost of fuel these days.
I'm quite satisfied with my equipment and don't need to compensate in any way.
But that's not what I'm getting at. The way this guy acts, you'd think he'd have a bevy of beautiful women crawling all over Him. Mr. Studly, Vicktor Suave... So yesterday after work I'm sitting on my patio having a frosty and ice-cold adult beverage decompressing from work and this huge pickup drives by my place and I see sitting in the passenger seat what has to be one of the ugliest women I've ever seen... Reminded me of Alice the Goon from the old Popeye cartoons. So a few minutes later the same truck drives back the other way and I get a look at who's driving...
I couldn't help but laugh my ass off.
And speaking of my patio, I simply love it, along with the rest of my place and I'm really grateful for the railroad for putting me up in it. But there's one slight, little teeny-tiny little problem. As it's very nice, and in a extremely up-scale and desirable part of town right on lake Okeechobee my next-door neighbor just happens to be not just one of the bosses at the railroad, but The Senior Vice President of the company.
Fucking wonderful. Our assigned parking spots are even right next to eachother.
I firmly believe this is a part of a vast global Communist plot to destroy my fun. And not only that, but now this weekend they've gone away for a few days, I was elected to 'take care' of their newspaper delivery for the next few days.
So now I'm the Big Boss's paperboy.
Happy happy, joy joy!
I need a drink.
Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden