A Day in The Lifeguard Life
9:00 Jason wakes up to that tacky disco alarm that drives his girlfriend so batty.
Jay is unhappy.
9:01 Without opening his eyes he feels around for his phone, soon batty noise will be stopped... soon he will have peace.
9:02 He hits the first button his finger touches.... blissful silence...
Jay is happy again.
9:12 Jason is irritated as it seems the noise came back just like the cat in that dam song.
Jay is unhappy.
...If Jason were the owner of the devil cat he would just leave it out behind the Happy Fortune Chinese restaurant a couple of blocks down. He always sees posters for missing pets around it...
Jason figures the only way that cat could come back would be if he ordered for delivery wonton soup.
9:13 This crazy cartoony thought pulls Jason slightly from his lethargy.
9:15 Jay shuts off the alarm and still in that half awake sleepy fog that threatens to pull him back into the blissful darkness of slumber he presses speed dial for Kits tower.
9:21 again... click... buzz... "Kits Tower"
Jason does not open his eyes, which can be dangerous because Jason has been known to have entire telephone conversations in his sleep.
"Hello it's Jason"
"Hang on a second Jason"
In the ensuing wait Jay feels the tendrils of sleep like gentle silk scarves wrapping around him, like the caress of a lover slowly taking him.
Jay wants to go with happy-sleepy-love.
9:24 "Locarno beach 11:30"... click
"Have a nice day to you guys too" Jay mutters into the dead line.
Jay does not want to get out of bed, he thinks it will be cold out there.
Jay is feeling grumpy... Jay is not a morning person.
But Jay is happy. He likes Locarno beach. He used to run the Junior lifeguard program from the guard shack there a couple of years ago. Quieter than some of the other locations they could have sent him, like English Bay or Second beach.
Jay likes the characters that work there. The head guard Craig Jacks and his brother Terry Jacks wrote the Beach Boys song "We had joy we had fun we had seasons in the sun" and apparently they still get like fortythousand US dollars a year from royalties each. The second guard Randy Minor is an amateur stand up comic, owns a huge private Dj service, and got married by Elvis in Vegas.
Jay likes anyone that is still married that got married by Elvis.
9:30 Jay scarfs down a bowl of raisn bran (that tastes somewhat stale) that Lorena's mom insisted on giving him. (So he can only conclude it was bought when Lorena was still in highschool and it spent a few uneventful years in the bomb shelter basement of hers before her mom re-discovered it and decided Jay could use it.) He tops it off with a cup of coffee in his CUPE#17 cup that he took from the Richmond union because they never do anything for him except take his money, and then screw him.
The irony amuses Jay.
10:00 Jay is stressed running around looking for a uniform that he seems to have forgotten was unceremoniously discarded on the bathroom floor the evening prior as as he headed for the shower.
10:10 Jay locates his shorts and stuffs them into his pack and then goes on a quest for the bike lock.
10:30 Jay leaves his apartment and goes out onto the sidewalk. It is already 27 degrees.
10:31 Jay is happy. He takes off his shirt and puts on his helmet.
10:41 Jay arrives at Main and Broadway and jumps on the 99 B-line where he puts the bike on the rack, and rides to Sasamat St. The female bus driver looks at him like a piece of meat.
Jason likes this.
10:45 There are lots of young female students on the bus. Jay is happy. They look at Jay's lack of shirt-ness. There are also a gaggle of scrawny chinese guys in suits. They are sweating... Jay pitys them.
10:55 James calls to chat with Jay, James got second beach pool, he will probably have to do three pullouts today. Jay tells James he got Locarno. Jay will probably have three BBQ meals and and a nice lax afternoon. James calls jay a bastard.
Jason likes this.
11:00 Jay gets off the bus and thanks the driver.
11:05 Jay goes into one of his favorite coffee shops on Alma and forth. The tall redhead girl at the counter sises him up. Jay thinks it is because she is going to bitch at him for not wearing his shirt in her shop.
11:06 The redhead apparently recognizes him from when they both worked at Whistler. Jay is happy. She gives him her number and they talk about their old friend who they used to call "Space Coyote".
11:10 Jay say's he'll call. He is lying, Jason is a good boy. He thinks about Lorena yelling at kids in kyaks for a while, this makes him smile. Lorena is fierce.
11:20 Jay arrives at Locarno beach guard station. Craig is pouring him a cup of coffee. This makes jason very happy, Craig is Jay's new best friend. The red light is still on indicating that no guards are on duty. Craig ribs Jay about his wrinkled uniform.
Jay sips coffee and doesn't mind.
11:21 Jay and Craig are Jawing and sipping coffee wile Randy sets the tower up. It is very windy, nobody is on the beach. The tide is way out, there is almost a kilometer of tide flats. Jay figures if anyone wanted to go swimming they would have had to start walking about the time Jay left the house.
This thought amuses Jason.
11:25 Jay is wrapping his radio in plastic. He uses lots of tape. Plastic and tape cheap... radio expensive. Jay is pleased with his logic.
11:30 It seems to be a nice quiet morning. Jay flips off the red light and heads down the beach to the Centre tower. Randy is there looking out past the flats at a black dot in the channel. Jay grabs the binos.
11:31 Jay is running full sprint across the tide flats pulling the lifeguard scupper behind him.
The scupper is heavy but Jay doesn't notice.
Mud and tide pools splash everywhere. Jay's wrinkly uniform is getting muddy, Jay notices because the mud is slimy and gritty. Randy is on the radio declaring a rescue.
11:39 It takes a long time to get to the victim, Jay is very winded. As he approaches he asseses the situation. It is a red haired woman with a spattering of freckles, she is clinging to her kite-board with one hand. She isn't waring a PFD, and seems to have be partially wrapped in her submerged lines. She is tangled and can't free herself. It is a miracle she is alive, if she had lost her grip on her board she would have slipped under and drowned long before anyone could reach her. They are way out in the channel, closer to the freighters than the shore. The wind is strong and the water is choppy.
Jay doesn't think much of the woman's intelligence.
11:40 Jay manuvres his scupper behind the victim, but the wind and waves are making it difficult keeping the scupper in position. He gives the woman his rescue can and tells her to stay calm, and that everything will be allright.
Jay still doesn't think much of the woman's intelligence.
11:41 Jay calls the tower. "Kits tower, Kits Tower Locarno mobile" His lungs are burning from the sprint out here. He is glad he used alot of tape because his radio works. He relays his position and situation.
Jay still continues to not think much of the woman's intelligence as he waits for the response.
The tower calls Jericho rescue.
11:42 The tower radios Jay. Apparently it is still too early for Jericho rescue to be on the water. They are launching now but their ETA is 30 minutes. Jay is buisy untangling the woman from her wayward kite so he doesn't answer right away. He thinks from now on he is going to cary a pocket knife at work. Nylon lines are a bitch.
11:45 Jay has freed the woman from her kite and has her on the can towing her into Jericho beach (he incomming current has carried them a long way Locarno is now a full kilometer behind them)
12:00 Jay and the hot, yet not particularly intelligent kite surfer arrive at Jericho. Jay relays his position to the tower. Her boyfriend is freaking out having followed from Locarno onshore.
Apparently he doesn't swim at all, Jay wonders if Darwin was onto something...
Jay tries to catch his breath but fails miserably. He calms the guy down as he asseses the womans condition, and checks level of consciousness, ABC's and secondary drowning, Once he is sure she is OK and that an ambulance isn't required he educates them about the importance of wearing a pfd and makes the boyfriend swear to take her to the hospital to get checked out.
12:20 Jay paddles into the wind back to Locarno. It takes him a long time.
Jay is UNHAPPY IN THE FACE.
12:30 Jay arrives back at Locarno beach and drags the scupper back into position on the tide flats. He can smell himself... a combination of armpit and sea salt. He did his job, and he feels good about himself that he was capable. He also thinks he could have done better and resolves to shake up his workout routine with a bit more cardio.
1:00 Craig rotates Jay off and Jay has to do the paperwork. While he was gone Randy put a bottle of Tequila in Jay's locker. Randy thinks it is pretty funny. Craig promises to buy Jason a beer after work. Jason likes this.
...Jay hates paperwork.
1:30 Jay's bro Alex calls. He is going to come down after he is done work and bring stuff to BBQ. Jay is happy in the face.
2:00 People are angry that the concession isn't open, the beach-goers are hungry. Jason doesn't work in the concession and can't do anything about it. He wonders where the concession guy is.
2:30 A rookie guard named Mike shows up and Craig tells Jason to give him the orientation. The rookie is all nervous and jittery. Jason makes him paddle to the mile marker and back... twice.
2:35 Jason is putting a band aid on a pretty girl in hoochie purple sunglasses. She flirts shamelessly with him. Her boyfriend looks irritated in the extreme. Jay is used to flirtyness at work. He wonders in an abstract and offhand way why he never got this much attention as a gas jockey.
2:40 Jay says goodbye to flirty beach hooch and irritated boyfriend in his most professional grown-up voice.
3:00 John Hardy Jay's friend shows up and we go three towers on. It is getting busy.
3:30 Alex shows up meandering down the beach, no shirt on happily getting rid of his T-shirt tan. He hangs out for a bit, talks with me watches me guard these kids as they swim to and from the raft. He tells me about this book he is reading.
4:00 Jason goes on dinner break. Al & Jay fire up the BBQ and throw down with some jumbo dogs, ruffles, Oj, and antipasto. We have a important conversation about Jay's future and how the ripple effect will disseminate through the fam, Al in particular.
4:45 Alex's phone rings. Eliz is looking for us to show us her new car. Alex puts his shirt on because he is ashamed of his tatoo and helps Jay clean up.
5:00 Elizabeth shows up in a brand new Honda Del Sol. Jason misses his drivers license.
6:00 Jay goes out to his tower and guards, the sun is descending on the horizon and the glare is terrible. The heat rays come up from the glare and down from the sun in a wicked angle that seeps under his umbrella and tilley hat. Jay feels like he is sitting in a microwave.
6:25 Jay is out of water in his bottle.
7:40 Jay is still on his tower starting to get lightheaded. The bump is 40 minutes late. He calls on the radio for a rotation before he loses his ability to focus. Jay knows it is bad politics to call on the radio for rotation because it points out that someone isn't doing thier job. Their are too many kids, so he does it anyway.
8:00 Jay and Mike start the clean up. Oil the boats, pull down the signs, bring in the dog water bowl, sweep the guard station, start putting equipment away, check the crash kit and o2 levels, write the daily shift log and stat reports and file them in the out box.
This includes Jay's rescue report.
9:00 Jay's co-workers take him out for a beer for his rescue. Jay invites Alex because he is around the beach someplace.
9:45 We arrive at The Beach Rugby club. We have three or four rounds of Keiths India Pale Ale. John and Craig pay for the whole thing, even Jay's kid brother Alex's.
10:30 James called Jay. Apparently it was quiet at Second Beach. Jay appreciates the irony.
11:30 James shows up and has a few shots with Jay. James pays for it.
12:25 Jay arrives at home, strips naked and has a cool shower. The coolness feels good, after all the time in the sun, and heat. Jay washes his hair, his head is itchy from sand... Jay wonders briefly how sand could possibly have gotten into his hair.
12:26 Jay is watching his hair-sand go down the drain. Jay likes his life.
12:30 Jay has a cup of mint tea and reads for a while.
12:50 Lorena calls and tells Jay about her day. Lorena makes Jay smile alot.
1:00 Jay goes back to his peaceful-sleepy-love.
Jay is happy. He likes that he does something with his life that he is good at that means something. He is poor, but he doesn't care. Someone is in the world because he showed up at work.
Life is good.