The Hardest Job in the World…

So maybe this is just a little tongue in cheek, but really, I have no idea how the power/telephone line repair workers in Thailand make any sense of the terminal spaghetti farms infesting most cities and towns in the country. Some of these impenetrable tangles make the mythical Gordian Knot seem like a child’s sneaker laces by comparison.

Seriously, when I look up and see these rain-forest jungles of indistinguishable black wire coming in from all directions to unite in huge chaotic tumors around badly outmatched wooden poles, I’m half impressed and half horrified. I should clarify first that I LOVE Thailand and that although I first noticed these impenetrable forests of wire in Thailand, I have also seen them in other SEA countries as well. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around exactly how anyone could find or make sense of anything in these tangles. I think the people who work on them must be equal measures fearless, patient and well-trained.

Since I know practically zero about this subject, I have no idea whether these lines serve both telephone and power (or anything else), but I’m guessing some decent voltage flows through them. If so I wonder, are the workers able to shut everything off before commencing repairs, or do they somehow avoid electrocution through other means? I recall a street in Chiang Rai completely torn up for re-paving and presumably other repairs. In a torrential rainstorm, a large crew of workers were elbows deep in this nest of wiring. There were also wires down all over in the street being sorted out, replaced and fixed. In that case, it looked like power had been turned off in most stores and buildings, but not all.

It did make me think twice before stepping over and around them in the nearly flooded streets. My thought of course being if the power were in fact switched back on, just how well would the water conduct the electricity? How much voltage would there be? At any rate, my fears were not realized and no one got zapped that day. I still marveled at how difficult and demanding it would be to have a job like that. It must not only be extremely physically demanding, but also one of the toughest jigsaw puzzles ever to sort out. Certainly not a job I would want given any choice. Kudos and thanks to the people who do.

What do you think would be the hardest job in the world?