Archive for the ‘BP Oil Spill’ Category

Tosha: the full-service representative

July 22, 2010

By David Farside

In some ways, the doctor’s office reminds me of a nightclub. Everyone goes to a doctor to feel better and the club-goers just want to meet people and feel good. As it turns out, if you want to feel better and meet some interesting people, the place to go is your doctor’s office.

Recently, I visited my practitioner of medicine and, as usual, experienced the one-hour wait before I even got weighed in or made it to the magazine rack in the holding room. I asked the nurse about how long it would be and her reply was, “We’re really busy but it should only be a few minutes.” After glancing through an outdated Time magazine, I still had enough time to think about the conversation I had with a woman I met in the reception area.

She was in her 30s. Her tinted blond hair was perfectly quaffed and her face was painted with artistry. The perfume she was wearing either originated in France or the local dog pound. Her short miniskirt barely covered her upper thighs and her tank top didn’t leave anything to the imagination. At the end of her crossed legs, spiked high heels completed the wardrobe. It appeared she thought she was going to a nightclub, not the doctor’s office.

As she sat there, her eyes were darting around the room seeking out a victim to satisfy her ego. Naturally, our eyes met and the conversation began.

After the customary cordials of dialog were established, I could see her appearance was not a reflection of any lack of common sense. She was well-spoken, bright and intelligent. To say the least, she was gregarious, easy to talk to and had her own ideas on the BP oil spill and politics.

She was born and raised in Louisiana. Most everyone in her family worked for the oil industry doing business in the Gulf of Mexico. To the disappointment of her parents, she married a shrimp fisherman resulting in a family feud between the “oil families” and “fish families.”

In the late 1940s when oil companies completed their first offshore oil well, many fishermen protested and predicted that sooner or later their livelihood wood be threatened, if not eliminated, because of oil spills. Her husband’s family was one of the main original decanters.

Communities and environmentalists on the coast were divided. The traditional lifestyles surrounding the fishing ports were being threatened. The older generation wanted to preserve its fishing heritage and the young men wanted to earn more money and increase their standard of living. Oil companies took advantage of the divide, luring workers and baiting the locals with high salaries, good benefits and job security. Now, with thousands of oil rigs in place, some attitudes have changed, but not her husband’s family’s.

Since then, the fishermen and oil companies have co-existed, providing an economic balance between fishermen, tourism and industry. But the government’s handling of the gulf spill has divided communities again and created more distrust of the federal government than the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Like most, she blames the U.S. regulatory system and BP’s negligence for the disaster. She also blames President Obama, whom she voted for, for not taking control of the situation sooner. She claimed Obama should have sent members of the National Guard immediately to work with the Coast Guard and BP to create brumes protecting the environment. He should have listened to the advice of Louisiana’s Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal. She claims that, for political reasons, Obama didn’t want to appear too friendly with Jindal because Jindal might oppose him for the presidency and become the second consecutive minority in the White House.

It was interesting listening to someone who had roots in Louisiana and what they had to say about BP and Obama. It was obvious that I had misjudged her intellect by the way she dressed.

Unfortunately, the conversation ended abruptly. It was her turn in the holding room. She said she was on her way to work after her doctor’s visit and quickly reached into her purse and handed me her business card. She asked me to call when I had time and we could finish the conversation. Sounded good to me.

The business card had a print of some kind of a wild horse or a mustang on it. She advertised herself as “Tosha, a full-service representative.” I haven’t called, yet. At my age, I wouldn’t know what to do with a full-service representative.

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