Friday, March 28, 2008

What I do for a living. And why.

I just don't feel like posting about war and politics today.
You've probably seen the news, or read the paper, or surfed the web and seen the latest news from the Mess-o-potamia. In case you haven't, here's the Cliffs notes version:

1. The Maliki government (i.e. the Tehran-aligned Shia factions) is hammering two umbrella groups in the Basra area: Fadhila and the Sadrists.

2. They may be doing this because the U.S. doesn't like Sadr's people's anti-occupation views and are worried that the Sadr trend might do well in the upcoming provincial elections.

3. They may be doing this because Tehran is getting pissed about Sadr's successfully going off the Tehranist Shia reservation and doing shit like cutting deals with the IAF, Dialogue Front and Allawi.

4. Or it may be both.

Anyway, it's up to y'all to decide if it's worth Yankee blood and treasure to decide which Iraqi loves them some mullahs better than others. As for me, Dick Cheney and his entire AEI/neocon pack can kiss my ass. My country has been led by some knaves and fools before, but never for this long and never as knavishly and foolishly as by these peckerheads. This tears it. The Iraqis just snatched Dubya's cunning Middle Eastern plans off the table, rolled them up and stuffed them up America's jacksie.

Can we just impeach the stupid fucking sons of bitches now?

Instead I thought I'd tell you a little about what I do.

I am what in this state is called a "registered geologist" (RG); some states call them "licensed geologists". Basically, like a massage therapist with an "LMT" after their name who gets paid for squeezing your gluteus, the fact that I can call myself "FDChief, R.G., C.E.G." means that I get to do dirt and rocks for money. Your money, if you're building a house or if your existing house is falling off a hill.So this is a typical day in the field for me: going out into some perfectly lovely farm field to dig holes, look at the dirt, collect samples and logs and soil and rock data so an engineer can design foundtions for houses and strip malls and porno book stores and cellular towers.

Occasionally I think of myself like the last swallow before the winter. If you're a bird or a bunny and you see me tromping up your hillside in front of that excavator, you'd better start selling your burrow or favorite perch on CraigsList. Cause it probably ain't gonna be there tomorrow.

Or the more sinister image in my head is of a little village somewhere in eastern Hungary in the spring of 1241. The sun has warmed the soil in the valley and in the fields the ox teams are turning the steaming black furrows over. Smoke rises from breakfast fires, the villagers are moving about their work as they always have, for to work is to wring a living from the land.

And in the edge of the forest, at the top of the ridge, a single horseman reins his shaggy steppe pony to a halt in the shadows. Invisible in the dappled gloom under the trees only his eyes gleam with a predatory light.

He is the first Mongol they will ever see.But even a Mongol does what he does as well as he can. And I do it well, and enjoy it. So I tromp past, with my field bucket in place of a pony and my notebook in place of a horn and sinew bow.

The bucket is a neat little tool: I got the seat and the carry strap as a gift from my ex many Christmases ago. I may not have the pre-Mommy anymore but the bucket is still part of me; full of pens and pencils and Sharpies, baggies, gloves, soil knife, pocket pen and torvane. And the occasional sandwich and trashy paperback novel.

So imagine: I get paid to tramp out into the country, enjoy the hills and fields, watch the birds and animals. I play with dirt and get paid for it. Is that sweet, or what?Of course there's more to it - there always is: lab testing and interpreting soil data and designing and running slope stability models, writing reports and doing graphics and setting up projects and dealing with people from hairy dudes with excavators to attorneys trying to get their client someone else's money. But the field work is the fun part, at least for me.SoI love my job - perhaps a leetle bit more when it's sunny and warm than when I'm out screwing in hand augers in the driving rain.

Even the sailor comes home frome the sea, and the hunter home from the hill. And who wouldn't want to come home to these little sweeties?The truth is that I love what I do, and I love the challenge of doing it well. And I love our home and my family and the lives we're building together.

And isn't that really what it comes down to? Living, and working well and hard, and at the end of the day holding those you love close so that you can all grow, each in your own way, but together, like the many turning channels of a great river running dark and deep down to the sea?


Mrs. Vandertramp said...

Finally. I've been searching for some sign that there are people who love what they do - glad to hear that you are one of those rare entities. Want to come to the sandbar and come up with some way to inject some bedrock into our environment to reduce frost heave in our roads??

atomic mama said...

Clearing the way for development is SO much fun. I love it, too!!

RG's kick ass. So do "non-R" G's (I'm married to one).