I’ve been a gate guard on a drill site in Southern Texas since December of 2010. This is the beginning of a series about the incredible number of things I’ve learned about gate guarding and Texas in the past 6 months.
I’ve already written a whole lot about both, since I didn’t know anything about either. I’ll try not to repeat myself for you regular readers.
Here are some things I don’t think I’ve mentioned before:
Wild turkeys in Texas are very out going and enjoy the company of others. I learned this from Texas Turkey Trotters. My personal experience with wild turkeys here in Southern Texas is that they’re a bit shy, but maybe that’s just the rural birds: “The Rio Grande Turkey is gregarious” according to TTT.
These baby poults (baby turkeys are called poults, not turklings) aren’t wild. Jimmy, one of our derrickman, bought them at the local Feed Store in Nixon.
According to newspaper accounts, the first flying machine was flown in Texas nearly forty years before the Wright Brothers version in 1903.
Inventor-pilot, Jacob Brodbeck, powered the plane with coil springs and reached treetop heights before crashing into a hen-house killing several chickens and scaring many children in 1865.
I’d never heard of Jacob Brodbeck before coming to Texas. Should a similar crash happen to you, you can also buy baby ducks at the Feed Store in Nixon. They’re currently out of baby chicks.
Ducklings won’t replace your chickens, but the ducklings and the poults could grow up to be an eventual source of food or entertainment. I didn’t ask Jimmy which. I’ve learned sometimes it’s better not to know.
If you’re a gate guard and you’re working a 12 hour night shift, you can never, ever use the restroom after your day shift partner has gone to bed.
This is a rather delicate subject and most gate guards don’t talk about it, but as Dave Berry would say, I’m not making this up.
On a busy night, it doesn’t feel so remarkable. But on a quiet night, when I have 3 trucks in 4 hours, it seems to be more than coincidental. I’ve even tried to trick the truckers. I’ll get up, walk into the bathroom, turn on the light, stand there for a moment and then come back out. Somehow the 18- wheeling universe knows. All remains quiet. An entire pot of coffee and no trucks later, I return to the bathroom, and sure enough, the bell rings – at least 80% of the time. I’m not kidding.
If this happened occasionally or at predictable times, I wouldn’t even mention it, but it’s almost a traffic guarantee. Of course, you can turn this into a positive thing and only use the restroom when you get really bored or feel really sleepy.
The average amount of time a driver is willing to wait in front of your RV is 5 seconds. Many gate guards use an electronic bell device. We just use the air hose and the bell that GGS provides. Depending on where we have the hoses, it takes me 5-7 seconds to be out the door when I first hear the bell.
That means I’m normally there before the truck pulls up. But if I were to be doing something like brushing my teeth, and needed to spit and wipe off my face, it could take up to 12 seconds. By then there would likely be a beeping horn or tail lights in the distance.
According to the Texas DOT, one person is killed annually painting stripes on the state’s highways and roads. I’m not sure why this fact is published in a state where you can still legally talk on your cell phone or read the newspaper while driving. You also might be interested in knowing that you can become a licensed dead animal hauler in Texas for only $150.
Or if you’re one of our guys, don’t bother with a license.
In Texas, it’s illegal to curse in front of an indecently exposed corpse. I have no idea why this law was deemed necessary or why it’s still on the books.
The smallest Catholic church in the world, still in operation, is said to be in Warrenton,Texas. The church measures 12 feet by 15 feet and seats 15 people. It’s only open once a year for people who curse in front of corpses. (OK, that cursing part isn’t true).
I’m over my word count for this post.
I didn’t realize just how much I’ve learned. There’s so much more to tell, there may even be a part 3.