Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Just Another Day in the Life of Me

With one ear full of ear-drops I walk with tilted head to the kitchen to make a cup of tea and almost knock myself out on the door-frame.

"Aha!", I think, "Today is going to be wonderful because look at how well it started".

I go to work and am required to drive the "Power-Pony", this mini-tractor-thing that pulls a trailer that carries eight crates to be filled with the oranges that we pick.

"No way!" I say, "I have never driven that thing and don't intend learning now".

'Get up", says the boss, "and I'll show you what to do". He patted the tractor seat like it was my friend. "Come on. Up you get!".

Hmmmfffff. Up I got.

Turn this key and press that. Push this lever down while letting that go slowly. And oh, don't get stuck in a ditch or go down the wrong row or you will have to take all the crates off and detach the trailer before reversing out and then put the trailer back on...

I made some awful, clunky, grinding sounds but then, to my amazement, zoomed off down the driveway like I was born on a tractor. I wave a royal wave to my boss's wife who hides behind the clothes line. Why is she looking so nervous?

She looked nervous yesterday too after she asked me to weed her very overgrown vegetable garden. I attacked it with this huge hoe-thing, swinging it up and down, back and forth, with huge velocity and brute force.

Some people would have been delighted at my rapid progress but not her. After only ten minutes she muttered, "Good Lord, Bernadette! Go back to the oranges now, please. No offence but I'll do this by myself."

Apparently I had demolished her baby carrots and dislocated some broad-bean plants.

I am now a professional orange-picker. The fruit is huge and our buckets fill up in no time and then the crates fill up and the trailer fills up and Bernadette drives the tractor back to the shed, proud as a peacock at having conquered yet another phobia. Only 43 to go!

With my little spindly arms, I manage to off-load the crates, then help Milly wash and grade the oranges by size and quality.

Grading becomes an automatic process after a while and we are able to fling oranges in this bin, that bin or the one over there while discussing how on earth Dynamo walked on water or why did those surgeons in China attach a nose to that man's forehead?

"You are a good grader now", Milly said. "When you first started here months ago, I said to Piet that night, "Oh, my God, what have we employed? She's not exactly the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, is she?"

"But", she went on to say, "You have got a lot faster, Bern. A lot faster".

I chose to take that as a compliment.  When a statement about your abilities could be perceived in a number of ways, it's kindest on your ego to always choose the most flattering possibility. Besides, it is sometimes a cunning idea to make a terrible first impression and then you can only go on to pleasantly surprise people thereafter.

Oh, I am doing some clipping and tying up of kiwifruit vines too. After hours of doing that, I had to wrap blue-tape around my thumbs and index fingers because they hurt. Also, because my hands are up in the air all the time it looks like I am walking along the row doing 'Praise-the-Lord' actions but in actual fact it is just another of those chores that those of us who failed Rocket-Science 101 are stuck with.

Que sera sera.

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