Full Moons Rising

Occasionally you have to look back and laugh at things which have happened over the course of your life and career.  If you are fortunate, you were able to laugh at the time they happened.  By request, I’ve decided to share one of the many episodes where laughter was the only option (at least for me).

Okay, before I begin I have to say that yes, I know this event could have qualified as a “hostile work environment” or “sexual harassment”.  But everyone makes his/her own choices and well, you’ll see how this one was handled.

Many, many years ago (maybe I should leave out one “many” – whatever), when I was working in a manufacturing environment (and there have been many – so if you try to figure out which one, good luck!), I was involved in an assignment that required me to work on the manufacturing floor (the actual parts production).  If you’ve never been in a manufacturing facility, especially one that is a million or more square feet, imagine walking down the streets of a major city at twilight.  You have large edifices all around you and street lights high above your head casting light and shadow on everything around.  The sounds of machines, people, and vehicles (golf carts, bicycles, trains, and tractor trailers) reverberate around you.

The story begins with a scheduled meeting that required my presence in the front offices of the facility.  The front offices themselves occupied around 100,000 square feet of space and were in a building attached to the front of the manufacturing plant.  My work day began at 3 am in the manufacturing floor overseeing production of component parts in an area at the back of the manufacturing plant – easily half a mile from the entrance to the office complex, if you could walk in a straight-line from front to back.

Well, I began my trek from the back of the plant to the front offices, winding my way around the production activity.  As I walked through the plant, I would “sight see,” checking out all the activity around with the various pieces of equipment and production areas.  As I approached the first major intersection of traffic paths, what did my eyes behold – but a half moon rising amongst the stacks of parts. Yes, a pair of pants at half mast right before my very eyes.

Attempting to be unaffected (and definitely disinterested), I quickly turned my head, eyes straight ahead, and continued to walk toward the office complex.  Naively, I attributed the sighting of the half moon to be merely an unlucky incident that arises much like the occasional service person visiting your home to address the plumbing problem.

As I proceeded (literally and figuratively) to put this incident behind me (no pun intended), what did my eyes encounter?  Not a half-moon, not a new moon, nor a blue moon – but a full moon in all its not-so-wondrous glory.  As you can imagine, I was beginning to get an inkling that something was afoot (I don’t think there is a word abehind).

As I noted the scenery and increased the pace of my steps, I was “treated” to three more full moons.  A record no doubt for any calendar month, let alone a single day in a (my) life.

Having finally navigated my way through the scenery, I arrived in the office complex for the meeting.  As I took a seat for the meeting, I had, without a doubt, a look of astonishment and well, wonder isn’t the word, but you get my drift.  I was also shaking my head and had (I am told) a rueful grin, and of course, that meant that someone had to ask “What’s up?”

I proceeded to say the appropriate phrase would probably be “What’s down?” and explained what had occurred.  The immediate advice and response was that I should report the incident(s) to the plant management.

Now for anyone who knows me well, you know that my mind has a tendency to provide vivid pictures of possible scenarios.  This one played out in my mind something like this:

“Mr. Human Resource Director (Picture BIG former college football player), I know that you really don’t believe that women should be in management or even actually be employed, so first let me say that I’m sure you will probably think  this is all my fault, but it really isn’t.  You see I was just making my way to the front of the plant and well, there they were – scattered strategically along my path – half and full moons I couldn’t keep at bay.”

As I pictured his expression and imagined his response, I reply to the well-intentioned and absolutely correct colleague and said “No way, I’m not telling him. He doesn’t think women should be here.  He does not need more ammunition.”

Well of course with my impeccable timing who should appear, but Mr. Human Resource Director, the one I held so dear!  “What are you not telling me?”

After missing several beats, enough to think of my reply, I responded that “There was an “incident” but no need to be concerned.  Five moons rising, but no need to be concerned.”

His immediate response (which I admit took me by surprise) – “This is not acceptable.  Tell me who they were.”

Again, with impeccable timing and less than wise sense of humor, I gave him my reply. “I’m sorry I cannot tell you.  I didn’t see their faces!”  Now it should be noted that into my head popped a line-up like no other!

And as laughter appeared in my eyes and began to make itself heard, I watched him shake his head and heard these words, said with grudging respect “You’re all right.  What do you want me to do?”

I told him not to worry.  I could handle things.  We had the meeting and as I took another route to the back of the plant, I cast a cautious eye.  Upon my arrival, I shared with the workers my morning adventure and watched my team quickly break to address the issue on my behalf.  Never again to see a moon rise where no moon should be.

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