Thursday, December 30, 2004

Dream Job

Had a job once pumping out the lift station at the apartment complex I lived at. The owners of the complex hired me and my roommates to be on call for “poop duty”, pumping sewage when the complex’s pumps malfunctioned.

The lift station was a big concrete tank about 15 feet deep and maybe 10 feet across – the sewage from the complex would flow into it, and these big pumps would “lift” the stuff up so it could flow into the city sewage system. The pumps were always fritzing out, so we’d get a call (usually at 3am it seemed like) to go get the pump truck and suck the stuff out of the station into the truck. Then we’d look for a manhole with no one around and pump it back into the city system. It usually took several trips.

When it happened in the daytime, it was harder to find places to dump where there wasn’t any traffic – and when I did find a good spot it usually wasn’t long before the area residents or businesses started to complain about the honey wagon stopping in their street all the time.

One day I figured out the perfect spot – the owner of our apartment complex (ie, my boss) had just built a brand new office building fairly near by, and the parking lot had a sewer manhole. The tenants were just in the process of moving in, so I figured I might have several days before they got around to noticing.

So on my first day trying out the new spot, a few bits of “matter” fell from the hose onto the pristine black asphalt of the new parking lot. (What we pumped was mostly brown liquid, but we also had a fair amt of “crap, corn, and condoms”.) (I’m sure you were just dying to know that.)

Anyway, I shoved the hose down into the hole – it was about a 4- or 5-inch diameter flex hose – engaged the pump, and wandered off to find a shingle or a leaf or something to clean up the floaters I’d dropped on the parking lot. When I was about 30 feet away, I heard this horrible noise from behind me and turned around to see that the hose had backed out of the hole and was flailing wildly, pumping raw sewage everywhere.

I ran back as fast as I could. I should have just killed the PTO, but I panicked and chose to engage the writhing Anaconda of Sewage in a wrestling match instead – it took what felt like an eternity (probably 30 seconds) to get the thing back into the hole. I sat down in the hot sun and just let the smell steam up from my clothes. When the truck was finally empty, I spent the next hour cleaning up the parking lot. I got home with crap on my shirt, pants, gloves, hat, sunglasses, everywhere.

Shortly thereafter, the owner replaced all the pumps with larger 3-phase jobs that never went out again as long as I lived there.

I will forgo the impulse to make bad puns about how lousy that job was. ;-)


At Fri Dec 31, 10:07:00 AM PST, Blogger No_Newz said...

Nothing warms the cockles of my heart like an Anaconda of raw sewage. And about that “crap, corn, and condoms", I think I threw up in my mouth a little. ;)
Lois Lane


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