Sometime back in my late twenties, the Universe thought that it would be wise/ humorous to give me a position in a manufacturing facility where I would be in charge of managing about twenty or so persons of the male persuasion - all of whom were twenty years or more my senior. Looking back, I realized that I didn't know Jack. (Many years later, I am still not 100% certain that I know Jack; but I definitely know more than the old me.)
One of my key responsibilities during those years was oversight of the shipping and receiving operations - and all that goes along with dozens of trucks moving in and out of the facility on a daily basis. It was quite the indoctrination into the world of management. Some of the highest highs and lowest lows of my career happened during those years. I came out a little older, with a lot more gray hairs and hopefully somewhat wiser.
The first time that I truly felt that the Universe was upside down in that job came several weeks in. When one works in certain industries, it is a given that certain types of events take priority over all other activity. Process disruptions. Manufacturing unit breakdowns. Spills. Every day planned activities come to a stop and its all hands on deck until the problem at hand is resolved.
It started out as a normal February morning. Meetings. Area walk through. Conversations about the prior night's issues. Then the call comes in over the radio. There had been an issue with an incoming delivery - the truck apparently had not been secured tightly and had been dripping commodity down the highway.
When you work at a chemical plant and dripping liquids are involved, it gets a lot of attention. Regulatory agencies and emergency response groups are involved. State police and fire departments stop by. Between responders and on site support, over 75 people were involved in transferring the contents of the compromised truck and ensuring there were no further issues. Everyone who was anyone was in that parking lot making sure all went well.
Now, let me backtrack a moment. One of the most vital accessories in a plant environment is the plant radio. Since these are primarily phone free environments, radios are a critical means of communication. Every where you go, you can hear snippets of conversations coming out of the radio speakers.
As noted, there were a whole lot of people paying attention to this event. In addition to all of the activity, there were statements to be taken, reports to be drawn up and administrative tasks to complete. Of course, pivotal to all of this information gathering was the driver. Except. No one could find him. Anywhere.
We knocked on the door of the tractor. Searched the driver area. Checked the break rooms. Scoured the unloading area. This man was no where to be found. After a period of time, one of the site managers decided to check his truck again thinking that maybe the driver went into his sleeper cab and fell asleep (although, considering all the activity going on around his truck I had a hard time conceiving how this would be possible). He knocked. Still no answer. He opened the door and stepped inside the cab.
A short moment later, he steps out of the truck with a very red face and starts speaking into his radio. Remember those plant radios that could be heard all over the site? Well, the mystery of what happened to the driver was soon unraveled and all across the plant, 100+ sets of ears heard that the driver had been found. In his truck. Asleep. In his birthday suit.
Somehow, this gentleman thought it was appropriate to strip down and take a nap in his altogether right in the middle of everything.
I think we were all surprised.
That was certainly not the last time I was surprised by unexpected behaviors, but it was probably one of the times most burned into my memory banks.
This week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe surprised me too but in a much less unnerving manner.
I wasn't sure how I was going to like this dish comprised of leeks that were cooked until tender and bathed in a vinaigrette and topped with grated hard-boiled egg.
The recipe called for baby leeks but only the monster leeks came out of hiding. They were sliced in half and tied together with a string while taking a bath in boiling water. They did their job admirably - in spite of their monster size. A simple mustard vinaigrette (minus the walnut oil, because the bottle I thought that I had was MIA) added a tang that paired well with the mellow flavor of the leeks. For me, the real "take-away" from this week's recipe was the grated egg on top. I don't remember grating an egg on anything before. I liked it. A lot.
Yep, when you put it in perspective, realizing that grated eggs are delicious is a much better surprise than finding Mr. Birthday Suit Truck Driver taking a nap. Just saying... (I bet you were wondering how I was going to tie that one with leeks, weren't you?)
Peace out. XOXO
This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie. A variation of the recipe can be found here.