Monday, January 26, 2009

Private Benjamin

First, if I have to explain who Private Benjamin is, you're clearly up past your bed time....move along and find something else to read, because no explanation is forthcoming.

The drill du jour (is it wrong that Tuesday nights are fast becoming my favorite night of the week?) this week was not really a drill per se; we had a company rep come in and demo the Holy Grail of SCBA's. The MSA (may we have a moment of reverent silence for the MSA) is, to my inexperienced eyes, the Cadillac of air packs. This thing does everything but make julienned fries.

I tried it on with the mask and couldn't believe the difference between it and our Scott packs. It's like comparing a Yugo to a Porsche. Holy comfortable Batman.....and then you have the air regulator, which slides into a notched area off the bottom of the mask and hangs there until you need it, then you just flip it up and it snaps right in.The fumble factor has been reduced to sits on your lower back/hips, so no more shoulder strain, and the mask doesn't fog....ever. Here's what I thought was the coolest part--you can cross fill an air tank....and then walk buddy breathing required. Oh, and when you're changing the bottles? You basically can just drop/slam it into the threading gyrations trying to find the clip.

Then we got the price tag and after the black spots dancing in front of our eyes replaced the gleam of avarice...we all smiled politely and put everything back the way we found it.

Maybe if we win the lottery.

On a major positive....our department is going back to Cairns helmets.

Right, so after Mr. MSA clears out, we move on night. I know that every drill night isn't going to be something practical, or fun, or neccessarily useful....and I'm a bit of a clean freak, so normally I dive right in, but they brought us outside to ......The Pod. Have I mentioned in previous posts that I have spider issues?

The Pod is a storage container out back of our department that hasn't been cleaned/straightened out since before the invention of the wheel. It started out as a semi-fun treasure hunt: "Look! I just found the front wheel to a motorcycle!!" But then we started hauling out all the boxes to move a rack and that's when the eight-legged denizens of the Pod went on the move. EVERY single slightly sodden box I picked up dislodged a herd of arachnids....and these filthy buggers were BIG...and they were FAST.

I managed to repress my initial urge to run screaming into the night.....until one of my fellow members sidled up to me and said softly.."I don't want to freak you out, but don't move.......ok?" The blood ran cold in my veins and my breathing halted....."What is it.....ohpleasegoddon'ttellmeIhaveaspideronme" .

My arms were full of two cases of antiquated souvenir mugs from the 1994 convention.....he says....."I can't get it, it's kind of buried in your hair". I froze.....and then (either real or imagined) felt it working its way toward my scalp.

I screamed at an audio level that only dogs could hear.....the two cases of mugs hit the dirt (astonishingly enough, only one broke) and I leapt approximately four feet in a straight vertical jump....this was followed by the requisite flailing at my hair and begging the question "is it out? is it out? is it out?"

One hour of our line officers smirks at me and says....."I think we finally found your nickname.....Spider" .

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