Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sometimes it's good to be a girl

A few weeks ago, when I was training the toll-taker-turned-operator, K, we were joking about how since we're both girls, anything we ask for from the bosses, we'll get. I even jokingly texted that to a coworker when I was asking him something, and he just rolled his eyes. Well, it's actually pretty true. I'd seen it happen a few times before. Months ago, I started asking the smaller boss for a better chair in the cabin. The chair provided was a 20+ year old task chair, horrible to sit on, horrible on the back. The boss said that it was a lost cause, that he'd been asking the big boss for one for awhile. I decided that I'd take it upon myself to ask the big boss. I sent him an email, and within 2 days, poof! a new (used and crappy, but better) chair. Also, when I was training K, there was nothing really for her to sit on. Smaller boss and I had discussed getting a folding stool, so that guests or trainees have somewhere to sit, and so the stool can be folded and tucked away. We've been talking about this for months. K called big boss and asked for a stool, and there's now a lovely folding stool on board.

So yesterday, I decided to try this tactic a second time. There is a pair of binoculars on the boat, but they're tiny, they barely work, and they actually belong to my coworker, who will be off the boat for good starting next week. I asked him, and yes, he was planning to take them with him when he leaves, they're his hunting binoculars. Binoculars are actually quite useful. You can check for logs, look across the river, check for boats, etc. And they're fun, since there's not much to do down there. Yesterday morning, I was bullshitting with small boss and big boss. At the end of a discussion about schedules and the coworker who won't be on the boat any longer, I mentioned needing a new pair of binoculars, ones that actually worked. I wasn't being annoying, or begging or demanding. I just asked for a pair.

Within an hour, he handed me a brand new pair of binoculars. HA! It worked! He'd driven to the store himself and got them himself.

In the same conversation when I requested the binoculars, I also mentioned how uncomfortable and crappy the current desk chair is. They pulled it out of surplus, so it had been discarded by someone when it broke. I told big boss that he should come down to the boat and sit in it for 12 hours, then decide for himself. He cracked up, but said he'll order a good chair. We'll see how long that takes. I will happily mention it again if need be.

I still get a lot of crap from the male operators, and I know it's because I'm a girl, I'm not tough, and I wasn't born knowing how to change the oil on my car. And it still annoys me. Fortunately, I don't have to see those guys that often. I did have to work with them yesterday afternoon to get the boat opened up, and I was reminded of why I was happy to be working alone. Even so, it's oddly satisfying to take full advantage of the instincts of these same men to want to take care of the girls. So I'll let them. Between me and K, when she starts her shifts on the ferry, we'll get whatever we want down there!

On a totally different note, I was looking at the footage of the flooding from the security cameras on board. In my last post, I described how the water had risen as high as the gate? This is a photo of a computer screen, but here is the boat, right as the river crested. I circled the gate post.

Here's an image from the same camera today. You can barely see the gate post (it's circled as well), since the boat is sitting so much lower in the river. It's pretty astounding.

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