After Week 2 at cow camp, I decided to keep a Lewis and Clark-style diary of my adventure, minus the bloodstains on the parchment paper pages and references to Sacajawea.
Day 1: We depart from town to-day to ship cattle and spend a week at cow camp. We are traveling with no doctor, translator, or scout. This may be perceived as foolish by Eastern scholars, but we press on unafraid. The cows do indeed outnumber us, but we have ropes.
We have secured provisions such as wool socks, whisky, corn tortillas, and 3 pounds of Halloween candy originally secured by my boss’s children. Our spirits are high; as of yet we do not know any better.
Day 2: This morning so cold I could not feel my fingers, complicating the process of checking my cinch after saddling my horse. I finally resorted to jabbing my whole hand in the general direction of my latigo, then guessing that it “looked tight.” After my lips turn blue, I cease to care whether I hit the ground.
Shipped 5 truckloads of Mexican steers before noon. Was wishing we had brought a translator.
Day 3: Traveled to Wells, Nevada to-day via a primitive gravel road. The rigors of the journey were eased somewhat by the FM radio stations, padded seats, and diesel engine of a Dodge pickup, but complicated somewhat by my boss’s and my inability to agree on a comfortable setting for the heater.
Returned back to camp and no cell phone service, Internet or cable TV this evening. Am wishing I had brought a ball to throw against the wall.
Day 4: Have exhausted all possible topics of conversation with my boss/camp-mate. Am wondering exactly how many times per day the heater kicks on, how the chipped dinner plate received its chip, why we only have VHS movies from the late ’90s in the living room, how many rotations per mile a ’96 Dodge front tire makes on a gravel road, and why we didn’t pick up more toilet paper while we were in town.
Day 5: Am learning to eat lunch in 7 minutes and 35 seconds while walking back to the pickup, as that is the time allotted by my boss for such things. Am wondering why we get up at 4 AM when the sun does not provide enough gray light to see our horses until 6:25 AM. Am wondering whose stupid idea it was to be a stupid cowboy and stay in a stupid camp. Am grateful for my every-evening , long-distance phone calls to a certain Mr. Young.
Day 6: To-day proved to be the most ardurous and exhausting day. We processed cows in inadequate facilities with an inadequate amount of help and an inadequate number of daylight hours. I exhausted my body, my patience, my supply of curse words, and a plastic flag. Upon arriving at the camp house, I devoured three tacos and a glass of red wine. Upon discovering my life had improved considerably, I went to bed before it could deteriorate again.
Day 7: Why am I still counting days? I no longer care. Time has stopped; I could not report the actual date if requested to. I return to civilization today, and cannot wait to experience all the conveniences again: cell phone service, my own shower, the latest issue of People at the grocery store, the grocery store, lines at the grocery store, stoplights, traffic, pages of junk mail cluttering my inbox, overpriced restaurant food, secondhand cigarette smoke on public sidewalks, 2 for 1 bargain buys on items I never use, and nightly newscasts centering on kidnappings and murders.
Camp really wasn’t all that bad. I wonder if they’ll be needing more help any time soon….