Friday, January 9, 2015

Starting the New Year with Respect

When you hit the wall. Climb over. 

Revisiting what I had not intended to be my last post- fueled by exasperation with the culture- I had hit that life-wall full-on. I needed time to say "Thank you Lord for my trials" and mean it.  

Living in the land of picking tangerines and lemons off trees in what passes here for winter, it is easy to take things for granted.  

I live better than rulers of yore, writing from my windowed study where  hummingbirds dash in the distance between feeders and flowers. If the pantry is low, we can run to the grocery store a few blocks away. On a lazy night or when the deadline is coming faster than the words, we can choose which side of the street to order from. Will  it be In and Out or  Ranch House Cafe  for a tasty hot meal?  

We have it good. And we take it for granted. 

Every day people get up to go about their jobs. Some of them quite dangerous. They may be called  by family tradition or sense of duty to work in conditions or do jobs that I am certainly glad I never was. Not for the hours. Not for the conditions. Not for nothing.

About Careers posted a listing of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the United States- all by deaths per 100,000 persons,(figures circa 2011) 

1.Fishers and related fishing workers, 116           
2. Logging workers, 91                                         
3. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers,                  
5 Farmers and ranchers, 41                                   
5.Mining machine operators, 38                           
6. Roofers,  32                                                       
7.Refuse and recyclable material collectors, 29    
8.Drivers / sales workers and truck drivers, 21     
9. Industrial machinery repair and installation, 20
10. Police and sheriff's patrol officers, 19             

 At 19.1 deaths per 100,000,  just missing the list is Oil Field Work. 
North Dakota morning at negative 40-something degrees. The work for people begins before the sun starts its labors.  It is a world of starkly bitter beauty, where one mistake can cost more dearly than a deposited paycheck.

Imagine having to wear to work gear to protect you against everything from a flash freeze to fire. In fly-over country weather, wearing a Burka would not do you much more good than wearing a bikini- too much skin exposed. 

This is a job where love waits at home. It's not a job where at the end of the day, a dog greets you with a wiggle and a waggle. The accouterments of gracious living are by requirements of the occupation: delayed gratification.  
Reno- career lap warmer
As a writer, most days I work in scruffies- oh- that's my dog.

This is the challenge for those of you as spoiled as we are with good weather- the next time you are wearing a tank top while topping the gas tank- send a shout out to the universe- God bless the men and women whom we may never meet, but are viewing the cost of gas at the pump from a different viewpoint. One as valid to their well- being as ours is to us. 

Send up a thank you for the respect they deserve for manning-up to miss holidays, school plays and family gatherings- so we don't have to.  

Not just for oil field workers. Not just for the list above. But for everyone who is taken for granted. 

In this New Year- Peace be with you all.

Photos from personal files. For more on the dangerous job info, click here.