Once upon a previous, peaceful Wednesday, a white truck with a familiar blue logo travelled along the side of a mountain. The vehicle seemed to drive down a road almost invisible to the faraway eye.
From inside the vehicle, the 3 passengers clutched the safety handles tightly while yelling at the driver to keep his eyes on the road, as it was just as invisible up close. One wrong turn would have sent them tumbling down hundreds of meters into the river below. These four coworkers were used to a safe and secure work environment – one with ergonomic chairs and air conditioning, but today they decided to pack up their bags and help their installers stretch a liner across a small pond. “It will be a fun little field trip!” the driver exclaimed. One clutched the marketing camera, her fearful eyes not moving from the narrow road ahead. It seemed like a great risk for just a couple of pictures. Another looked up at the mountain beside him, refusing to look across the vehicle at the drop below. The other looked out his window and down at the river, hoping this field trip did not involve an involuntary swim.
They finally arrived at the site and breathed a sigh of relief as they put their feet on solid ground. Squinting from the blistering sun, they saw the installers were already getting started. They looked at the massive crater beside them. This “small pond” was 30 meters wide by 60 meters long. A fun little field trip.
They got to work rolling out the first layer – a light, white liner – and began covering the hole. What a beautiful experience of laughter, teamwork, hard work and camaraderie, the marketer thought as she stared at them a few feet away, in the shade, through the lens of her camera. The others lifted the liner with ease while nervously eyeing the large, heavy, black liner waiting for them in the corner.
Lunchtime. The four office-mates sat on the tailgate of the truck, chewing on pepperoni sticks and drinking water (the 30-degree heat was starting to get to them) while watching the installers at work directing the excavator to position the large roll of black liner carefully inside the pond.
“That looks pretty heavy.” one commented, opening the 7-layer dip.
“How many people does it take to roll it out?” another asked, grabbing another pepperoni stick.
“The manual says 30.” the other said, munching on a sandwich.
They all scanned the area – counting everyone on site. 16. The marketer looked regretfully at her camera before setting it down. It was time for some real work.
They descended the wobbly ladder into the white covered, 7-meter deep pond. They were immediately hit with the heat of a thousand suns. A fun little field trip.
Three people confidently lined up behind the roll, ready to launch it to the other side in one go. The head leader gave the count down and on three they gave a mighty push and the roll moved.
After a few more bodies and a chorus of grunts later, they had unrolled the liner to the other end of the pond and began unfolding it. The heat made the liner stick together, burning their hands as they pulled it apart.
A fun little field trip.
The next four hours were spent pulling, pushing, hauling, heaving, tugging (and other synonyms) the heavy liner across the bottom of the pond and up the walls.
About 60% of the way finished, a worker suggested that maybe the excavator would have an easier time hauling the liner up the 7-meter walls. Everyone glanced up at the machine (whose current job was to pin down the edge of the liner to keep it from falling down the hole), not sure why they didn’t think to give it a more useful job right away. With the manpower up to 16 people and an excavator, things started to go a bit more smoothly.
Finally, after a day of burnt knuckles, litres of sweat, several bruises and general fatigue, the group emerged from the site smiling, victoriously.
The four office-mates hopped (*hobbled) back into the white truck and began the slow, careful descent down the mountain of doom. At the bottom, they stopped at the river and went for a voluntary swim; washing off the dust and sweat of the day. As they climbed back into the vehicle, they unanimously agreed that having too many fun little field trips would take away from the special-ness of such events. They drove home in silence with greater respect for their fellow installers but also secretly looking forward to the comfy chairs and cool conditioned air of tomorrow.