Sunday, September 07, 2008

"It's a Beautiful Day, Men"!

I start off my workday each and every time I walk through the Plant gate with these words "Morning men, it's a beautiful day". "Morning Bert" is usually what I hear chorused from my two favorite guards, Charles and Bob. Charles and Bob are both well read and never miss an opportunity to entertain me. It's like they've been waiting for me to come in and we look forward to the verbal jousts. "Where you been, Bert? About time you got here." says Bob. I look at my watch. I'm fifteen minutes early. Charles grins.

Charles usually has a nugget of trivia (read: hardcore statistics or difficult to come by knowledge he has personally ferreted out) he feels I should know, or a very, very good book recommendation and Bob - well, Bob is named Bob for a good reason. Bob's peculiar, but in a good way.

It's been my experience that anyone named Bob is probably going to be worth investigating as a friend. Bob's have curiously strong personalities and "Roving Guard" Bob is no exception. Bob always has something interesting up his proverbial sleeve, often humorous or mischievous and Bob, true to form, never let's a chance go by without dropping an anecdote or revealing observation my way.

Off I go, down to the Unit where I labor with pyrophoric chemicals, which incidentally is nothing to take lightly. I like this morning walk as it gives me time to ponder the upcoming schedule for the day and take a quick look at a couple of inventories I routinely maintain. My job is basically about "critical tasks" and leaves no room for error.

Entering the control room, usually around 4AM, I greet the night crew, as they finish up their twelfth hour. "Morning men, it's a beautiful day". The responses vary from "How can you tell?" to absolute silence. I do get a few "Mornin's" and some repeat parrot fashion my greeting, but most simply have nothing left after working all night and don't render a response.

Occasionally someone will ask me how I know that it is a beautiful day when the sun hasn't come up yet, which I find mildly amusing and I always explain that we dictate what the day is by our attitude, not by whether the sun has risen. This is almost always received with indifference and silence by my coworkers.

It is true nevertheless and I continue to say it. One of the most frequent responses I hear after saying "It's a beautiful day" is "in the neighborhood". I think this is Mr. Rogers coming back at me, but I can't recall him saying these exact words. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't, but at least my coworkers are trying to get into the moment.
Outside the sun is announcing its arrival on the horizon. It's a slight bluing of the skyline; the stars are still shining their LED light display and a hint of Fall is in the breeze. Beautiful. It IS going to be a beautiful day, but even so, many will not venture outside to see it. Never mind. Today is what we make it, sun or no.

Now and again a friendly challenger will yell out "What kind of day is it?" and of course, I'll respond in the way they expect - "it's a beautiful day", they nod, satisfied and go on their way. Then there is the oft heard "What's beautiful about it?" and this warrants my standard question of "Well, that's up to you, isn't it"? Life is what we choose to make it folks and that's the message I try to spread.

This particular morning I'm back at the front gate and I chat amicably with security savant Charles while Bob is on patrol. In his usual entertaining and professionally thorough manner, Charles explains the variances and improvements of the new overtime meal caterer - Ken's, over the previous company - Angels. He goes into exhausting detail comparing the menu variations and expounds on how delicious each item is. He particularly enjoys their breakfast options, which minus the scrambled eggs, he says, would make an excellent supper meal. He states this as absolute fact and I enjoy his confidence.

Without prompting, Charles explains that for a measly nine bucks - exact cash only, I can secure one of these tasty combination's, say a #16, if a legitimate overtime meal is ordered at the same time, but as a company security policy guardian, he is duty-bound to inform me would be impossible to have it delivered independently. He also advised me that he drops by Ken's on occasion after a hungry night of labor to sample the delicious cuisine first hand. He's not only a man of opinion, but also a man of experience and once again I am impressed.

I was on my way out the door when rover Bob pulled up in his mobile command post golf cart, blue blinking light and all. "Morning, Bob. It's a beautiful day", I said. "What are you up to Bert? You are up to something. I can tell" says Bob and laughs as he walks into the guard shack.

Oh well, it's still a beautiful day, even if I can't slip one past Ole Bob.

1 comment:

Banjo Jones said...

i like your approach, Bert.

stay safe during Ike.

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