Whose Fire Road Is It?

Dear movie set security dude:

I did not mean to be a dick this morning.

But I’d already been climbing a 7% grade for almost a mile when I turned onto the publicly accessible fire road above Commonwealth Canyon that you had been set out to guard. It was 6 a.m., pitch black and I was puffing like a … well, like a fat old man.
securitydude.jpg“‘Scuse me, sir, you can’t go up there,” you said – nicely, I must add.

“It’s a public road,” I panted.

“You can’t go up there, there’s a movie shoot!” you retorted, as if the Pope himself were in the house …

“There’s been 20 movie shoots up here and no one’s ever stopped me before,” I gasped, granny-gearing it past the truck – determined to reach the top on my regular Thursday ride without having to stop for some civilian who lacked both authority of and familiarity with the law.

“It’s a public road, there’s nothing posted, and no law that says you control this road.”

“You’ve got to stop! I can’t let you up there?!” you spluttered, now bursting out of your truck, all wild-eyed like I was some sort of terrorist.

“Sorry, man, but I’ve been up here when there’s movie shoots dozens of times, and no one’s stopped me, you don’t have the authority to stop me using a public road.” I’m pretty ticked off at this point, but instead of getting into it further, I just keep pedaling.

“I’m gonna have to call the guys up at the top and get them to stop you!” he’s fuming now.

“You do that!” I mutter, and continue my climb up a totally deserted fire road.

No one’s here, not even the usual craft-service and honeywagon guys setting up – nothing.

I get to the little clutch of live oaks at the very top where I usually do my fat old man stretches, and there’s nothing, no one there, either

I go ahead and do my fat old man stretches and then ride down to the helipad at the cliff edge where the city lights spread across the dawn in a panorama of mercury-vapor stardust.

There’s a fat bunch of light cables lining the fire road, attached to nothing. And there’s a Hyundai or some other little jellybean sedan on the helipad – apparently the other security guy, who gives me a friendly, “Hey.” No muscle, no mace, no threats. And no sign of a shoot.

I sit for a few minutes, breathing in the dawn air, and then take off down the hill toward home. Now cars are pulling up alongside the road and parking for the shoot – and other hikers and bikers are coming up the road, too. Hmmm.

Here’s the thing, movie set security dude: We’re all grown-ups. I’ll agree not to try to jump in your movie set and steal stuff and disrupt the shoot and bother the actors and grips, if you’ll ask your boss for a little better instruction next time on what your authority over public roads might be.

Next time, if you post it as closed or can cite a city ordinance that lets you personally control the road – or hell, post a uniformed peace officer with the actual authority to do the same, I’ll be glad to stop.

Otherwise, I’m just riding my bike.

Hope your day went better from then on, in any case.

Yours,

Mack

6 Replies to “Whose Fire Road Is It?”

  1. If I could manage to get over the time change and get my ass out of bed at 5 a.m. like I used to I’d be there ready to roll up that hill with you the next time to see what else Mr. movie security dude might have to say.

    Good on you for not letting him stop you.

  2. Look out, Will is looking for a “mess with the bikes” fight.

    My lazy ass almost emailed Mack to confirm that I’d be attending the Tuesday 6:00 AM “ride of doom”. Maybe next time “almost” will become “I’ll be there”

  3. I’d feel bad if there was a person who was taking a dump and their friend told you that you couldn’t go there yet.

    Friend: Excuse me sir, but you can’t go there yet.

    You: Why!?!! I can do whatever I want!

    Friend: My friend is currently busy.

    You: I don’t care! I’ve been here many times before and no one has said nothing to me!

    Friend: But sir, he’s currently taking a dump.

    You: I don’t care! I’ve seen people take shits before. I don’t mind. I’ll mind my own business and walk around any shit on the ground.

    Friend: Sir, it’s a bit rude to walk in on someone doing that.

    You: I’ll do what I want! You don’t have authority, no papers and no warning signs. I eat shit for breakfast! You hear that BOY!

  4. Gimme a break, Ohjeez.

    First of all, there *was* no shoot. The crew hadn’t even arrived.

    Second of all – as I said – I don’t charge through shoots for any reason. If there *had* been a shoot, I would have kept a respectful distance.

    Third of all – the guy was just another schmoe in tennis shoes with neither badge nor authority.

    We pay taxes for those roads and absent any police presence to the contrary, we’re entitled to use ’em. Period.

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