Taz: I empathizeâ€¦after spending three years as a hotshot’s girl, anything I did that showed interest in fire was chocked up to infatuation with my HSâ€¦even by him. I didn’t tell anyone but a few very special friends about my plans to get into fire until after my HS and I broke up. Here’s some penny psychology for your boss, though; I think he’s jealous. Every man wants to be a heroâ€¦a secret agent, a warrior, a firefighter. Your boss’s life doesn’t sound all that exciting or romantic (interior decoration not exactly being a high-adrenaline sport) and I think he’s envious of both you and your FF. After all, you’re the kind of people who get books written about them! You can probably shut him up by looking him straight in the eye, arching your eyebrows, looking incredulous, and saying â€œWhy, I think you’re jealous!â€. Of course, my success in fending off such things has been notably spotty, so I wouldn’t listen to me.
We were on one fire earlier this summer, stationed doing structure protection on the rez, and this old Indian guy who must have been about sixty and very drunk decided to tell me that I was most amazing woman he’d seen in a long time. Needless to say, my engine mates, both of whom swear up and down that they were asleep at the time and thus couldn’t possibly have spread the story, told the entire town. The next morning I walked into the cafÃ©, our usual base of operations, and the whole place burst out laughing as the town police chief greeted me with â€œHow, Princess Firewater!â€ and needless to say the story hasn’t slowed down any sinceâ€¦three months later I get charcoal on my face and it’s war paint, and heavens forefend I should get caught by a member of my department in any way associated with beads, feathers, or anything leather. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that romance makes good stories, whether it’s a motivator or not. And that people will make of a situation what they will. I think one of the reasons I got in so much trouble over that incident is because we were joking on the way down that we were going to find some cute little â€œindiasâ€ for my engine matesâ€¦they were looking a little underfed (sarcasm) and could use some fry bread.
For the record, this is not intended to be insulting or patronizing to any group; but Indians are just as romanticized as firefighters, if not more. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.
Nerd on the Fireline