Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Cleaning the Floc Basins

So I've been hanging out at the bottom of this concrete pit- twenty feet down, where your breath is misty even when it's seventy degrees at the top- with a fire hose and a gigantic wooden squeegee, working with Jeff to stuff roughly a ton of septic black sludge down a sump drain just fourteen inches square. Once in a while I step on a leech or lean against one on a slimy wall, which makes them squirt smelly water. I wear oversized blue coveralls and yellow rubber steel-toed fireman's boots that weigh at least ten pounds, and the ladder is slippery, covered as it is with algae and silty slime. I get sweaty and chilled and sore, blistered and filthy and stiff in the joints, and my nose runs and my ponytail starts to frizz and I feel like I'll never smell nice again. And yet, I repeatedly catch myself thinking, this so beats a desk job.

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