Monday, November 21, 2011

Closed for the day

Last Wednesday, we closed the boat for the whole day. There were enough repairs that needed doing, plus we had welders coming down from Portland, and several projects that needed the boat to stop running anyway, so we did it all at once.

Tuesday evening, the boss told me to walk "all the way" up the hill to flip the sign. Throughout the area, on all the roads that lead to the ferry, there are road signs that tell the hours of the ferry, and at the bottom is a panel that says OPEN, unless it's unlocked and flipped down, in which case it says CLOSED. When the ferry closes for something major (like when the baloney snapped off), it can take several hours to get around to both sides of the ferry, up and down lots of back country roads to flip all 8 signs. There is one sign on either side of the ferry that's very nearby. The boss asked me to flip those Tuesday night. So at 7, when I close the boat, I walk up the hill like I'm going to lock the gate. Walk past the gate, and just keep going. I just looked on a map, and it was less than a quarter mile, but it was basically straight uphill. And I was pretty dumb, and didn't take a flashlight, though I think I vaguely recall the boss telling me to take one. Once I got past the single streetlight down by the boat, it was dark. Dark dark. Dark like when you go camping and you step outside the ring of light from the fire. I can vaguely see the sides of the road, and as I'm walking up the hill, I'm wondering if I'll even see the sign! I do catch sight of it, sort of, and veer towards it. And suddenly I stop. Is the sign in a ditch? It's off the pavement, is it rocks? Does it slope? In other words, am I going to fall flat on my face in pitch black darkness? I think it took me 30 seconds to go about 4 feet. And of course it was flat, no slope, gravel. Couldn't find the right key, cursed loudly, then FINALLY got it all to work and slowly trudged my way down to the boat. The sign on the other side of the river was easy, of course. I drove my car up to it as I left, jumped out, flipped it, and went home.

The boss said to show up at the regular time Wednesday morning, even though the work crews wouldn't be there until at least 8. Ummm, ok. So I showed up at 7 and sat around drinking my coffee for an hour. By that point, I realized I had a pretty nasty cold. I knew that I'd spend most of the day standing around. I don't know how to weld. I can't climb the tower. If they say, turn the right turnbuckle counterclockwise 3 times, I can do that, but I need things spelled out. The plan for me for the day was to "help out," then drive up to the WL ferry and operate that for a few hours, while the operator went to a county training class.

When the boss got to the boat, he told me that the WL operator took the class the day before, and I didn't need to go operate. I was relieved. I haven't operated the WL in months. I'm sure I'd figure it out, but it'd be busy, it navigates very differently, I had a cold, I didn't want to deal. So I didn't have to.

By 10:30, I feel like I'd stood around and inhaled everyone's cigarette smoke, and not done much else. Finally  I told the boss I was heading home. I felt bad. I didn't want everyone to think I was a wimp. I'm sure the guys did anyway. I told the boss that if it was a regular day, I'd have no problem sitting in the cabin and hauling a few cars. But the outside stuff, knowing a huge rain and windstorm was heading our way, yeah, not going to happen.

I'm so glad I left. I looked back on the cctv footage, and in heavy wind and rain, they were still working past 9:30 that night. I'm so glad I wimped out and left!

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