There are three aspects of operations for me.
Pre-ops: I get ready with this sense of tight-stomached dread. Things don’t run well, things don’t work right. I break open engines and try to fix them but they just won’t cooperate. It’s an endless struggle that has me going back in the room over later hours, turning everything on and checking it out. It’s never good enough, and like an actor playing a well-known role, I still feel like puking. I hate getting ready for ops!
Ops: Everyone is tooling up, train 920, the Salinas crew, the yard master, everyone’s brake-testing. The freight agent tosses me a thumbs up and we start our clocks together. And the trains are running. The little transport model goes through the motions, trains doing their functions. And I’m busy, answering questions, fixing problems on the fly, getting the crews in, getting throttle for people, reminding crews of small functions they will need to perform. But mostly questions, questions, questions. Around me, the railroad moves. I love watching the trains cross the division, mostly on time and task!
Post-ops: It’s all done. Everyone has gone home. Industries have new cars to load and unload. Generally everything is where I wanted to go. The engine house is quiet. Everything is still. I look across it all and think, “Wow, we did it”. I’ve done my best to provide an enjoyable session and am now basking in the glow. I love the stillness of my life after the session is done.
So, yes, I’m not hot on hosting but given that I enjoy the event, I enjoy the glow, and I like inspiring others to run (and having guests over), I guess I’ll keep doing it.
I’ll have to bookmark this so during next Pre-ops, I can read this again and remember why, why, Oh Christ Why I do this…