Sleep is a symptom of caffeine deprivation. ~Author Unknown
People! Truly, gate guarding is not a spur of the moment type of job. Once you strip away all the glitz and glamor (our free utilities and our pre-tax salary of $5.21 an hour), you’re left with the reality of the Texas heat (it was 91 here yesterday and 101 in Laredo), giant bugs in your hair, tiny gnats in your ears, beetles in your t-shirt, moths in your coffee, bees, mice, rattlesnakes, tarantulas, un-reclusive brown recluses, scorpions, caliche etc… Some days it’s a lot to contend with, but that’s not why I’m exhausted.
We’re at the crossroads of a oil company mini-mart here On The Edge of
Glory Absolutely Nowhere. The 6 padlocks on our gate are a mystery. No one knows why there are 6 and no one here has the key to any of them. They’ve become kind of symbolic though.
We’re guarding a drilling rig. I didn’t say I would never write about gate guarding again, just not all the time. Larry’s still simmering on the back burner. 😀
We get paid for guarding 1 rig but we have the traffic of 6 operations.
If you come in our gate and turn left, you (1) go the site where they’re busy building a new production plant. If you pass through our gate and turn right, you could be going to (2) our rig; or (3) to the site they’re preparing for fracing; or (4) to the mud farm; or (5) to the pad that’s being built for another drilling rig scheduled for week after next; or (6) to the water pond where the pipes burst last night.
We only keep a record of the folks going to our rig, but we have to talk to all who enter here. But that’s not why I’m exhausted.
This is the first time we’ve worked for this oil company. Everyone seems nice enough. The procedure is a little different. They require each person sign in. Then, on the way out, they have to stop again, find the line with their in-coming signature (which can be many, many lines or pages ago) and initial across from it, checking the box saying that they weren’t injured.
It’ll get easier once we get it down. Possibly we wouldn’t have stuck a purple pen on the board if we’d known the guys were going to be signing themselves in and out. 😀
This signing out process requires some extra work.
First, I clamber up the side of the semi, hanging on with one hand and passing the board with the other.
Next, we begin shouting at each other over the roar of the diesel. I shout in Yankee English and the drivers shout back at me in Southern English or Spanish or Italian or Cajun or possibly a combination.
Then, there’s the inevitable ensuing pantomime that’s required to convey the idea I just want their initials and a check mark in the yellow I didn’t get hurt while I was here box.
But that isn’t why I’m exhausted.
I’ve got a great ambition to die of exhaustion rather than boredom. ~ Thomas Carlyle
I’m exhausted because I have a Fan-Tastic Vent (fan). You may remember that it scared me to death last fall, the first time it opened up all by itself and turned on in the dark, in the middle of the night, while the coyotes were howling and Darth Vader was sighing.
This peculiar ceiling device is thermostatically controlled and can push air out or suck air in. Because I’m gadget reluctant and have zero control issues, I’ve been letting it choose what it wanted to do, at will.
Fan-Tastic Vent will exchange the air in your vehicle in minutes. Cooking smoke and unpleasant aromas are whisked away in seconds.
Fan-Tastic Vent can reduce the use of air conditioning allowing you to breath natural, fresh ambient outside air.
Heidi and I have both been sick ever since we got to this site. We have a busy gate with tons (purposeful pun) of big trucks. I finally figured out what’s wrong with us. We’re exhaust – ed. The Fan-Tastic Vent, while cheerfully opening up to suck in the fresh ambient air, has been fumigating us. The same thing happened to a friend at a gate down the road.
To know that which before us lies in daily life, is the prime Wisdom; what is more, is fume, or emptiness, or fond impertinence. ~ John Milton
If you’re at a gate (or a truck stop) and begin feeling a little queasy, take heed. Milton was a wise man, but he didn’t know a lot about diesels.