<- – The Glory of the Laboring Class — Garden Work Day II – ->
“But they grew up during the night,” never works in a gardener’s defense when trying to explain how errant weed sprouts could possibly still exist in a garden that was suppose to have been cleared the day before.
I learned this lesson while gardening in Ireland. Each morning I would walk out into the wet, dewy day and greet the calling crows who liked to hang out in the trees over the gardens where I would spend my days laboring. Often, I would find the Irish Pisser — my employer — standing out there in the garden with arms akimbo, cackling crow calls of her own.
I would then be privy to my morning ear full about how poorly I weeded the garden the day before, and how I MUST do better on this day.
“But they grew up during . . .”
It never worked.
Happy top o’ the morning to me.
I was shaken awake by a 6:45 AM alarm, which foretold another day of working as hard as the migrant workers of my youth in a large garden in Bangor, ME.
My entire body hurt. It is amazing how much exertion 9 hours of squatting down squeezing and pulling millions upon millions of little maple shoots can put upon a human body. My hands and wrist sprouted a retaliatory bout of tendinitis and my inner thighs felt as though I had been riding horses throughout the night.
“So this is what I have been missing,” I grumbled to myself as I pined for the 17 previous months that I somehow manage to get through without working a real job.
If my mind thought that it was a good idea to make up my travel funds by pulling weeds, then my body certainly wanted to pull a filibuster. $15 an hour was scarcely enough bean money to make my sore legs want to stoop down into a weed pulling squat yet again. But, as is usually the case with anything that has been turned into a competition, the mind won.
Back to the garden — there was still a jungle to be fought.
I quickly drank a cup of coffee and put on my dirty clothes from the day before. I thought of the days of my youth when I would watched my father getting ready for work.
“Get an education, boy, you don’t want to do what I do the rest of your life.”
I found a certain touch of irony in the fact that I did get an education, and yet I was still covered in dirt, setting off for another day of bottom rung work.
I kissed Chaya goodbye and said that I would meet her for lunch. She waved to me with pride in her eyes as I stumbled off for the jungle.
I approached the garden right on time and found my employer and the house keeper looking upon the evidence of my labor from the previous day. I momentarily stopped short and thought of the cackling Irish pisser getting ready to give me my fair dose of morning criticism. But something seemed different on this morning in Maine:
They seemed to be admiring my work.
I cautiously walked up behind them, and they let me in on their oogles and ahhhs. I was praised for obviously working hard. Perhaps I was turning over a new leaf as a gardener?
We then all had a little morning chat. I made a jest over the irony of getting a university degree just to pull weeds. My employer told me that after she graduated from law school she had to gather clams as a living. I then realized that my fate was not that bad, for at least I was gardening with a B.A. degree in ethnographic journalism (what!?!) rather than a J.D. in law.
My employer then topped off my initial jest with a good “look at me now” rags to riches sort of story: she quickly rose from seaside clammer to investment banker . . . and was wealthy enough to pay me $15 an hour to weed her garden.
Perhaps, with a little hard work, I, too, could someday afford to pay someone this much money to work in MY garden. For some odd reason, I had my doubts as to the fruition of the backside of this tale.
To make me feel better, my employer replied, “I come from a long and distinguished line of farmers and servants. I am still at it, although I am now growing money instead of potatoes.”
At least she is growing something besides weeds, I thought, as I turned towards another day of weeding warfare.
The sky was gray and rain drops began falling down upon my head — I was going to get wet.
“Working outside sucks,” I remembered my father’s words, “it ain’t ever nice out there. It is always either too hot or too cold, it ain’t ever a nice day when you have to work outside.”
My father clearly prepped me for a snug life of educated, indoor labor, as he blazed the shinning trail of the quintessential outdoor working man.
“Get an education, boy, so you don’t have to do what I do.”
I peaked up at the dark, rain leaking clouds. I was cold.
How to make money to travel
Project – how to make and save travel funds
How to make Money to Travel
Gardening in Maine – part I
Gardening in Maine – part II
Gardening in Maine – part III
Working in Maine as a Gardener — Day 2