I AM A ROCK — a late-night musing

I get the question often: “How do you handle being alone for twelve hours?”

They’re asking, of course, about my work as a security guard contracted out to FPS (Federal Protective Services.)

Well, let me tell you. This job is heaven. I come in at 1800 hours–6 PM, to you civilians–and I work here until 0600 (6 AM). When I get here, there is one day guard who remains, and within minutes he is gone as well. Otherwise, the rare late-worker might be somewhere in an office, but I seldom see them. And I love it.

Not that I’m anti-social, mind you. In fact, my wife, children, and many others who know me well will claim I am quite the opposite. Yes, I enjoy a lively conversation–which is quite different from when I was a youngster and didn’t dare talk to anyone. But it would be a toss-up if you were to ask me whether I enjoy interacting with people or being alone more.

There is a certain magic in being alone, especially late at night. For my companions, I have sometimes the moon, quite often the planets and stars. Mars has been my close friend all of this summer, although now he is beginning to recede farther and farther from the Earth. If I don’t have the moon, stars, and planets, I have the clouds, the trees, the grass. And sometimes some feral rabbits that haunt the neighborhood.

Being alone here gives me time to sort out my thoughts. Time to think about my goals. Time to decide what I want to be when I grow up. So don’t feel sorry for me. I have been a wildland firefighter, a police officer, and a municipal firefighter, the job I retired from. I now work a job that, although it could turn suddenly bad, and FAST, is for the most part serene and lonesome–a good kind of lonesome.

Call me a rock, like the old Simon and Garfunkel song. Maybe I am. But the peace of this job cannot be beaten.


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