Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tales From The UGC Part 1: The Commute

I might be possibly indirectly
 responsible for THIS GUY
Good god! Seems like it's been a hundred years since I've put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard so to speak in service of entertaining you, my dear readers, who if my usage stats are to be believed are mostly from behind the former Iron Curtain. Hello Russia! Anyway, Winter is setting in, which means I might have a little time on my hands, so like I've said at least ten times in the past, I'm planning on getting a little more frequent with my posts, because I feel like I've got a few things to say. Now, before I get started, I just want to say, I appreciate you guys' support over the years. I recently undertook a major lifestyle change. No, not that kind of lifestyle change (not that there's anything wrong with that) but I can promise you, this blog won't turn into one of those "My Journey" type of deals. Yeah, I might dedicate one post to that when I'm done, but that's it. I'd much rather just spin some hopefully entertaining tales from this crazy life I've led.

The Mighty UGC! No longer exists!
That leads us to today's story. It's kind of a quick one. I worked for seven and a half years at the University of Utah on what used to be a little nine-hole executive-style golf course, right in the middle of campus. I started out as a guest instructor for some junior camps in 2003, and by the time the powers that be decided to drop a building on top of us and shut us down in 2009, I'd worked my way into being the last ever Head Professional of the UGC and pretty much the last man standing. They were some of the best times in my life with friends I still have today and the stories I have are innumerable, so much like my "Dorm Days" series. today will be the first post in an occasional series I'd like to call, "Tales From The UGC."

"The Commute"

A fine place for vagrants to read newspapers on
a rattan cane and masturbate to Internet porn!
Not long after I was hired at the UGC, my beloved giant 1982 Chevy Blazer, affectionately known to my high school buddies as "Sweet Ride" partially exploded on me during a trip to my hometown to see my buddy Rat for a haircut. That truck was legendary, especially during the "Dorm Days" as the most reliable way for my roommates and I in room 302 to get around, safely and in style. There was no mistaking who was pulling up when it's diesel-ly growl approached. But she'd finally given up the ghost and since I had about $500 to my name at any one time (THE LIFE OF A GOLF PRO, SO GLAMOROUS!) my options for getting to and from work (and really anywhere else) were limited to public transportation. Thankfully, I lived in a not-so-horrible condo about a block and a half from the Salt Lake City Library and the light rail station adjacent to it. Riding the TRAX train every day to work was amazingly convenient (No gas! A drop off right next to our 5th hole! A semi-convenient schedule!) and provided me with endless people watching opportunities.

One early Fall day I boarded a train for my normal afternoon shift. There were about seven stops between the library and my drop-off point on our 5th Fairway. The car was about half full as I thankfully rarely had to commute during the busy parts of the day. I popped in the ear buds, cranked up a little "Heartbreak Boulevard" by Shotgun Messiah and settled in for the fifteen minute ride. 

Two stops in a guy boards the train and sits in the seat across the aisle from me. Out of the corner of my eye, I could tell he bore striking similarity in appearance to a certain long-time Carbon High School football coach, who in turn was the spitting image of long-time WWF wrassler, former Governor of Minnesota and current underground bunker-resident Jesse "The Body" Ventura. As a matter of fact, I thought it actually WAS Coach, so rather than just staring out the window, like I usually did, I actually popped the ear buds out when he motioned towards me that he wanted to say something.

"Hey man, lot of pretty girls on this train."

"Well yeah, it's kind of the main artery up to the University," I said, a little apprehensively. 

"Yeah, the State is making me take a bunch of classes up there, so I can get out of the halfway house. You grow up around here, man?" He asked.

"Naw man, a few hours south of here. A little town on the high desert called Price. How about you?"
You can trust me to get you
 the good shit, Gorilla!

"Kansas City, had to split town though. A few hombres were bringing the heat down on me," his eyes starting to dart back and forth, "I've been to Price. Got busted down there, a couple years ago."

Here we go, a good story, maybe! "What did they nail you on?"

"Dealing Crank. The market down there is goddamn great these days!"

"Yeah, that's what I hear." The economy was tanking in the early 2000's, and my hometown's drug issues were getting pretty gnarly. But his comment was making me wonder if there was a magazine like Investor's Business Daily for the drug trade. 

"We were making money hand-over-fist! Then one day, a new guy started hanging around. Goddamn narcs. Next thing you know, I'm in County getting hosed down and they were breaking out the rubber gloves." He said grinning, way too matter of factly for my comfort level.

"Well, at least it seems like you're getting your shit together man. They eventually let you out." This dude might be Heisenberg.
Had to jump a fence, to get to work,
 but damn it was convenient!

"Yeah man. These classes have been great for getting some new connections! You guys are sitting on a gold mine up here."

I just kind of gave it a snicker. Time to pull the plug on this conversation. "Good luck to ya, pal."

He nodded and grinned, "Lot of pretty girls on this train."

I punched the button and jumped off the train a couple stops early. Hiking clear across campus to the clubhouse. It was already a weird day.