It’s 8am, we’re two hours late to a job and weaving in and out of rush hour traffic at 90mph on a Thursday morning. I’m just trying not to focus on how grim this will turn out if we clip one of these commuters and go out of control to our deaths, so I’m writing this with the WordPress App on my phone. You think climbing is dangerous?
This shit is dangerous.
I woke up at 4am feeling pretty wrecked, and was psyched that John didn’t answer. We started carpooling to work again because I never learn. Let me tell you briefly about my adventures with “John the Electrician.”
When I first started working with John he drove this creepy old travel van. We called it the “rape van.” It was the type of van that makes you worry for your children when you see it creeping down the street.
One morning at rush hour on the 8 west we were going close to 70mph when John saw a pallet sitting on the shoulder and decided to swerve across two lanes of traffic like a lunatic and run it over. 10 minutes later we sat together on the concrete divider arguing as to the cause of the blowout. He claimed it was faulty tires; I claimed it was stupidity. We make a great duo.
After the rape van died we started rolling around in some shotty Toyota pickup that was a shade tree mechanics masterpiece. John decided to mess around with the torsion bars and screwed up the alignment, which caused a heinous death wobble when the truck went anywhere near or over 40mph. We relied on that death machine for 4 months. Everyday I was grateful at the end to be alive!
The last incident was on the 5 south on a Saturday coming back from Oceanside in fast moving traffic, 60mph, when the drivers side wheel went flying off across the freeway. We went into a violent skid and erupted in laughter as we watched the tire blaze past us and across traffic, miraculously not hitting a single car. I’ve used more AAA tows on John than I have myself.
On this day we’re both tired and wrecked and crawling around in some sketchy restaurant attic taking apart live boxes trying to diagnose and troubleshoot lighting circuits in the dark and balanced on 2×4’s. I had to pull a V1 boulder move off a high stepped ladder just to get up in the damn thing. The crux was not breaking the fire sprinkler pipe.
I made that mistake once. It was a mistake that sent me off into dirt-bagdom for quite some time. I was fishing a wire in another heinous attic that was way overly crowded with HVAC ducting, orange residential PVC fire line, and insulation. I made one final reach and what I thought was a 2×4 was actually a T junction on the fire sprinkler pipe. One moment I had the wire in my hand, and the next I was getting slammed in the face with 90lbs of water pressure.
Within 3 minutes John had shut off the water main, but the damage was done and half the condo was flooded. I think I aged about 7 years that day. It was the event that really pushed me over the edge.
I can’t count how many times I’ve almost died at work or on the road. I’ve almost cut off fingers, poked out eyes, been shocked to death, crushed under cars, flipped on man lifts, or fallen off roofs. I had to quit wearing my electricians bags because every time I wear them my legs go numb. We were in the attic on this job and John was like, “oh it’s so nice how my back hurts, because now I don’t feel the pain in my neck and sciatica. It only hurts on the side now.” I laughed so hard that I lost my balance and almost fell through the ceiling.
Yeah, free soloing ain’t shit. I’d be psyched to die climbing or in the mountains rather in some attic doing a service call, or on the freeway rushing to work.
And trust me, I don’t plan on dying anytime soon. I’m just sayin’…