Going Out with a Structure Fire

August 19th, 2009

As I was waking up this morning I wasn’t sure how my final couple hours would end. I was thinking that I should have ended the night of the Staley fire so I could end on a fire. Before seven o’clock rolled around the tones go off for a structure fire. We could see the smoke from the station.

We got on scene in the ambulance and were made into the backup team. We went to the attic where the seat of the fire was. Eric, who was on his first day back, was on the nozzle and put the fire out. It was still pretty small, but growing. It was lucky that we got there when we did and that the fire was not in the wee hours of the morning when it could have really taken off. I ended up putting in an hour and a half of overtime. So my full-time tally was one year, one month, four days and one and a half hours. It has been a good run.

I got back to the station and got the last remaining items from the station cleared out and headed to Tam’s Place for breakfast with Chia, Keeton, Young, and Pritchett. I left after I was done eating so I could get a couple things done before meeting up with the guys to go to the river. I dropped off my turn outs at the station and went home. I got a couple things taken care of at home and packed my stuff to go to the river.

I went to Pritchett’s place. We were meeting up there. From there Keeton, Pritchett, and I rode together to the river. We got there and made our way to the beach. It is a long haul from the parking lot. I didn’t know how long it was because I had never gone there without being on a boat.

We set up our area. I put on some suntan lotion and we went into the water. We played fetch with Chia’s and Pritchett’s dogs. We were there for hours watching as more and more people showed up. As the college students started to arrive the scenery was great. You couldn’t look somewhere without finding a couple ten-six-sevens. I really enjoyed the scenery while playing with the dogs.

Brown showed up with his boat. We hung out for a while near his boat and then went for some tubing. I hit the water and the rope on the tube was really long, so I was getting whipped around pretty good. I had a couple good wrecks along the way. Including one where I went about twenty feet sliding on the water before rolling.

It was getting close to five so we started to pack up and make our way back home. It was a good afternoon on the water.

I got cleaned up. I waited from BKoe to show up but as seven o’clock was rolling around he was no where to be found. I texted him and he was in Moscow. He forgot he was going to give me a ride to the bar. So I called Pritchett and he gave me a ride down to the bar.

We got there just after seven o’clock. Guys filtered in over the next two hours. It was a going away party for me from the career ranks. It was very nice to see some of these people stop by and wish me well and let me know they enjoyed working with me.

I had a couple guys over the last few months let me know that at first they were not sure what to think about me coming on at first. But they said that I have been a great addition. They really have enjoyed working with me and think that I am a pretty darn good guy.

One guy and I talked for a while about stuff. I remember when we would go on calls together I didn’t know what to think. We talked and all was good. But when we were on shift together at first I think there was the feeling that we didn’t know each other. And as time went on he warmed up to me and got to know me and the same of me towards him. I really think he a good person and I really enjoy talking with him.

As the night rolled on I got some beer purchased for me and we sat around talking, playing pool and darts. When it was nearly eleven o’clock we made our way to TBag. Pritchett was already there. I was given a couple shots of hard-A. I wasn’t really wanting to have them, but I cowboyed up and drank them. We played pool and sat around talking.

Then one guy came up and said the words that I know will lead us to a specific conversation. It was, something along the lines of “It doesn’t matter to me, you’re a good guy, so it really will not make a difference, but…” That is the start of someone wanting to know if I am gay.

With the guy who was asking, I wasn’t sure if he knew or not. But he has been around for a long time so I had to assume that he had heard through the grapevine. He said he had heard some stuff, but he didn’t believe it until he heard for himself. I told him that I hit for the other team. I told him that I don’t really tell people because I don’t want them to act differently around me. I told him I like the fact that when I have been around him for all this time he wasn’t afraid to say things and not worry about offending me. I told him I wanted him to remain feeling that way. He is one of those guys who always says “That is gay” or things like that. He said he sort of knew that something was probably up because I am not interested in the hot girls as everyone else is. He could tell so he figured something was up. I am glad that he asked and now I know that he knows.

I had asked Chia a while back if others on the shift knew. He said he didn’t know. He said that no one would care. I believe that is true, but I wanted to know. I would like to think they all knew and still were the way they were around me. Which would show they are comfortable with me. I just feel like if I walk into a room and people feel like they have to watch what they say, that it would be a strain to be around me and they would just choose not to be around me. I don’t want that. I really don’t care what people say, because I believe you have to choose to be offended. I choose not to be offended by that kind of stuff.

The other Blake came up to me and started to say the same thing. I thought it would all be coming out that night. But before I confirmed anything I had to know exactly what he was asking. As it turned out with him he was talking about something totally different. So I don’t know if he knows. I guess thinking about it now, I am not sure if I just want to come out to those guys and that way I know that they know and I can just get on with things, or continue to play the game I have been playing. I am not sure if I want the reserves to know. I know that some do know, but I always hate it when the new reserves find out about me because it is always something that someone else brings up. Over the years I have had a couple guys ask me straight up. I always will confirm it if they ask. I like it when they ask, because if they are willing to ask they will typically not make a big deal about it at all.

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