I have been promising a story or two from work for a while now so since I don't have any new photos from the house downloaded, I thought this would be a good time. Most of my long time readers (if I have any besides Pablo) know that my real job is heavy commercial construction. I am a journeyman carpenter for a large company and we are building a service center for a railroad company right now. This is right in the middle of a busy rail yard so there are locomotives running back and forth all day around us as we work. Several other bloggers, including Woody and FC have had funny stories lately about crazy things they have done so I thought I would throw my hat in the ring, or my hardhat. Not to try to outdo but to say, at least ya'lls were in the privacy of your own home or car, whereas I insist on making a fool of myself in public!
Ok, here is the scenario: I am the only female working with 20-25 male carpenters, electricians etc. on this job. Then you have all the male train conductors, engineers etc. Well, shortly after coming on this job, I just happen to notice this one conductor, I guess that is what his is; he rides the front of the locomotive and he switches the tracks to move the locomotives from one track to another. Anyway, this means he is on the ground near us some and walking around so we can sometimes talk a little to these guys. Just general pleasantries as most of them are friendly and curious about what we are doing. Well, this particular guy is honestly, one of the most handsome men I have seen in some time. I know I just gawked the first time I saw him coming down the track and he looked down at me and smiled so that didn't help. He is a big man, tall and broad shouldered and dresses much neater than the others. So, despite being around men so much I am the biggest dork when I get near a man like this. I am clumsy enough as it is and I just lose all composure. Well, on the rare occasion that we are close enough to speak, he would make small talk about this and that but we could never talk more than a few seconds and never get within 20 feet of each other since we are both working, so it was not really possible to "break the ice", you know. In fact, we don't even know his name, so he has just become known to all of us as the Switchman.
Now, a little history on the other side. My guys on the crew look out for me and are really sweet so I try to make cookies or pies for them sometimes and pamper them a little and make them feel good. Well, this summer I grew a bunch of Moon and Stars watermelons and I brought 2 or 3 to work to share with the guys. Now, part of the crew eats in the office trailer, as I do, and the rest eat under a little shelter by the tool shed. So, one day I cut part of a large watermelon for the guys and was taking the majority of it out to the men by the tool shed. Well, one of the guys suggested that I cover the melon up with a bag because it might get dusty before I could get it out there. So, I did and headed out the door carrying my prize to them. As I got halfway, I saw that they were running the trains across the road and had it blocked so I would have to walk around the locomotives to get to the guys and, lo and behold, who was on the track but the Switchman. And when he saw me coming he started walking towards the area where I would have to cross over the track. It occurred to me then that I would finally be within a couple of feet of him and get to see him up close. I thought to myself, OK, don't say something stupid. Just remain calm. Breathe deep. So, sure enough, we meet on the tracks and he smiled and made a little joke about blocking the road and I laughed coyly and joked back. Ha, ha... He seemed even more manly up close but I restrained myself from throwing the watermelon down and grabbing him. Now, after 14 years of working construction, I can't hear worth a damn especially with trains around. And I had completely forgotten that I had covered that stupid watermelon and he probably couldn't even tell what I was carrying. So, as I passed by him and I heard him say something about something looking nice and being in my usual mental fog intensified by him, I just assumed that he was talking about the watermelon. Not wanting him to think that I was impolite, I turned and sweetly asked him, "Well, would you like some?"..................... the look on that man's face when I said that should have been a clue to me that we were not talking about the same thing. He recovered quickly though, stepped towards me and said so sincerely, "Lord, honey, I wish I could". It still did not occur to me what I had done, so I just said, "OK!" and wandered off to the guys. I did think that was a kind of odd response but just thought, boy, he must really like watermelon. Later in the day as I was driving home, my mind was slowly meandering over the day's events, I started thinking about things and finally, it hit me what had transpired. Oh. My. God.... I just offered this beautiful man, who I don't even know by name, wanton sex on the railroad tracks. Mortified is not the word.
I had to fix this, so the next day I enlisted the help of one of my guys who drives the backhoe. They were not going to get any more brownies or fried pies until the Switchman understood that there had been a horrible glitch in communications! After all, I was taking that watermelon to them and that had started the whole thing. So, Steve, being a major sweetie, finally gets where he can talk to the Switchman and tells him that there was a terrible misunderstanding over some watermelon and that I needed to explain something to him. Well, a few hours pass and I saw out of the corner of my eye, a train approaching. The Switchman was on board and as we both looked up, our eyes locked on each other at the same time but fear suddenly griped me. God, this man thinks I am a complete idiot or worse! But then I saw a big smile spread across his face and he breaks out in the deepest laugh that I could hear over the locomotive. He came by later and we talked for a moment and he assured me that he was not offended and understood the confusion.
Of course, amongst my crew, I will never, ever, ever live this down. It has become known as the Watermelon Incident. They tell me that I have single handedly set all women construction workers back 30- 40 years and am the kind that gives us all such a bad reputation. Well, at least I give them something to laugh about.