When the weather is nice and its all warm and sunny and lazy in the evenings, it sucks for ops. It’s hard to get turnout, and given my hectic workday, I’m just fried by ops time. I had to dig for that enthusiasm.
Dinner with the boys helped. It was also cool that the layout was pre-cleaned, that it all set up quick, that people were in their posts. Had a couple of newbies running with us and I noticed that throttles and engines were easily loaned out. My more experienced guys jumped in to ride with them (rather than run trains themselves). All the jobs were clicking through their paces and everyone was getting things done while having fun. And that’s good for a light-attendance session.
The thing is, I’ve been playing the Trainz simulator recently – its so very easy to sit in my chair and run a train. No muss, no fuss, no cleaning, no scrambling to make sure the jobs are staffed. Power sources don’t fail, turnouts don’t break, and you don’t have to duck under or stand waiting for a warrant on hard concrete. It’s nice and easy fun.
Still, with all our confusion, there is a certain companionship one gets from such a club. I’ve run with some of these guys for a quarter century. I’ve been a pallbearer, I’ve loaned money, I’ve had to do a lot of things I’d rather not. But something makes it all worth it when it all comes together for a session.These guys have made this session work, with years of working on the pike and paying dues and doing what it takes to keep our roof literally over our heads. And by the session’s end, even though I’m still tired, it’s a good tired. It’s the fun of socializing and shared achievement.
I was reflecting on this while locking the front gate, only to find out that the guy doing overwatch for me picked up a screw in his tire. He managed to pry it out and pump it up with a portable pump. Against all my expectations, he limped it home while I escorted. Even though he stopped once and told me it was fine, I was more than happy to make sure he made his gate and got home safe. Because that’s the thing; we’re club members and we do that for each other. That’s more than a hundred Facebook friends will do for you.
Yeah, and it was a great ops session, too.