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Talladega Tank Monkey (Wannabe)

I got to drive to the lovely Talladega, AL, yesterday. It is a truly beautiful place. It's hard to believe that twice a year, it is covered in drunk, sweaty, obnoxious rednecks (which I totally admit to being on a daily basis, and I'd love to be one of those lucky bastards sometime, but tickets are so hard to get). It was mildly amusing to me that the "gas station" was about 10% gas station and about 90% souvenir store. It was rather cute, actually. They do love their Nascar! But, the real beauty of Talladega is on a South-bound road. As I was driving South on Alabama Hwy 77, I looked up into the far away view, and I saw the most inspiring mountains. The ridge stretched for quite a long ways wide, and there were several layers of it that were farther and farther out. It looked like a painting. The closest was darker blue. Above it, there was a medium blue farther out. And above that, a light blue--almost the color of the clear sky--farther out. It really made me stop and just appreciate driving in the country. I wish I had the sense got gave a gnat because I would have pulled over to take a damn picture. But I forgot my camera, anyway, so, oh, well.

The reason I was in this fairly tale land was not so charming. I was in Talladega to climb into some hot, wet, icky water tanks. These tanks had been out of service for quite some time, and the water department wants to put them back into service. So, we were there to inspect them. This was my first chance to be a tank monkey. I've always secretly wanted to be a tank monkey, but I was still really scared. It's a long fall if your ass slips. Luckily, these tanks were ground level, but from the hatch on top of the concrete tank, you'd be falling around 25 feet to the concrete floor below. That would not make for a good day. I was feeling like puking by the time I was supposed to be getting into the first tank (it was hot!). And, like I said, these tanks hadn't been used for a long time. The hatches were welded shut, and had to be cut off. The ladders on the inside were rusted and coming off the wall. So, I'm already scared shitless. And, then, I get in. I'm excited. I'm really excited. But, I can't reach the next rung on the ladder. I reposition myself. I stretch. I look down. I'm an inch away. But. I. Just. Can't. Reach. Damn! The problem is that there is a top ladder attached to the hatch area (which is about two and a half feet of concrete on top of the roof), and there is a ladder that goes the rest of the way down to the floor. They are not connected, and the gap from the bottom rung of the top ladder and the top rung of the bottom ladder is not the standard distance. The rule is that if you don't feel safe don't do it.

I want to believe that I really tried to reach that rung. Maybe I did. I hope I did. I felt like I did. But maybe there was a part of me that was too scared to keep going. What if I slipped? What if I fell? What if I died right there in a concrete water tank in Talladaga, AL? It just wasn't worth it. I hope I get another chance to be a tank monkey. I really think it is pretty cool. I have a lot of respect for people who do that crap all day every day (like the contractor who was out there cleaning out those tanks getting them ready for us to inspect).

Note: While looking for pictures of cute, little monkeys to put on here, I realized there are some scary looking monkeys out there! Do it. Google "monkey" (in images) and see what scary shit you get. Don't say I didn't warn you. Those little bastards are freaks!

1 comment:

  1. I didn't realize this little monkey's dickiedoo was showing when I picked this one. I just thought it was cute! Oh, well...


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