The thoughts of a chair lift operator: Toby

An empty Toby chairlift today

Page 1 You remember bus blog? When I was sat on a bus with nothing to do, so I just wrote rando crap onto a bit of paper. Well this is the Toby chairlift blog. This is the quietest lift on the mountain. And this is a quiet period of the season so I really have nothing to do right now.

That being said, I did just keep myself occupied a second ago. We have these medical packs in the lift shacks. Emergency stuff stored up here, so if there's an incident, ski patrol has some equipment nearby. And they have oxygen cylinders in. I cannot tell you how close I was to being caught getting high off the emergency oxygen. One person's already been fired this week. And I'm pretty sure that's a sackable offense, so that was a close call. Trail crew do twice weekly checks up here. And I think I got someone in trouble. Apparently the last person to do the checks, left the oxygen pressure on. What was he thinking?

Anyhow, including today, I have just 3 more days of work until what will probably be my only 4 consecutive days off of the season. And I still don't have a fucking clue what I'm going to do with it. My plan last night was to get online & do a load of research into bus times. And even just look at a map to see what the hell I'm actually near to. Like where the hell am I in relation to the US? Where do I get to if I head South? Detroit? Indianapolis? My grasp on US geography isn't the best. But then I accidentally got drink last night, so that fucked up everything. I just want a break from this same routine though. Don't get me wrong. I love my job. Sitting in a warm hut all day with my hands down my pants is what I'm good at. But how many chairs will I see go past me this season? A million maybe? I don't know. I haven't worked it out. But a lot. It's very monotonous. It's like when I was working as a pool lifeguard. It's awesome having a job where you don't do anything. But doing nothing all day takes its strain on you; mentally. Doing nothing in the same place is quite tough. So I just need to take a break & do nothing somewhere else for a few days.

I really don't know where I want to go though. Or what I want to do. Do I want to go somewhere to ski? Or do I want a break from skiing as well? I'm really not sure. I'm outta here though. I might just pick up my passport & get on the first bus that I see, & see where it takes me. Get a bit of adventure in my life. We'll see. If I can get out of here Saturday night, I probably will. Though thinking about it, I'm working the night-skiing on Saturday until 21:00. So unless I'm willing to hitch-hike in the middle of the night, which I'm not especially, I'll probably leave Sunday morning.

I'm working this lift with Laura today. And I haven't had a girl fuck with my head as much as she does, in quite a long time. Last time I wrote Page 2 I was all pissed with her. And I didn't get too far away off calling her one of the dumbest people I've met. Yet today comes, & I'm getting along wih her so well this morning. And now I just feel bad about what I said last time. But I bet you that by the end of the day, she'll do something more, & I'll feel stupid about feeling bad about saying she was dumb. It's the kind of relationship I have with her. I either love her or hate her. Never in the middle. Plus she's hot; & I'm a sucker for a pretty face. So that just makes things even more complicated. In fact she's the only lifty I'd look at twice. Because if I'm pissed with her, the well's kind of dried up around here.

After all this hard work I'm doing today, my lunch break's coming soon. So I'm going to stop writing now so I don't get interrupted in the middle of something. I didn't have time to get though much eh? Maybe I'll write some more when I'm down the bottom of the lift after lunch. Though it's a little harder down there. You have more to do. And if you're really lucky, you'll have a ticket validator who will sit there with you & do nothing. And a couple of the female ones are pretty tasty. So fingers crossed I don't get stuck with an ugly one. That just brings you down.

--- Lunch ---

Well it's about 12:20 now. I don't have any validators working with me down the bottom. So here I am. I got back from lunch about half an hour ago. And just so I did a bit of exercise today, I hit some ice with a pick-axe. That was fun. Pointless. But it passes the time. And I even just took a picture of myself standing by the chairlift. Toby chairlift Oh I can do that, because it's so damn quiet. Fucking love it. And seeing as I knew it'd be quiet enough that I could eat my lunch once I got back from break, I got a pizza slice and fries to take-away, & went skiing instead. I did so on a run I'm not actually allowed to ski on when I'm working. But if no one sees you, then you've done nothing wrong. And that run led straight back to the bottom of the Toby, so it seemed stupid to go down a "designated run." This is line number 10 now since lunch. Not one person has loaded the chairlift since I started writing. That's how quiet it is. I fucking love my job! Apparently lifties now have the option to go home if they so wish. Are they fucking stupid? Why would anyone reject the opportunity to get paid to sit here not doing anything? If I had some time off I'd probably just sit at home writing a blog. So why not get paid to do it? Just got to make sure I don't get caught. But that is the beauty of this lift. No managers ever come here.

For some reason though, no one else likes this lift. I'm always able to trade * shifts to get on here. That asterix marks the first person loading this lift since I started writing. That's how quiet we are. For some reason, no one else likes being here. I fucking love it. I think this lift is 29 years old now. Compare that to the Summit chair & Champagne Express that opened in December 2003, & this is a pretty old lift. It's a rickety old thing. It rattles a lot. And it has about 5 buttons. Compare that Page 3 to the Champage which has a touch-screen computer with more options than you know what to do with. But it has character. It has personality. Both shacks are graffitied up to shit. I think I've read one message dating back to '96. They never get cleaned and never get painted. You should have seen the disturbance caused when someone drew a thin black line in a biro on the wall of the gondola hut at the beginning of the season. Yet here, no one cares. You can read the graffiti to pass the time. It's just a fun lift to work on! Yet for some reason, no one else likes being here. You know what I liken it to? Cool Runnings. I saw that movie a couple of weeks back, which is probably why I'm thinking of it. You know the scene where they finally get their bobsled? The whole rest of the team thinks it's a rusty piece of crap. But the lead guy, the driver, bends down and starts stroking the sled. And in his Jamaican accent, says softly: "She's beautiful." He could see the beauty that no one else could. That's like me & the Toby chair. I cas see the beauty in this rickety old chairlift that no one else can see. And man... I love working here!

Another example. You seen that South Park when they direct a school nativity play? Well Timmy, the retarded kid gets the turkey for the play. And he brings back a retarded turkey with a long floppy neck. None of the other kids want to use this retarded turkey in their play. But Timmy can see the beauty of it. Flip that to this situation, & I'm the retarded child, & I love this retarded chairlift. It might be an old, retarded, chairlift, but it's my old, retarded, chairlift. You can never convince a parent that they have an ugly baby. Believe me. I've tried. Well I don't have any kids. And if I did they'd be beautiful. This chairlift is the closest thing to a child that I have. And it looks beautiful to me.

I've kind of run out of things to write about right now. I'm just looking around for inspiration. Because with over 2½ hours of work left, I'm going to need something to keep me occupied. And apart from the brief influx of Chinese people, it's not looking like getting much busier. Off the top of my head, though, I really don't have much I want to say. This, after having to cut my last 2 blogs short due to a lack of time. Next time I'm working the Toby, I could even try bringing my laptop. Though it might be pushing my luck a bit too far.

My whole philosophy on the working world, is I will always aspire to be the second-worst employee. That way, you can't get fired because there's someone worse than you. But at the same time, you're being paid the same as everyone else, but doing less work. So relatively speaking, you're on a better rate of pay than everyone else. Bringing my laptop to a lift me & sitting online all day, may just promote me to being the worst employee. Which isn't a bad thing, because I would them relatively speaking, be the highest paid lifty. The problem with that, is if I'm the worst employee, I'm the next inline to get fired. And I don't want that. It's a game of chicken. I have to be as shit as possible, without being so shit that I lose my income. Just like if I'd been caught getting high off the emergency oxygen. And as I think I said earlier, Page 4 they've already fired one person this week. So they've obviously got a taste for it, so I've got to be careful I don't get caught doing anything I shouldn't be. Like skiing down an undesignated run. Or stealing oxygen. Or writing a blog on company time. Or urinating against the side of a lift shack. All of which are on my checklist of things done today. It's been a productive day.

Seeing as I'm on the subject, I may as well write about work for a little bit. I don't have anything in the slightest I was to say about work. But I'm yet to find inspiration to talk about anything else. So I'll just roll with this & see what my brain comes up with.

So... work eh! I'm supposed to work for 40 hours a week, nearly every week for the next 45 years. Isn't that a derpessing thought!

That'll do. The sun's suddenly come out. And consequently I've all of a sudden got a bit to do because a shit-load of people have suddenly come skiing. So I keep on getting interrupted as I'm trying to write, which isn't a formula that'll produce any kind of document I'd want to read back in the future. Selfish fucking skiers. Can't just leave me alone can they. It's 14:07 now. So I have less than 2 hours left today, so I should be able to survive the last bit. Writing this got me through the rest of the day pretty quickly though, I have to say. I might try writing at work again in the future. Just got to make sure I don't get caught.

One final thing. I still feel bad about saying Laura was one of the dumbest people in the world, or however I phrased it when I wrote the last blog. And seeing as today is a day where I actially like her, plus she looks smokin' hot, I'd just like to retract those comments. She's not the dumbest person in the world. In fact, by Geordie standards, she's probably something of a genius. But I guess that last time I wrote, I was in a bad enough mood, that despite being really cute, I couldn't let the whole 7.75 thing go. I mean come on! Age 24, & not knowing that 0.75 is ¾. Only in Newcastle.

Anyway. I'm out.

Pictures from the Toby
Are you telling me it doesn't have character?

Toby chairlift
The Toby at 09:16am today, taken from the top lift shack. Not a single person on the lift.

The snowman outside the top lift shack. There's one at the bottom as well. You just don't get things like this on any other lift.

In other lifts you have proper signs. Here people just write on the wall. And they don't even do that seriously.
(Top shack)

I was here but now I'm not
I went outside to smoke some pot
I wrote this poem to prove a point
Life's a bitch without a joint

You even get poetry at the Toby. Good luck finding any such artistic excellence at the Champagne chair.
(Bottom shack)

One must risk something or sit forever with one's dreams

You even get inspiring philosophies at the Toby.
(Bottom shack)

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