On Patrol with Izi's Eyes
<rescues of inspiration>
Stripped (short version) The Lifeguard:
Inspiring others by leadership is an art from DJ’s prospective, it takes courage and failure is an option, but you gotta try. Despite all the experts, lectures, books, seminars, webinars. It’s also about being inspired to take inspirational risk, in the most unlikely places in moments in time. Foresight, nurturing future inspiration, before it actually happens, in its self, is inspirational.
Morning team meeting done and the scurry begins as the crew disperses out through the vast garage and outdoor parking area, stocking up on first aid kit items, checking the rescue packs, and all the busyness. DJ jogs upstairs, a few more quick phone calls, Marina hands him a printed file, forms, notes, etc., in a zip plastic folder and she uploads the final days schedule on the mobile App as DJ grabs his gear, keys to the rescue jeep. He pauses for a second to read the neon colored post it note (1st assist/week? ;-). DJ realizes how lucky he is with Marina. Small and round in stature, mother of four, with all the bright jewelry, gaudy makeup and long florescent finger nails, she moves from phone to computer to printer to organized stacks of files and folders with a ballet grace and she remembers everyone’s details and disperses a barrage of reminders and updates to individuals with what DJ calls fairy dust and smiles.
As DJ makes his way through the crew on the ground floor, organizing their gear, and all the chit chat, hi fives, fist bumps, he grabs a few goodies from the catered breakfast buffet donated from a grateful parent, gratuitous gesture for their child’s rescue the day before. Out through the locker room, through the garage to the busy parking area, the A team squad is assembling, organizing the Jr’s and volunteers for the day, dividing into teams and that check, check double check in motion on everything before departure.
The Lifeguard jeeps and several trailered RIB boats are parked, cleaned against the fence, as DJ hops in the Captain’s jeep, a turn of the key, checks his messages on his phone one more time munching down a mouth full of food.
On the other side of the parking area DJ notices a young teenage girl, one of the Jr. Volunteer Lifeguards, sitting alone on one of the boat trailers under the shade of a tree, with one of the Lifeguard manuals in hand. Eye catching natural bright red-orange hair neatly braded into two pony tales shoulder length, (a little bit of that Pipi Long-Stocking look), thin, lanky, wearing reading glasses, braces on both rows of teeth, a bit of acne, white milky skin, covered in light brown, orange freckles, with an extra thick layer of white sunblock cream from head to toe. It’s blatantly obvious she’s one of those people that will never sun tan. Never, maybe get a little pink, sun burn for sure, but tan, not a chance.
She definitely doesn’t look like any of the other Jr. Water rescue crew making her an easy target for taunting and discrimination in the world of teenage social status. Dressed with the all the official water rescue gear, shirt, cargo shorts, red cross rescue logo, swim fins at her side, and Jr. rescue qualification patches evenly displayed on her rescue back pack, proper shoes and a long key chain clip with little trinkets of neon dolphins, whales, fish, sea stars and mermaids dangling from the side of her first aid backpack. She has the full kit, a well prepared Jr. Lifeguard.
DJ pauses, stares, and thinks back, he’s seen her last week taking out rubbish, sweeping the station garage and cleaning windows, typical duties for first timer rookies, new recruits. And then it dawns on DJ. He heard from some of the other senior Lifeguards that some school kids from the sailing club were verbally mobbing her to tears, cruel harassment on social media calling her “geek of the week” comparing her to looking like an alien and other cruel names school kids conger up.
Even though she doesn’t seem to have a social network or friends here, she still shows up dressed in all the official gear clean and pressed and on time every day. Flash Back; Oh that’s right, Marina told him she was the girl that spent half the day helping her in the office in tears because some boys were teasing her that her uniform shorts don’t fit because she’s too skinny and has no butt. DJ meant to follow up on the harassment. Its issues like this of team morale, core team values, no discrimination and spotting and nurturing potential talent that DJ prides himself on and is known for.
Sitting alone and out of place she is obviously pretending to read the Lifeguard manual and looking around as if she’s waiting to be called or assigned into one of the teams for the day. DJ takes a breath as he gazes he can see and feel a mix of that teenage uncertainty, fear, sadness, rejection, neglect and loneliness mixed with that; I want too, yes I can, yearning for a place somewhere on a team for the day. He knows the feeling from his youth as Jr. Lifeguard. Pick me please on your team, but you can’t beg for it. And then you go home at the end of the day in uniform sit at the family dinner table and the questions come across, “how was your day? What did you do”? And then you have to fib and say, “oh good, ya, I learned allot” and hope the discussion changes.
He knows exactly what this is. No one chose her on their team, maybe an over looked soul on the duty roster or both.
If she stays at the Lifeguard station she will be tasked with cleaning duties and helping Marina in the office again and sent home at midday. No Glory there.
She has that lost neglected puppy dog look, alone and waiting, glancing around, yet willing to except that she’s not chosen again, in the teenage not wanted zone. She’s Trying to look like she’s busy studying the rescue manual, knowing that all the so called cool more popular kids got chosen for field duty.
Being shy, looking different and not being one of the loudest birds in the nest so to speak in a busy team environment on a schedule, sadly will get some souls overlooked at times, or misunderstood as unmotivated for whatever reason. It’s not a perfect equal opportunity system.
DJ can feel her isolation, yet he sees there’s a fire in that lonely soul to do whatever it takes, to keep coming back day after day, despite the sometimes cruelty, discrimination and segregation school age kids can dispense.
This whole picture is not good for a young woman’s self-esteem.
DJ slips the jeep in gear and drives slowly over to the boat trailer where the lanky teenager is perched. He stops, lifts his sunglasses up on his bandana forehead, and ask “what’s your name”?
The young freckled teenage girl is surprised in an almost shock and awe hesitation moment. She stands and answers, stuttering for a second or two, trying to put her words in the right place, “uhh, ahh, my, my name.. is…. Isabel”.
DJ can’t help but notice she has big, unusually large, almost Asian shaped almond eyes with pale white blue irises with dark blue outer rings, bright orange long eye lashes and reddish orange eye brows that have that airbrushed painted effect and covered in orangey rust colored freckles from head to toe illuminated by milk white skin almost adding a kind of speckled, freckled, three dimensional effect to her appearance. At first glance its striking, one has to look twice. No wonder she has so much sun block on, she burns easy, it’s just the way the genetics lined up. She’s obviously not from around here.
Even DJ thinks to himself “wow how did that happen”? And he detects a bit of Scandinavian accent in there, maybe.
It’s important to note here; the wish of every new Lifeguard and more so Jr. Lifeguards dream come true moment is to be Captains first assistant for the day, or even luckier, Captains first assistant for the week. Usually reserved for Jr. Lifeguards with more experience. If a Jr. Lifeguard gets that opportunity it etches ones position in the hierarchy of teenage social status for years to come.
In that calm, cool, baritone voice DJ looks straight at her and ask “can you drive a boat?” Her jaw drops open showing both rows of multi colored braces, her eyes start to tear up slightly as if she’s been just shocked by winning some sort of lottery prize.
There’s a moment of a tremor, quake and shake, in a wave for a second.
She nervously nods her head yes and unzips her rescue back pack and shows DJ her boat training certificates neatly sealed in plastic. DJ motions her over and looks at the boat crew cert, with the first aid cert, first phase swim qualification, Jr. rescue certifications all neatly organized and sealed in plastic. At the end there is a cert for the ten meter free dive and a notation for 1.57 minutes underwater swim test at over 80 meters distance. (impressive).
Isabel has just turned 16 years old and has been working hard adding to her qualification certs. As DJ looks over at the young teenage girl, her eyes are watering trying hold back tears of surprise and fear with fidgety nervous hands. This is a major moment in her young life in the matrix of the national water rescue organization, school status, not to mention it will be a major topic at the family dinner table for weeks to come. A chance most of the rookies would die for.
DJ speaks calmly “I need a personal patrol assistant this week, can you be here on time every day for the morning meetings”? She nervously nods, clears her throat,” yes sir”, as a single tear escapes and roles down her cheek she tries to keep composed.
DJ looks her in the eye and nods “grab your gear and hop in”. A swing of the back pack in the back of the jeep and Isabel hops in next to DJ, in a mad like un-graceful fumbling, exchanging reading glasses for sunglasses pulling out a hat stuffed in those baggy short cargo pants pockets.
DJ radios the office knowing the entire Lifeguard and rescue service teams can hear him on the open channel. “ Captain to Marina HQ, copy”? A pause and Marina answers back, “ Copy Captain go ahead”, DJ hesitates a second and looks at Isabel who still has her mouth dropped open in awe and has turned as white as the sunblock cream covering her and then he announces on the radio for all to hear “Please note in the OP’s log that Isabel Loris is Captains 1st patrol assistant this week, if I can’t be reached out in the field, all communication must go through Isabel, copy and confirm?”
Marina is looking out from the second story window, she catches the drift and plays the part, and answers back in her best official radio voice, “10-4 copy Captain, attention all sea rescue personnel and emergency services, Isabel Loris is Captains 1st patrol assistant this week if Captain is unavailable in the field or offline all communication will be coordinated through Isabel”.
At that very second, like a moment frozen in time, the entire Lifeguard crew from the garage to parking area stops, pauses, standstill and looks over at the Captains Jeep.
Several of the senior A team Lifeguards smile, some with a thumbs up sign of approval, and all of the young Jr. Lifeguards are gazing over with envy and surprise.
Isabel has turned from a terrified white to a blushing rose color, in a sense glowing, illuminated like the neon sea creature trinkets dangling from her rescue back pack.
Or in teenage terms, she’s gone from zero to hero in about a minute.
Isabel takes her reading classes off and says, “I’m actually far sited, I use the glasses only for reading, you can call me Izi.“ Gabby strolls over and shakes Izi’s hand and says “welcome to the big leagues Isabel”. Izi stares for a few seconds her hand still hanging in the air. She’s trying to soak it all in, the legend rescue power girl, tall, dark, sleek, tuned-up former Olympic medalist professional beach volley ball star and now 2nd in command Lifeguard has just called Izi by name, (OMG)! and shook her hand. Gabby hands her some paperwork from her clip board of the days schedule, patrol check markers, etc. Gabby explains to her the main points and then hands her a radio and chest pack. “Channel 01 is open for everyone; channel 11 is only for the Captain, myself, senior A team field Lifeguards and now you”. Izi is visibly awe struck again as she wipes away a few nervous tears.
Boris is standing a few meters away, catches on to what’s happening, gives Izi a wink and a salute to the young rookie and blurts out on the radio “Isabel radio check”!, Izi responds with a “check-all clear”.
Another OMG! look on Izi’s face is worth a thousand words of joy as she stares at the radio and then at Boris. Bad boy Boris, Dr. danger rescue dude himself, stud social media scandal magnet, rock star Lifeguard, lead guitar singer in the hottest Island band has just given Izi a wink, salute and a radio check! It’s clear her school mates, fellow Jr. lifeguards have been shocked into a new reality. Izi glows, the smile, the goose bumps, the sense of purpose in a young teenager who just got a big break and went from hoping to be noticed to “Game On-Front and Center” with the A team crew.
A girl with a purpose, a teenager now on a mission, the world from Izi’s eyes has changed.
And being far sighted and sunlight sensitive, is about to change everything. In the days to come the entire rescue crew and police will try to see through Izi’s sensitive eyes as to what she sees and what she has seen in the shadows of sunrises and sunsets in the water world she dreams of becoming part of. Talent and an invaluable witness are in the making. In the world of Search and Rescue, (SAR) two pairs of eyes are always better than one. And Izi’s eyes will prove inspiring for everyone.
DJ gives her a wink, pulls his sunglasses back over his eyes and turns to Izi as says “buckle up, get ready, this is gonna be a long action packed week for you”... Izi secures her Lifeguard cap on her head and puts her sunglasses on, she cant hold back a big double brace smile from ear to ear and gives the thumbs up and they drive off to boat docks.
Two souls have been rescued by inspiration this morning.