Crosswinds Marsh wetland interpretive preserve is a Wayne county park located near the center of Wayne County in the southeast corner of Michigan. It is a 1,050 acre man-made wetland created when an expanse on the Detroit Metro Airport displaced a natural wetland. The park is free to enter and includes several walking paths, a horse path, designated fishing docks and a screen house.
Since the marsh is a park, there is a full-time staff that supports and takes care of the scenery. A Wayne County maintenance crew of four men cut the grass on riding lawnmowers and empty all of the trash cans in the park once a week. They also trim trees and bushes when needed. Crosswinds Marsh is home to a naturalist and a park manager who also help keep the park clean, but usually put on programs for groups of children from school, church or scout groups. These programs are not free and are mostly regarding the wildlife found in Michigan and specifically the park itself including fish, reptiles, owls, bats, birds and mammals. A few times a year, special events go on at the park like Nature Fest and a fishing contest. Sections of the park can be rented for a tent but this almost never happens.
During the summer months, typically from late May to the mid-August, the park crew has the option of hiring a seasonal worker. This worker can technically do most of the jobs in the park but he or she is relegated to the task of running the canoe rental. At no cost to the patrons (not directly anyway, although their taxes pay the minimum wage salary), they can rent out any number of canoes. There are eleven canoes available although there are only enough paddles for ten. Patrons receive life jackets, paddles and even cushions if they ask the worker nicely, in exchange for filling out a form with their name, address, and amount of people in the group. The patrons do not have to lift a finger as the worker will drag the canoe out of the storage hut and down to the water. He or she will even push the fully loaded canoe out into the water, that is only after the patrons have questioned the ability of the worker to properly orient the canoe. The worker then goes back to his or her small shack and waits for new patrons to visit, or, when he or she hears the canoes approaching the shore, walks out and drags the canoe up enough so the patrons do not have to step in the water.
For the past three summers, the worker has been a college-aged male who was unable to find another job that suited his interests, but he was still grateful for the job opportunity. When he wasn't sitting in the canoe shack, where he had to provide his own chair, he could be found walking around the park doing various things. Part of his job was to pick up any garbage he may have found so that the park is presentable. He would only do this every day or two because the park did not get many visitors, and thus there would be little mess to clean up. Sometimes, however, he would go to extraordinary lengths to collect garbage like actually getting in a canoe and paddling around the entire marsh collecting empty bottles and snagged fishing bobbers. On an average day, he would get about two groups for canoeing; some days there would be no one while others would have ten or more groups. Needless to say, he had a lot of free time which he would kill with several hobbies. Sometimes he would read books or play Nintendo DS but most of the time he would listen to music or podcasts. One of his favorite things to do is listen to podcasts while hitting a tennis ball with a baseball bat repeatedly for hours.
Some people might consider him a bad worker since he seemed to be playing more than working. He, however, fulfilled all his duties and even voluntarily cleaned up the canoe storage when he saw fit. There were people that did get angry with him though, but these incidents were few and far between. For every time that a person got mad at him, another actually appreciated him enough to give him a tip, something that he did not expect nor feel right taking. The people that tipped him usually were thankful that he helped them in and out of the canoe, or, in some cases, how he had to go out and paddle in a canoe that had flipped over due to actions of the patrons. Most people were nice but a few got angry for some reason, like the lady who got attacked by a duck and blamed the worker because he did nothing, but it was hilarious so you wouldn't do anything either.
His most memorable event while working the canoe rental was when a girl from a school group jumped out of her canoe only a few feet from the shore because she "didn't want to get wet."