I have returned from my big adventure and gotten on with a company I have wanted to work with for a long time… They have a fabulous name in the industry. Rare.
Today, we are just outside of Salt Lake City. We are privileged to be working every day inside a windswept, high desert valley. The floor of the valley is perfectly flat, it is covered with sagebrush and grease wood. The rest of the vegetation aside from the dirt are short, dry grasses that are crushed instantly dead when you roll over them with any kind of tire. It creates quick dusty roads in this fragile ecology. The desert floor is wide. About two miles in between two short mountain ranges that still have a dusting of snow on their jagged shoulders. Only one narrow, gravelly road cuts through the midline of this sweeping blue and brown vista. It belongs to the BLM.
Just out of sight is a plant that is recycling and disposing of radioactive materials.. I originally thought it was a Dump with it’s open dirt hill covered with brightly colored mystery bits but only recently discovered that it is likely the outer garments of low level nuclear waste workers and other articles that are swimming through the dirt mound. Several miles another direction is Dugway. The nations premier military chemical, and biological weapons testing and training site.
The winds are very strong here occasionally. They often cause brownouts from the dirt and dust swirling around everything making it difficult to breathe and see, even with our protective sunglasses.
The crew is fabulous. One of the very best. They come from everywhere… Ex- military and civilians. People with advanced degrees and guys with GED’s. They are all here for the same reason. To make money. Few are here because they love the business. The work is unrewarding, and uses very little imagination. Each person must walk forward and maintain focus on a small, changing patch of dirt all day long. Every once in a while, you will find a live piece of unexploded ordnance.. Most times, just bits of rusted steel…Occasionally a snake, horny toad or a scorpion.. or sometimes a tiny birds nest. We are careful and respectful of all the living creatures. I am deeply grateful this crew is not a destructive one.
I break the monotony up in the afternoons with a trip to a beautiful warm small desert lake that is a short 20 miles away. It is a fantastic blue, hundred by two hundred meter, sixty foot deep pool. It is fed by an underground spring that maintains a constant eighty degree temp all year ’round. I swim laps in this mini-oasis. It is refreshing and restores my Chi.
On the weekends, the crew that doesn’t escape to the city hangs out at either the casino or our local favorite, the Black and White bar. I love meeting the guys there. They are fantastic fun to learn about and I enjoy the community (when I’m not in Salt Lake flying.) I have made no secret of my sexuality… No one seems to mind.
I’ve seen one of the fellows here a couple times. I love his wide friendly smile and his easy chuckle. He’s nice to everyone and always pleasant to be around.. His name is Mack. I never miss a chance to say hi.
It’s Friday, we are wrapping up the week, giving the trucks a bath. I’m wiping the windows down and my big bald friend runs over to tell me what he just heard.
Mack: I think I might go to Blue Lake this afternoon
Cathy: Yeah, Wendy might be there.. She swims almost every afternoon.
Mack: Oh. I shouldn’t go. I think she likes me…. She’s been giving me googley eyes.
Cathy: Uhhhh, I don’t think so.
Everyone looks uncomfortably at each other.
I went back to cleaning the truck. I keep having crazy bubbles of laughter… a guy from the next car over asks me if I’m laughing about Mack. I giggled.. Yeah! They were laughing too and begging me to tease him. “Please just wink at him tonight? Please?”
Now I just can’t stop laughing..