Sometime in my early twenties, which was also sometime in the nineties, I got a job as a First Aid Attendant in what’s known as The Oil Patch. I mostly worked on drilling rigs, but I occasionally did some pipeline and plant work, and once some seismic.
Drilling rigs were nice because they were 24/7 jobs, so I usually had my own shack, or at least half of one, whereas the other jobs were day jobs (AKA Truck Jobs), and I usually had to sit in my truck for twelve plus hours. Because I could never master the art of wearing sunglasses while “reading” an opened newspaper (a friend of mine could do this; said one guy, “I can never tell if you’re sleeping or not.” She usually was, but she could wake up before they got too close), it wasn’t that much fun.
Sure I got to read lots, and sometimes the road-radio chatter was amusing, but truck jobs didn’t usually come equipped with toilet facilities of any kind, unless you counted the trees. Have you ever seen the forest in the muskeg? A wheat field in the spring would provide better cover. Anyway, I digress, and this topic could be a whole other story, so I’ll leave it for now.
Back to the drilling rigs.
My second job ever was on a Bach-Camp job. In other words, the guys could stay in a nearby hotel (which was in the middle of nowhere on the Alaska Highway, north of Fort St John), but I had to stay on site in a shack 24/7. It was me, the Consultant for the Oil Company, the Tool Push (Rig Manager) for the Drilling Company, and a Geologist. I was the only woman.
I had my own shack, which was nice. I had to cook my own food, which was really nice because at that time I was a vegan, and camp food sucked—all salads came with ham or bacon.
I had a TV, but I didn’t have my own satellite receiver; I was tied in to the Consultant’s receiver, so I had to watch whatever he watched. His name was Chester, and I secretly called him Chester the Molester. Before you panic, let me clarify that he never molested me. I just called him that because he was always winking at me, which, when you’re the only girl around for miles on a rig staffed by men that are called Rig Pigs for a reason, makes you a little nervous. I was extra wary at all times.
Conversations with him would go something like, wink “Hi Spinny” wink. “I saw you out walking” wink today.” Wink “Where did” wink “you go?” wink. Chester’s winks didn’t occur fast enough to be mistaken as facial tics, but he winked a lot.
Anyway, I had to watch what Lester did, or more accurately, whatever he left on while he wasn’t watching. There were four options: movies (the rarest of them all); The Golf Network; a news network from somewhere that had NOTHING whatsoever to do with our region (or country, for that matter) and that looped the exact same half-hour newscast ALL DAY; and porn. Porn was the most frequent option, so I didn’t watch a lot of TV.
One day I had the TV on for background noise because it was golf or news, but it definitely wasn’t porn for once. I was carrying on with my day, and I happened to look outside at just the right moment to see Chester the Molester walking from the rig to his shack. He went in, closed his blinds, and within one minute, porn was on my TV.
How is a shy, nervous, never-makes-waves, young girl to handle such a situation? Well, it was the end of the month, so I waited a few minutes, and then, playing ignorant, I took an invoice over for him to sign. ;)
I let him keep the pen.
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