Flowers vs Shoes: A day in the not so glamourous life of an oilfield medic.

It’s Friday the 13th and I am now a believer that it is indeed an unlucky day.

After a late start and a drive that seemed as if it would never end, I arrived in Fort Nelson at 2am on Tuesday morning. I managed to get two hours of sleep and then I was off for my first day of the Elleh plant turn-around. In retrospect, I am sure that cumulative lack of sleep and the ominous bad-luck curse of Friday the 13th were the causes behind my latest misadventure.

Each morning, when I turned off the Sierra and onto the 61Rd to begin the final leg of my hour-long trip to the plant site, I was distracted by the lovely clusters of white flowers that lined the roadside. My eyes would glaze over as I imagined how lovely they would look in a Styrofoam cup in the Control Room. I imagined how their delicate scent floated in room, soft and soothing (which just goes to show how vivid my imagination is because anyone who knows me also knows that I have virtually no sense of smell). I could even see the smiles of appreciation from the operators for enlivening their drab environment.

My mind would then begin to imagine that once the flowers were artfully displayed on top of the microwave, the mosquitoes -which are as big as chickens and as abundant as panhandlers on Robson Street – suddenly vacated the premises. WOW! I had discovered the most affective mosquito repellent known to mankind! I am going to make millions when I sell it to OFF (like I said, my imagination is vivid)!

Suddenly my truck radio blared, ”Loaded Bridge 2 on the 61”. My mind snapped back to the present. SHIT! Where the heck was I? I had been so busy daydreaming that I hadn’t been watching the kilometer markings. That is a rookie mistake which can be a fatal one on these roads.

I looked around frantically trying to pin point my exact coordinates and realized that I was well past Bridge 2. Phew, that was close! The thought floated across my mind that maybe I should stop and finally pick some of those flowers rather than just daydreaming about picking them? My love for all flora and fauna triumphed over my anal-retentive need to get to and from my destination with as few stops as possible. Yes I decided, today is the day.

Dutifully, I called over the radio that I had pulled over at kilometer 7. I hopped out of the truck and cautiously surveyed my surroundings, trying to determine the boundaries of the ever encroaching muskeg. There was a moment of hesitation when I wondered if I should return to the truck and put on my work boots? However, after a few moments of deliberation, I concluded that my precious flowers were residing firmly on solid ground.

My eyes lit up as they locked onto my prize and excitedly, I headed straight for the flowers. Four steps off the road and…..my shoes began to sink. I stopped and watched in horror as the cute white and red polka-dots of my favorite pair of shoes actually begin to disappear beneath mucky, sticky slime!

OH MY GOD! They don’t make these shoes anymore. I bought the last two pairs the previous summer! I loved them so much that I even bought a matching pair for my young daughter. Now what will we do? People won’t stop and tell us how cute we are anymore with our matching shoes. They won’t smile and point at our shoes in the grocery store. This might even affect the global economy because millions of women will no longer be inspired to buy matching polka dot shoes for their daughters!

Suddenly, I realized that my mind was on a crash course with sheer hysteria. “Get a hold of yourself Jennifer!” I shouted to myself.

“Okay, you are in this mess now so you might as well make a decision. Shoes or flowers?” I calmly asked myself.

“Shoes or flowers? Did you fall and hit your head today you daft woman?” I furiously argued with myself. “That’s like asking if I want my right leg or my left! Milk chocolate or dark. A black horse or a dapple grey! It’s an impossible decision. No woman was ever meant to make such a terrible choice. Oh the agony”!

“Fine you big retard. Stand there and lament about how tragic the situation is until the last polka dot disappears beneath the mud. Then you’ll really have something to cry about when you try to take a step and your precious shoe stays stuck forever in the mud. With your luck, one of your crew members will drive by and see you standing like a crane in the swamp, perched on one foot!”

That thought was horrifying enough to propel me instantly forward through the muck to the location of my flowers. Triumphantly, I leaned down and snatched up a handful of them and raced back to my truck, thoughts of losing my shoes to the muskeg foremost in my mind.

Once safely ensconced in the cab of my muskeg-free truck, I turned happily to the prize clutched tightly in my hand. The smile on my face slowly faded as I looked down at ugly white weeds. This can’t be right! I looked across the road at the pretty flowers and back at what looked like soggy cotton balls in my hand.

What a rip off!

God is going to get an ear-full when I see him about false advertising!

Moral of the story: Shoes trump EVERYTHING

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