Tuesday, September 11, 2007

O.T. on my birthday, who could ask for more?

Oy vey, what a trip! On the way to Winnipeg, I was considerably busier than usual, which was good for the gratuities. Met some fine and fascinating folk, including an English woman who was visiting Canada in no small part so that she could put a stone on her father's grave. He came to Canada after leaving her mother for another woman, and served a full career with the RCMP. She's writing a book about him now. The most interesting passengers, however, were a couple from Alberta. The man worked in the oil industry, having started as a young man and worked his way up, and gave a fascinating little impromptu seminar on the Fort MacMurray tar sands. Both he and his wife--who engaged everyone in the dome in a Q&A session about their origins and destinations--epitomise the unabashedly bold, outgoing positivity of Alberta. While this can be extremely obnoxious on the macro political level, I find it enormously appealing in individual people, infinitely more interesting than a more typically Canadian modesty. Besides his work in the oil industry, this guy had an eclectic variety of hobbies and interests. He said that, besides being a music producer, he's written a musical play based on ancient Sumerian texts. Who knows if it's any good, but it certainly doesn't sound pedestrian! I gave him a copy of my book because he seemed like the sort of person who'd appreciate it.

We arrived in Winnipeg 4 hours late, thanks to mechanical problems with a freight train ahead of us, putting us in just before the westbound train arrived. Normally, this would mean that working back to Vancouver would be optional for me (this was source of my mini-conflict with management a while back), but due to my employer's unofficial policy of hiring insufficient staff, they had no one to replace the Vancouver-based crew, so we all worked back at time-and-a-half--better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, but then, so's a poke in the eye with a blunt stick... Yesterday was my birthday, so I think I'll buy myself something nice with the extra dough. I was too tired and disgruntled to do my job with any energy on Sunday, but was back to my shmoozy self yesterday and had some good exchanges with passengers. Also found out that one of my co-workers--who I had a strange sense of having seen/known in a past life--was in residence at the U of King's College while I was there. We didn't know each other, but it being a small school knew a lot of the same people. He was working in journalism in Halifax, but got sick of it and moved to Vancouver, where he became a flight attendant for an airline that promptly folded after its CEO was "caught with crack and crack whores" on East Hastings. Then he switched to work on the train (my co-worker, not the CEO!).

It didn't affect me directly, but there was some high drama on the way home when a man, while taking a shower, suddenly started bleeding from an artery in his lower leg. Three of my colleagues administered first aid while the engineers called an ambulance and the Service Manager coordinated logistics. The guy lost a couple pints of blood (apparently it was just spurting out, as is typical of arterial bleeds), but the paramedics complimented the staff on their excellent work. On the odd occasion when I've been on shift for a medical or other sort of emergency, I've had this experience of the training just kicking in. You never want to have it tested, but it's nonetheless fortifying when you handle a tough situation well. Passengers who were aware of the incident were very impressed with how it was handled.

Arrived this morning completely exhausted and had a long nap this aft. Looking forward to getting some editorial work done over the next few days.

1 comment:

Brenda Schmidt said...

Wow. Maybe they should install low flow shower heads...