Last week I pried the bars and spent 8 nights moonlighting as a movie set security guard on a barren, ATV-abused stretch of Tooele desert dubbed Five Mile Pass.
(To quell speculation, it wasn't for one of those infamous Utah filmings like the new Donnie Darko sequel or Legally Blonde 3 or High School Musical 17. No, I had the honor of overseeing the grounds of a Baptist-funded flick on responsible financial managment. There were more celebrities working steps at the nearby Happy Valley rehab center than working lines on set.)
It was a rough gig. When I'd arrive at dusk, the place buzzed like, well, a movie set. Bodies flew across exhausted shotgun shells and motorcycle trails, hopped up on deadlines and energy drinks, applying make-up, hauling camera equipment and shouting obscenities. The final cut rang out each night around 9 and my shift began: 12 hours of hiking the hills by flashlight, fending off coyotes, drinking stale coffee and strumming Woody Guthrie tunes, alone, beside the campfire. Rough business.
The tire tracks, cracked truck axles, shattered liquor bottles and mounds of discarded Tooele trash disappeared with the sinking sun. Wouldn't have thunk it from my time in the city but you can actually see the stars at night in northern Utah--if you're in the right place. If I were allowed to sleep, I might have finally gotten a sound night's sleep without the car alarms and raging neighbors that plague my downtown apartment.
At sunrise, the coyotes would quit their hunting howls, the birds would sing, prairie dogs would unearth for another long day of chasing each other through the junipers and I'd kick back my last mug of coffee to make it home in one piece.
Wasn't the most exciting job of my life, none of the bells and whistles of the CW. But all that time alone, really alone, without the inversion or noise or construction or people made me appreciate something about our fine state that I think I've taken sorely for granted.
Anyone of us at anytime can set out into the sunset and end up smack dab in the middle of nowhere in no time. That's pretty special. Don't take it from me. Find out for yourself. All I know is that those 8 nights of the simple life did this busy life a whole lot of good.