Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Comfort Zone

Dressing up in leathers, as they are called, and being in an atmosphere of steel, figuratively and literally, I’m experiencing a new thing. I want to be incredibly girlie. I want to wear a diaphanous dress made of baby blue chiffon. I yearn to let my hair flow delicately behind me as I run barefoot through a field of wildflowers. In this image I include purple, yellow, and blue butterflies fluttering overhead.


I know, cheesy picture but too fun to pass up.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Description Play

Fall is flirting with these early mornings—cool and crisp.

This early morning, a cool breeze fans the machine shop. Floating through the air, remnants of former sparks land on my jacket and chaps as lightly as snowflakes. When I catch one in my hand, it doesn’t melt into water, instead it smudges like charcoal.

Blue-flamed torches send a waterfall of yellow sparks pouring towards the concrete floor. Some sparkle and then turn to black dust before they hit the ground; others hit the cement and die out completely. The sparks are unpredictable. They have been known to wiggle inside a glove causing blistery burns.

The torches burn so intensely it’s like staring at the sun. Different shades of dark lenses, depending on eye color, are supposed to prevent blindness.

By nine am fall has retreated. The sun burns away any coolness, the wind blows warm and dry. The seasons start later now.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Idenity Twist

Luckily I wasn’t the one who had sprayed my hair until it could walk on its own. But my silk blend blouse gave the men in the shop a stroke. Sparks. All it would take was one wayward spark to make its sneaky way towards us and set us on fire. Who would have thought?

So to be one of the interpreters in this program, I must wear a formless leather jacket, a cap, safety glasses, leather gloves, clunky steel-toed work boots, and worst of all, leather chaps. None of these pieces of fashion are made for women. Women do not need chaps to have a baggy codpiece in the front. There is a bonus though: there is a double guarantee that sparks will not ignite around anyone.

Sure does take the fun out of a day.

Every morning I spend an hour getting ready for work—hair dryer, curling iron, eyeliner, mascara—that kind of thing. And when I arrive, I change into my get-up tucking my hair into my cap, and stuffing my feet into those silly boots. When my turn is up and I pass the baton to the next interpreter, my hair style is ruined, flattened against my scalp. I do have my priorities straight.

Fashion isn’t the issue. It’s really being in this predominately all alpha male world. The other day, I wondered why these alpha males were giving me such attitude when I was dressed to look like them. Apparently, I wasn’t playing the part well enough.

 My coworker told me my communication style is like I’m asking these alphas to join my kumbaya circle. She has cracked the alpha male code. She said if you speak to these alphas as a reporter, then their invading feather receptors will return to normal. I tried it. I clomped up to the alpha males, and reported the facts of the day.

I learned the proper response. Nodding. Not just any nodding, but one nod, no smile. In alpha male language that is being agreeable. Yawn. Makes me understand why men fall asleep so easily.

This is going to be a very long year.