Friday, January 03, 2014

I Just Work Here

"CLEARANCE ON HIGHWAY BRIDGE OVER [redacted] RIVER FROM [redacted town] TO [redacted neighboring state town]," read the full text of a customer's email, submitted through our agency's website, that came to me for handling yesterday.

Any worthwhile job involves a little detective work.

So, first thing, I pulled up our agency's maps, Google Maps, Bing Maps, whatever, of the bridge in question. There are no overpasses within that expanse. So, I reasoned, the customer must be inquiring about clearance over the roadways spanned by the roadway specified. But there aren't any, no grade-separated crossings, none. The highway neither crosses, nor is crossed by, any other highway between the two towns mentioned.

In fact the only thing it does cross is the river mentioned in the customer's email, a dammed-off reservoir in popular use as a recreational boating and fishing facility. And since the customer lives in a coastal city, and gives an address whose street name has a nautical theme, this must be a boating question. Right?

Well, my employer doesn't handle boating, unless you're talking about commercial shipping. Which this clearly is not. Still, first rule of my job is IT'S YOUR JOB. Kind of like Fight Club, only it's Tourism Club and there is no right answer because whatever, I get to punch you. Bwah!

I spent a lot of time doing research yesterday afternoon. I looked up boating charts from the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard. I checked in with Texas Parks & Wildlife. I made phone calls to the local area office. I looked up information from private marinas in the area. I thought about calling a local fishing charter service incognito, pretending to be a tourist.

Finally, from a river basin water authority (Stephen the water management specialist is my new BFF, by the way), I was able to obtain the required information. I sent it to the customer. I felt like a god. Who's your mama? I. I am your straight-up resourceful-as-shit mama, beeyotches. Bow down to the master!

This morning I got in to find a response from the customer. "Actually, I was looking for information on transporting my motor home," he wrote. "We figured it out. But thanks for the info!"

Hey. Any time.

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