“The layouts on fire!” the tall, white haired man in the green shirt shouted as he ran out of my office and almost hitting his head on the overhead “G” gauge train roadbed. He left down the three stairs that led up to my main office floor and shot out the door.
I didn’t move from where I sat in my desk chair with one foot resting on top of my desk. I just watched and thought “Shouldn’t I be disturbed? Worried? Concerned? In a panic?… No. No, I was pretty much worn out for the day and all the cares I’d had when I started had departed many hours before.
I dropped my leg to the floor, shook my head and picked up one of the two mini-cameras I’d been using to record new train layout footage with for the past five hours and wondered if any of the footage was any good. I plugged the camera into my computer and waited for the machines to shake the binary hands and talk to each other.
Sounds of the green shirted man climbing over the protective barrier and hustling around to where the “Fire” was floated into my office. Sounds of visitors talking and laughing trailed in with the frantic pace of Mr. Green Shirt.
I shook my head, tried to concentrate on finding video files on the camera but my mind started to wander…
“Skip, shouldn’t you be concerned?… No, if it were a real fire people would be screaming.”
“Skip, shouldn’t you check out the damage, after all, you designed this layout, poured your heart and soul into it?… No, we have a sprinkler system, and an alarm system and we are insured.
“But Skip, you love this work. Yes, yes I do, too much. But I just can’t muster any strength for another problem today. I’m just too dam tired and I just want to go home and relax.”
“Your job may depend on this incident.”
Which is about the time Mr. Green Shirt walked back into my office holding one of the track cleaning cars between his fingers. “Wow, never saw that happen before. The car derailed and the sparks set the denatured alcohol on fire.” he said almost gleefully.
I looked up at him and said “You know Mr. Green Shirt, I’ve been doing this job for over sixteen years, cleaned the track of this layout and four other layouts on a weekly and sometimes daily basis and I’ve never once set a layout on fire. This truly is a first.”
Mr. Green Shirt laughed, I chuckled and when he handed me the melted felt pads that had only until recently been attached to the track cleaning car I just shrugged and nodded toward the trash can. He threw the pads into the trash can.
He then changed the pads, soaked them with a bit of denatured alcohol and went and put them back on the track.
The trains rolled on.
You see, there are days like this in my life as I’m sure there are days like this in your life.
Days where when you get to work, something small goes wrong, then another thing goes wrong only this time it’s a bit more important, then another and another and another. Soon, you have things on fire, a person yelling and you’re trying to muster the energy to actually not just care but inspect the damage and fix the problem.
This was the low point in my day and all I could do was chuckle to myself. After all, when I thought about what had happened, it was pretty damn funny. So for the rest of our time together, Mr. Green Shirt took my good natured ribbing with a wink and a smile.
Now, before you say, “Skip, you’re being a bully. You’re pouring salt into the wound of his pride. You’re just being mean.”
No, I’m not.
Mr. Green Shirt and have been working together for fifteen years and have developed an excellent relationship and we consider each other friends more than anything else. Sure, we both have a love of trains, jazz music and old time crooners, but more importantly we have a huge amount of respect for each other. Also; he gives me as much guff as I give him, sometimes more even. Which is good.
Now, I will say this, if someone else had shouted “The layouts on fire!”
I would have been the first on scene. But Mr. Green Shirt, nah, it was his mess, he needed to clean it up and figure it out. I’m not there to hold his hand, I”m there to teach him and work with him. Besides, It was a bonding moment for the both of us.
Have a great week. I hope you have someone at work that gives you as much frustration, joy, laughter and friendship as I do. Oh, and the occasional proverbial heart attack.
Love you Mr. Green Shirt. Hope you dig this blog.