Saturday, June 5, 2010

Time to Change Brains

For the first time in a long time I have to leave town for more than a couple of hours. I was sitting here relaxing and thinking about the upcoming drive to a neighboring state to visit family I haven’t seen in about 20 years. We’ll probably be gone for 8 hours or so, but that is enough to lose touch with what is going on in ‘the District’ and possibly miss a big job. It has been a lot longer than I realized since I left town. Usually I have the occasional 1-3 day business trip, a visit to the State Fire Academy for several days, or some sort of weekend vacation or activity. I don’t think I have been out of pager range in the last 6 months now.
I’ve been in town so long now that it’s hard to drop out my brain and relax. Spending the day with civilians that have no idea of what I do back at home makes me feel a little awkward and it is at times like this when I realize that his job has a profound effect on me and the way I see the world. Each time I go away it gets harder and harder to change brains. Every time I find myself in the Academy Dorm, or a hotel room in Texas or Chicago I relax because I know if nothing else, I will get to sleep through the entire night without the pager waking me up.
I have cousins 2 states away that I visit every couple of years (not the subjects of today’s trip), but even when I visit them I am mostly in my normal alert status because one of my cousins is Chief of the local Fire Department and he understands me better than most, as I do him. In addition I have been visiting that area since we were all kids and spent the summer days in jeans, work boots and no shirt out in the fields cutting and baling hay. Good times, and it feels like home when I go there even though some of the fields are growing condos now. The last time I visited him was for an LODD funeral of one of his people. I will be seeing him for a weekend next month and maybe this time I will hop a ride on one of his calls.
Today I’m going into a city-suburb environment that is very foreign to me (hell, they have hydrants ALL OVER their district!). They have lots of traffic and strange driving habits ‘down there’. Lets see if I can still change brains and fit in.

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