Thursday, November 6, 2008

Back in the saddle or why it’s fun to f*ck with the newbies

I have been away from downtown a while now, 6 weeks to be exact, and according to Ro, barn manager extraordinaire, there are a few newbies whom I have yet to encounter.

I love f*cking with newbies, it makes my day.

By now the most recent crop of carriage-drivers-in-training have found their feet— that is to say they have finally gotten past that deer in headlights look.

He he he…

Some have been there long enough now to see the even newer newbies show up and be trained. A couple, Ro tells me, even think they know what they are doing.

That’s where I come in. And for me, it’s where the fun begins.

For example, without even looking at them I can tell you that this weekend none of the newbies will be prepared. Why? You ask. Because, say I, first off it will be cold.

I can break “cold” down in to a mathematical equation:

Cold + possibly damp= the ink in a pen will not write. So, filling out a credit card slip or the driver’s sheet will be an exercise in futility. Unless you have a pencil. Markers or Flair Pens wont work on wet paper.

I carry so many pencils with me that if I duct-taped them together I could fashion a Louisville Slugger.

I also keep my drivers sheet in a Ziploc bag on my clipboard. This keeps it dry. ~A~, who has left us to pursue a career as an OTR trucker has left me a box of them in my locker. I love ya, ~A~!

Newbies, no matter what the season, are never prepared for the weather. They use their personal experiences of walking from house to car and car to grocery store to gauge how cold it is outside.

Yeah, that doesn’t work. Why? You ask.

Because unlike skiing or snow shoeing or some other outdoor activity, when you are standing at South Gate trying to sell a ride, or actually on the box driving the carriage, your “Weather preparedness skills” are tested. Because unlike those activities, you are not moving around very much.

So, the boots which were purchased because they are rated to “Below 10 degrees Fahrenheit” are really only warm if you are walking in temperatures below 10 degrees. Standing around holding a horse on a string— not so much.

I would love to be a Columbia Outerwear test subject.

When it comes to gloves I think I trump everyone. I typically carry 8 pairs of gloves with me. I have a duffle bag that I clip on to my carriage. Why? You ask. Because “waterproof” is subjective.

Then of course there are the accessories I use. Some are purchased and some I had to develop on my own. For example, I use a “Heat seat”; this is an ugly bright orange pad hunter’s use in the field to keep from freezing their ass and kidneys to the ground while waiting for game to sashay into their crosshairs. For me it creates a barrier between the depression in the seat from my buttocks and the pooling of rain or snow. Because, as we all know, water seeks it’s own level. So I sit above the water, thus eliminating what we refer to as “Swamp Ass”. Or, in the winter, Popsicle Ass.”

I tried several “Stadium Blankets” and they have all failed. Some which were touted as “Water proof” are really only “Water resistant”. Others which have a plastic coating get so stiff when it’s cold that the flexibility is lost and I might as well be trying to fold a ¼ inch piece of plywood over my legs. So, no good.

I finally found a thickness of vinyl at Wally-World at is more flexible in the cold, and sewed it to some polar-fleece. This I cover my legs with when it’s snowing/raining and it keeps my feet dry. I also use “Foot heaters” a fun antique I buy on eBay that is filled with charcoal and lit- as it burns it warms the metal surrounding it, we put our toes on it and they stay toasty. I also keep one in the carriage for my customers, a great selling point that really pisses some of the other drivers off.

So while I will be warm and dry, and, unfortunately so wrapped in clothing that I appear six sizes larger than I am, the newbies will be huddled in a ball shivering.

In addition to the cold, there is the boredom quotient. That’s where the newbies come in. I will amuse myself by f*cking with them. They will be too cold to try it with me.

So, now I have to go, because it’s Thursday and that means Ro will call me 147 times today to chat. And that’s okay, except I have 50 or so carriage-driving tools I have to gather and bring into work tomorrow and somehow shoehorn into my locker. So I’m prepared. Because f*cking with the newbies is no fun if I forget something and end up looking like one myself.


Jenn said...

Brrr...I'm feeling all cold just LOOKING at your collection of gloves! Toes are the worst offenders for me...I can deal with chilly fingers, but my toes hurt when they get cold!

Stay warm!

Have fun messin' with the newbies! When we get a new person (or intern, they're the best!) we mess with them, too. Most of them just laugh it off, but we've managed to convince more than one new person that it's tradition for the new guy to buy donuts for the entire office every day for two weeks. ROFLMAO!

Anonymous said...

Most of the messing with newbies I'm familiar with comes in the form of fool's errands, and everyone knows them by now:
Go bring me ten yards of flightline.
Get me six gallons of propwash.
Fetch me a bushel of ST-1s.

And DH once convinced some new engineers that there really is a whisper mode on helicopters. Hohoho!

Maybe not as much fun as frostbite, but funny to us.

Great post, as usual.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, gotta love the n00bs. I remember one particular weirdo that I had one night in some freezing rain, that was the last we ever saw of that one. If you've seen one you've seen them all, pretty much.
Anyway...heh, busting out the foot heater already huh? My mom was saying today it was 24 up there. EWWW!!!!!!!
Awww, I remember the first time it snowed on Wes when I had him out. He went all drunk walk on me. "OMG it's attacking MY FACE?!?!?! WHAT IIIIIIIISSSSSSS IT?!?!?!"

Anonymous said...

Reading this made a tear form in my eye.
I actually miss the Utah cold. Yesterday, I broke out my carhartts to clean Belle's stall. (I found 6 bucks, I always find money stashed in my driving clothes in the fall, maybe that's why it's called a windfall) The thermometer may have said 32, but with the wind chill, it was freakin' cold!!!
Great, now that tear is frozen!!!

Lisa Deon said...

It wasn't as cold this weekend as I was expecting but it still never hurts to be prepare, as Bell's PA knows I carry so much crap on my carriage I look like I'm ready for an Artic expidition. I had a Monkey (trainee) Fri & Sat nights and she had to shoehorn her crap under the box with mine.

At times it looked like the donation box at the Goodwill, a waterfall of clothing spilling out from under the seat.

But I was warm and I never did break out the footheater. Too awkward with 2 people on the box.