Friday, June 24, 2011

I've Gotta Go…

Watching the sun drop from the skyline is a fantastic sight on a twelve hour work day. But watching it rise the next morning on the way to work is not as thrilling. When you make a living pushing a shovel, you have a unique relationship with the sun as it slowly bakes overhead; the winter wind as it cuts through the many layers of clothing you’ve put on to stay warm; or the rain storms that bring streaks of lightning ripping the sky in two and thunder shaking the ground…

Mornings riding to work is the last real moment of rest and, for the most part, the most entertaining. The workers in the truck are hung-over from one thing or another; mostly from life as a Dirt Worker. Poor diets of convenient store breakfasts and long nights of drinking beer, blowing off steam from the work week is usually the culprit… For the most part, the Dirt Worker doesn’t have the luxury of sitting once a week with a psychiatrist telling all, while lying on a couch. They have beer, cigarettes, and each other.

Anyways, this way of life is not the best for the old bowels, and there are way too many job sites with not even a port-a-potty. If you're doing 10 hour days, every once in a while nature's going to come calling.
When you're first starting out in this profession, you do not know these things, but quickly you become acutely aware of the world you are working in. People have told me for years, “Jason, you are so creative.” My reply most times is, “I’m not really creative, I just grew up poor.” Lack of material items will make you think of how to survive… It’s as simple as that. No bathroom and suffering from rock gut, you quickly feel creative. This has gone on for years in the working class. The first time it happened to me I was horrified… There wasn’t anything for miles around… A good friend jumped into action. Digging through my car with speed and agility, he came across an old road atlas… Flipping through franticly as I stood with sweat running down my face, he shouted with excitement… “You ever goin’ to this state?" He called out each name and if I said no, he tore the page out…” Creativity at its best… A few minutes later I took a walk with five or six states in hand.

Although, it was the first time I was caught in a not so pleasant situation, I had been forewarned years earlier by a woman I worked for on a ranch. She had spent many years in the saddle. We were in the backcountry running dogs ( hunting ) when she suddenly stopped and said, “Here take the reins.” She climbed down off her horse and walked off into the brush. I was unsure what was going on. I thought she had lost the tracks of the deer or maybe there was a boar near by. Then, I was even more confused when she came back with the bottom part of her pant’s leg missing… She had to have seen the strange look stretched across my face… She climbed back on her horse and started to explain… Saying what she had done and that missing pant legs was the real reason cowboys wore chaps… “What?” I’m sure was my response. She then explained after a three month cattle drive and cutting the bottoms off their jeans for paper they had Daisy Dukes underneath their chaps… Yes, I know, and you thought I had a sick sense of humor… Still to this day I will spot a laborer with a missing sock and think amateur… Then I will run across a true veteran of the dirt with a missing cargo pocket and say to myself, now he’s got his shit together…  

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