Thursday, March 13, 2008

One gem from the archives

There's a few stories that will survive the test of time from my job. This one goes back to when I first started working after getting my masters degree. I was working on a huge pipeline relocation job that went through Staten Island and several lovely NJ cities. I got to be inside the scary post-modern nuclear holocast land of blue flame smokestacks that's visible from the turnpike. But the best story for that project comes from Staten Island. The night before our field visit I had seen on the news that someone had been attacked by a dog on the beach of either Staten Island or Queens. We get to our pipeline easement that's pretty much surrounded by chop shops and burnt out crack looking houses. The woods and surrounding fields are a mess with garbage and garbage vegetation. Our mission was to delineate the wetland boundary along the easement so that they can get the permits to replace the pipeline.

We pause to look at the easement and I see a large german shepard on the easement looking right at us in our truck. I don't think my coworker saw the dog. The dog is obviously not on a leash and not the friendly variety. I reluctantly get out of the truck and grab my trusty soil auger. At least I have some sort of weapon to defend myself. We spot some recent dog tracks so at least I have proof that there was a dog there. We work our way down to the shoreline without incident. The shore is also a complete mess. It's covered in old staked railroad ties so it's a challenge to walk. Of couse, there's a ton of floatable garbage to make it more interesting. Then I spot a machete lying on the shore. It's a bit rusty but that doesn't stop me. Once I had it in my hands, I was really to go Xena on that dog if it ever tried to attack. I'm sure this machete has many stories to tell...probably a whole lot of real bad ones...but I had my dad sharpen it and I still have it in my field supplies. I've only used it once....actually the intern used it since I don't have the upper body strength to really be able to use it. But it saved the day that time.

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