Today, I had 3 different bosses trying to make me work on three different projects.

Consequently, I got about 1/2 each of 2 of them done (I had to put the other guy off entirely).

Why do so many jobs make you feel worthless? Sometimes I feel like I have no responsibility. Like I couldn't make a positive contribution to the company's bottom line if I wanted to, because my job is specifically designed to prevent it. Granted, I have very few of those days, although I have worked jobs in the past where every day was such a nightmare.

Today (actually, yesterday, I'm revisiting this), I was particularly depressed about not really accomplishing much. I mentioned it in the daylog, and I'm talking about it again here. Other than work, it was a great day.

Not every bad day at work is great otherwise, though. And so I present...


MY WORST EVER DAY AT WORK
Also: How I got the nickname Storm Damage



In September of 1998, I got my driver's license suspended for not paying a ticket on time. Well, since I delivered pizza for a living, having a suspended DL was not a good thing. I went to the county clerk, and paid the ticket, and took the receipt to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get my license reinstated.

It is important to mention at this point that a hurricane was approaching the city that day, and was expected to hit town in the late afternoon. The reason this becomes important now is because I was turned away at the door of the DMV by a note saying everyone had gone home to prepare for the storm, and come back in two days when they would reopen, weather permitting.

Well, as luck would have it, I was scheduled to work that night. Yes, delivering pizza. Yes, in a hurricane.

If you've never driven in a hurricane, it can be kind of scary. It's not like what you'd expect though. Mostly, it's just pouring down rain. Like about 20 gallons hit your windshield between wiper swipes. But then every once in a while a gust of wind nudges your car, and that's when you're in danger, because you tend to overcorrect. And overcorrecting on an oily Florida road in the rain is a bad thing.

Fortunately, this isn't a story of how I flipped my pickup and disfigured myself.

However, i did have to dodge flying debris a few times. And you can't imagine how many pies I had. Sure my boss was a pig for staying open during the storm to take advantage of the "rain rush". We were the only place in town who did. But on the other hand, we did a LOT of business that night, and I cleaned up pretty well on tips.

Anyway, when 2:30AM rolled around and we were closed for the night and I was delivering my last pie, the storm had mostly abated. I cashed out, tired, worn out, really pissed off with stress from working the storm, and in a hurry to get home and smoke some serious pot, squealed out of the parking lot to go home, cutting off a cop.

d'Oh!

Flashing lights, glowering pig. Suspended license, threat of arrest. This cop grilled me. I explained that I had paid my ticket, had the receipt, and tried to take it to the DMV but they were closed, but since he had bothered to pull me over, he wanted to try and get me for something...anything.

This pig was giving me a sobriety test (I guess he has no faith that a professional driver would stay sober on the job), searching me, tearing my car apart searching it, and coming up dry on everything (the herb was at home). I don't remember if he gave me a ticket for not having a license or for my busted headlight (yeah, I got that fixed the next day too), but I felt really oppressed by him.

So anyway, I made it home, feeling like shit, not even really wanting to get high anymore. I got home, to the house I had just moved into a few days earlier, to discover I had locked my keys inside.

I had had it.

I was not going to wait around in the patchy rain all night to call the landlord in the morning. Nobody else had a key, and I hadn't made a copy to hide under a rock yet. So I grabbed a stick and broke a window on the door to let myself in.

The next day, I called up the landlord and told them what happened.

"Yeah, this tree branch blew through the window last night during the storm. I hung a plastic bag over the hole. Do you think you can send someone over to fix it?"

My friends loved the story. They all pointed at the "Storm Damage" I had made and laughed.

Now, I'm a fairly clumsy individual. I tend to break things. Plus, I'm kinda messy. So as you can imagine, before long, my friends would make comments about the "Storm Damage" that had hit my apartment, and woul laugh out "Whoops! Storm Damage!" whenever I would trip over something and break it. It became the running joke about me, and I started signing my emails to them with it, and then using it widely as a nickname online.

Most of my friends still call me Johnny in person, though.

July 18, 2002

17:43 – Per GCOR (Rule 1.28 Fire), UP176/YDA66 called to inform of a fire at ICC Chemical plant.

17:45 – Call Irving PD to inquire about fire status. Told by operator chemical fire was three alarm and to stop train movement. Moved TR567 to W. Irving to comply with GCOR (Rule 6.32.6 Blocking Public Crossings). Withheld proceed indication from TR569 at Medical/Market Center.

17:47 - Stopped BN1165’s movement – informed train of fire and hazardous smoke.

17:48 – Informed Manager of Train Operations (MTO) and Transportation Manager (TM) of situation. MTO requested name and number of IFD Officer in Charge (OIC). Called IFD on line #3. TM wanted exact passenger count of trains in affected area and whether or not crew could “smell” chemicals. Called crews on lines #4 and #5.

17:51 – Took out commuter schedule and began to restructure meets and run times to cause minimal delays.

17:52 – Contacted TR567 and assessed no chemical smells. Contacted IFD and received name and number of OIC.

17:53 – Contacted TR569 and assessed no chemical smells. Contacted MTO and relayed information.

17:54 – BN dispatcher called and wanted to know “Why the hell is my train stopped?” Responded “Late train or dead crew, your choice!” BN dispatcher will relay situation to MGMT.

17:55 – TR570 leaving ITC on schedule and TR568 leaving Dallas Union on schedule. Schedule cannot be completed until railroad is safe. Possibilities – 1) Run trains until most eastern/western station before fire, then turn around. 2) Run all four trains and have meet at "closest-to-middle" stations. 3) Smoke cigarette.

17:57 – Call from TR568 – car struck at Med/Mkt X-ing. Blocking applied per TDM (Rule 60.1 Emergency Events Involving Freight or passenger Trains). Told crew to asses train and vehicle and report back via land-line as of condition of both.

17:58 – Called MTO and TM to appraise new situation.

17:59 – TR568 called via land-line to inform Med Svc needed for person in vehicle – “Looks pretty f’ed up.” Dallas PD contacted immediately and Med Svc dispatched.

18:00 – Call from MTO releasing hold on train movement. Began signal procession to move TR567 and TR569 for meet at SI. Called Signal Maintainer and MOW for TR568 situation. Looked at schedule. Sighed.

18:00 – 18:23 – Redrew schedule as trains ran. Assessed for latest running train and let TR567 be held for most loss.

18:23 – TM called releasing TR568 from hold – track and signals good. Integrated TR568 into “new” schedule.

20:24 – All trains back on schedule – smoked cigarette.

21:00 – Relieved by 3rd Trick DISPR.

21:23 – Finally started car. Went home.

01:10 – Finally could sleep.

GCOR - General Code Of Operating Rules

TDM - Train Dispathcers Manual

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