You know how some people have amazing jobs and when they describe them, you wonder how they can even call it work? I do not have one of those jobs.
This week I went up to Porterville, CA to do an energy audit of the Porterville Developmental Center. For those of you unfamiliar with what a developmental center is, it’s a nice way of saying, “sorta prison for crazy people.” Remember when we used to call things what they were and didn’t sugar coat them?
They have a section that is fenced off with thirty foot high fences they call “forensics.” This houses the residents that have committed a crime but are unfit to stand trial, or as one of the employees said, “Or they just have really good lawyers.” In here you stand with your chest out, look tough, and try not to make eye contact with anyone.
So while trying to avoid getting hit in the back of the head with a hammer by the residents, it was terribly hot. The weather up there was above 110F and to make matters worse, my particular portion of the energy survey involved the steam system. Steam is hot. You’re with me so far?
My entire body is covered from head to toe just from being there. Then I had to step into mechanical rooms, which are probably 120F from the heat radiating off of equipment and avoid burning myself. Finally were the steam tunnels, where steam was leaking like crazy and the temperature read above 140F. They offered an ice jacket and an “elephant hose” to blow outside air right on you while you’re down there. I suppose 110F air is better than the 140F air down there, but either way it’s miserable.
Just to throw a monkey wrench on the whole thing, I came down with the flu on the second day. My nose wouldn’t stop running, and I kept having to make frequent stops to the bathroom. That was just uncomfortable, but it’s work. I wasn’t the only one doing the survey, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to be the one to hold the job back.
Now I’m lying in bed, feeling like crap. My clothes are still wet from sweat from yesterday, smelling terrible I’m sure. At least I can take satisfaction in knowing that my work is done. Actually, I’d prefer to go with having done and incomplete or mediocre job and feel like a million bucks.