After the last time we buttoned up the truck; after the last day of the grueling shoot; after the last time I made that long trek home from that God forsaken location, I finally made it through my front door and shortly after, I fell asleep on the couch...
When I woke up, it was a new day. A new morning. And thus, my end-of-the-show ritual began.
As my shower warmed up, I stripped down and added my dusty, dirt stained clothes from the day before to the ever growing pile of work clothes that's been sitting in the corner of my room for the past couple weeks. As usual, it's been hard to find some time to do laundry while you're working, but now I had all the time in the world (or until the next call comes in). I gathered everything in my arms, loaded it into the washer along with a cup of detergent and turned it on. As water filled the basin, I could see the clear liquid turning darker as it began to attack the dust, dirt and grass stains the fabric had accumulated over the course of the shoot. I was feeling cleaner already.
As the machine started churning, I stepped into my hot, steamy shower. I stood there for a second as I let the warm water wash over me. It's been hot the past few days, and shooting day exteriors didn't help any. Despite having at least a full night between wrap and this morning, I could still feel the stickiness of dried sweat on me from the day before. And despite habitually taking showers after work, it didn't seem to do any good on this show. No matter how much I lathered, scrubbed and rinsed, I never felt completely clean. Perhaps it was because I'd come home too tired to put in the effort needed to really get the day's dirt off. Or perhaps it was because I knew it was a futile task; that I'd be back at that same location the next day, working in the hot sun and the dirt again. Either way, by the end of it all, I felt like I had two and a half weeks worth of dirt sticking to me. Needless to say, the water felt good...
I washed my hair (lathered, rinsed, repeated), scrubbed myself down, and by the end of it all, I felt like a great weight had been lifted off of me. Like that clear, warm running water coming out of my shower head was somehow magical and able to whisk away the all the sweat, dirt, and exhaustion that seemed to have glued itself to my skin, hair and spirit. I stepped out of that shower, feeling physically clean the first time in what seemed like ages.
After basking in my new found cleanliness for a few moments longer, I got dressed. By that time, my laundry was done and when I pulled my previously work smudged clothes from the dryer, they smelled of warm, fluffy, sunshine. They were no longer the limp and haggard looking pile of fabric sitting in the corner, but they were now transformed into sharp looking garments, ready to wear and impress.
Now, it was the car's turn. The poor thing had the hardest time of all. Unlike clothing that could be changed daily or my skin that got hosed down at night, my car didn't have that luxury. Day in and day out, it got me to and from work, driving through dirt roads, parking in muddy fields, and being littered on by tree leaves and birds. It had such a thick coating of dirt on it that from a distance, a friend had even asked if my car had gotten a new coat of paint. It was that bad.
And as I sat there in the drive through car wash, watching rivers of dirt trickling down the windows, I thought about the job I just had. The shoot was rough. Long hours. Shitty locations. Not that great pay. But damn it, there were some good times. And really good people. And definitely some lessons learned.
After the scrubby things stopped spinning, I drove out of that dark, car wash tunnel and into the warm California sunshine with a smile on my face. I may have left that gig seemingly dirty, roughed up and beaten, but water takes care of all that. I was reborn. I emerged clean, sparkling, and smelling like a double rainbow. I emerged from the darkness a little wiser and ready for the next battle.