Excursion 59, Part 2 (The Steel Mill)

I never worked at a factory.  I did, for a few months, between my graduation from college and when I went off across the country to graduate school, work at an oil refinery, which at least is another industrial setting.  That was the summer of 1988, which not coincidentally was the last time I was shaven; the refinery prohibited beards for safety reasons.   I did a variety of things there; some clerical work, some gopher work, some light manual labor, so I was not bored. I find it difficult to imagine myself in something like an assembly-line job, doing the same thing all day long; I think my personality is not suited for that and it would be very hard on me.  Other types of factory work are much more varied.

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Excursion 11, Part 2 (There and Back Again)

In which our intrepid hero reaches his destination and begins his return to the Shire…

One consequence of growing up in the desert is that I came to enjoy rainy days, rare as they are there.  This, I discovered, was an attitude quite foreign to people living in the Midwest, where I have lived for the past quarter-century.  Yet even so many years later, cloudy days do not depress me as they do so many others and I get a thrill every time a thunderstorm occurs.  Ohio gets its fair share of thunder and lightning, but the most impressive lightning show I ever saw occurred in El Paso one summer night in the mid-1980s.  I left the house that evening on some minor errand, driving on a wide-open street with an expansive view.  The storm had already begun and lightning lit up the entire sky.  Indeed, so many simultaneous lightning strikes were occurring each second that it was almost like an eerie artificial daylight.  I was virtually the only person on the road, so the whole display seemed as if it were some sort of special show just for me.  I have never forgotten that moment.

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