Contributing Writer - Rob Catalanotto, Summer Crew Team Member
The last two weeks have been an eye-opening experience for me. As a 16-year-old, my only other paying job was as a camp counselor where the toughest challenge was telling a kid to “Share your Legos". After 12 days of working at Casey Trees, I can say that I am much more used 100-degree temperatures and that my farmer's tan is becoming more pronounced by the day.
One of the most interesting parts of our work day is getting approached by people on the street. Usually the people are simply passersby wondering what we are doing. At this point, I know how to explain in a succinct way why we are using an upside down cone to pour buckets of water into strange-looking bags.
However, there are times when people just want directions. I may be good at explaining what Ooze Tubes are but when it comes to giving directions, no matter how well I know the area, I am a miserable failure. Usually, my directions are so detailed that the person leaves more confused than before.
Other times, I don't know where I am and in my wholehearted attempt to help the person, I send him or her in the wrong direction. This actually happened today, when a man walked up to me, looking rushed, and asked me how to get to Rhode Island Avenue. I looked at the street signs and decided Rhode Island Avenue was north of where we were (just like the state!). I pointed in the direction that I was sure of, the man thanked me and left. I felt good about helping the stressed looking man until a few minutes later I saw him walking in the opposite direction that I had sent him in. Clearly he got more reliable directions after speaking with me.
At that moment I decided I would only give directions to my Crew Chief - using a map of Washington D.C. - for the rest of the summer. Hopefully by then I will have a better feel of the city, for the benefit of myself and the unfortunate people who happen to ask me for help.