If you work on a bridge, by all rights you should be as skinny as a rail. Once you’re on the job, it’s not like you can run down the street on a whim for doughnuts. As a matter of fact, if you abandon a drawbridge, I’ve been told, the Coast Guard can fine you $10,000 dollars and/or give you 10 years in jail. Impeding the transit of vessels, especially commercial ones, is a HUGE no no. I’ve never heard of them actually ever imposing those penalties, but that possibility was frequently drummed into our heads in Florida. No one ever says anything about this in Seattle, even though we are bound by the same Coastguard Federal Regulations, but the bottom line is, it’s very, very bad to leave a bridge untended.
So if you forget your lunch, you’re pretty well screwed. I’ve done that before. It has taught me to leave a power bar or two in my locker for emergencies, because 8 hours without sustenance is a long, miserable time. It’s even worse when you forget to bring something to drink, because while every bridge I’ve been on has running water that is supposedly potable, I wouldn’t stake my life on it. No, I bring my own.
One time during a typically hot Florida summer, on a bridge where the water was slightly brown and stank of rotten eggs, I forgot my thermos, and I called my boyfriend and asked him to please, please, please swing by and drop off a jug of orange juice or something, anything, because I had about a half inch of Dasani water left and that was it. He said he would. Nothing makes you feel more thirsty than not having access to water. So I waited, and waited, and waited. No boyfriend. I called him again.
“Oh, you meant bring it to you at work! Oh… well, now I’m on the other side of town and I’m about to go to bed, so… sorry. It’s in the fridge.”
Un-freaking-believable. I mean, who does that? I could never do that. I rationed that half inch of water and cursed my existence (and his) all shift long.
But knowing how impossible it is to indulge cravings on a bridge, it often surprises me that most of us are overweight. Yes, it’s a pretty sedentary job, but is it really that hard to leave the snickerdoodles at home? If you’re trapped for 8 hours someplace and all you bring is healthy food, you should be able to control your diet better than the average drudge who actually gets a lunch hour and has access to snack machines and Starbucks.
I really can’t blame the job. I actually do eat very healthy food when I’m there. But then I come home to an empty house and don’t exercise and I eat my frustration and lonliness. So no, I’m not a size three. I’m a bridgetender.