OTY: Sweepers could ruin your day. The river erodes the banks, toppling trees clinging to the edges. These trees don’t fall all at once so they linger, hanging over the current while slowing losing their grip. In the horizontal position, these trees pose a threat to both the freight on deck and the boat crew. If not cut down, they can sweep cargo off the barge, wrecking havoc on board. Each trip down river, we had to go out in the pilot boat to do the trimming since new obstacles would certainly appear, given the erosive force of the river. If you held the saw in your hand, you needed to move quickly since the barge was always just around the bend in the river. Though I love trees, starting up a chain saw brought immense joy. The roar of the saw shattered the stillness. Wood chips flew as the teeth sliced through the rings. For a few moments, I was Edward Scissorhands in the wilderness. And then I headed back to the boat for hot coffee and cinnamon rolls.
OTA: I had the tools, and I was ready for the challenge. The wooden chopsticks were an extension of my fingertips, responding to my sensitive touch. The spoon was at the ready to scoop in the broth as I displayed tremendous ambidextrous culinary sophistication. The waiters lined up like Olympic judges checking on our every move. My reputation as a culturally competent epicurean was at stake. What if we got invited to the Captain’s table and I slurped broth across the table cloth? The noodles were not responding to my commands. Like a pit of vipers, they fought me at every stab. Fork Please.