Local Eateries: My Natural GPS System

I've never been accused of being a guy who skips meals. One of my favorite perks of field service work is getting to sample local, random fare. In fact, a close buddy of mine lives in Galveston, Texas. We met each other in the oil field and stumbled into the overhead crane business together. He worked in Oklahoma City for a year before trekking south. To this day when I get a call that says "Where ya' at today?" I always respond with the name of the place I ate for lunch. He will immediately cross-reference that with the town and customer. In this instance McClean, Texas was the stop on the way to an install in the Texas panhandle. The food was okay. 

But the highlight was meeting Rosco!

Lunch adventures don't have to end happily or successful. Sometimes the best stories come from terrible food experiences. Be it the decision on an all-you-can-eat buffet when temperatures are heading for triple digits and you have to squeeze into your harness when you return. How about the questionable taco truck that has been catching your eye every time you’re on that side of town? I can recall a multi-day overhead crane install for a customer that had two double wides linked together to form a mess hall. It was STRONGLY suggested that we would not be leaving for lunch once on site, and food was catered in and provided daily. Who turns down free lunch?! Yeah. Well. As you can guess, this story ends in spending $8.49 at a corner store for Imodium AD. Twice.

Whether with your co-worker, family, or a prospective client, breaking bread is a tradition as old as man. While it’s commonly taken for granted, I consider bonding over food a privilege. It builds trust and fosters community. Allows humans a chance to relax, let down subconscious guards, and ultimately create a stronger understanding of one another.

Myself and some other Ace technicians perform monthly overhead crane inspections for a local energy company. During some of the larger maintenance weekends, it isn't uncommon to squeeze 15 different companies inside the facility with some 40+ contractors. We started buying donuts when it was just 5 companies with 15 employees. Though the cost increased, the time we spent having small, "water cooler talk" when waking up over coffee and pastries grew increasingly valuable over time. It provided a platform from which to gain insight into the pipefitter's skill set, allowed us to view "Frank" from a human level, rather than as one of “the electricians," and develop increasing familiarity and trust with those in the same work area who would inevitably be watching our backs. Our breakfast meal served as the unlikely unifier of this group of strangers. Never underestimate the power of a pastry!

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