Tuesday, September 28, 2010

30 Day Meme: Day 25

Many apologies for the large gap between posts. The first few days I was away in Alabama and Georgia. The next few days I was racking my brain trying to think of an interesting "first" for today's topic. Once I realized I good topic, I didn't have any time to write as I was still in Michigan. Now I've returned to my LeechBlocked computer so I can only get onto Blogger during certain times of the day. I made the settings and then left for 10 days so I don't even know what hours of the day I'm able to go on my websites!

Before I get into the meme, a bit about my "vacation" first.

Friday I drove to Ann Arbor. Saturday we got up early and flew to Atlanta.

Atlanta was very warm, of course. We got our rental car (a Chevy Aveo, which I have since learned to hate), checked into our hotel near the airport, and then drove to Auburn, Alabama. Anthony was giving a talk at Auburn University on Monday so we met the professor and then went to the Auburn-Clemson football game.

Sunday we got up, checked out of the hotel and had breakfast with Anthony's step-mom and sister. I tried grits for the first time. Not a fan. We took Anthony's sister and went to the Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the world. It was really, really cool and I highly recommend checking it out if you're ever in Atlanta. After that we went to a southern BBQ restaurant along with a friend of Anthony's. We dropped Anthony's sister off and drove back to Auburn and checked into our hotel there. We were staying in the university's hotel and conference center and it was very elegant and fancy.

Monday it was roughly 100F in Auburn. Anthony was gone all day doing the lecture so I hung out by myself and walked around campus. I did a bit of geocaching and then checked out an Auburn gift shop for some souvenirs. I was the only person I saw the whole afternoon actually sweating. While I was standing downtown, sweat sliding down my back, I overheard two students talk about the weather somewhere else. The one girl said to the other, "It was SO COLD there, it broke records! It got down to 29(F)! It was sooo cold!" I couldn't help smiling to myself. For the imperial-handicapped, 29F is only -1C. I think any Canadian is allowed to laugh at that, but especially me. For the record, I don't think the girl was dumb or ridiculous, it's just funny how different things just a short flight away.

Tuesday we checked out of the hotel and I had to go with Anthony to an asphalt testing centre for a presentation he was asked to attend. I stayed in the car and had to sit there for about an hour. Fortunately there was free wifi coming from somewhere, so I loaded up my geocaching app and found there was one in the business park we were in. I walked down to it but couldn't find it. We drove back to Atlanta and got home around supper time.

The rest of the week Anthony worked during the day so I slept in and got reacquainted with chips, dip, the recliner, and MTV. Haha. I figure this was probably my last lengthy visit to Ann Arbor for awhile so I tried to make the most of it.

On Saturday, I went and hung out with Anthony's mom and her boyfriend. We went to a Tigers game and then to Motor City Casino. We had a lot of fun and I enjoy hanging out with them. They live in a beautiful house in the country and I love the drive out there. I'm sure I broke a house record for fastest $30 lost in slot machines, but let's just forget that ever happened, ha.

Anyway, I'm sure that was extremely boring so I'll get onto the meme which will be hopefully less snore-inducing. It took me several days to come up with an interesting "first" of mine so I hope you enjoy it.

Day 25 – A first, in great detail

A painfully simple idea, I can't believe it took me days to come up with. My first job.

My first job was during the summer after grade 9, when I was 15. I hadn't wanted to work but my entire family (extended relatives included) were really trying to force me to work. While my aunt, uncle and cousins were visiting at the beginning of August, somehow the topic of "Let's find Jaime a job," came up. My uncle began looking through the newspaper and found an ad for corn detassling. I didn't know what it was and I didn't care to find out. I didn't want to work. I can't remember how it happened, but somehow I was on the phone with some HR lady and I was scheduled to start working the last week of August. I was furious.

In the upcoming weeks, I heard several horror stories about corn detassling from other victims of this terrible job. Soon my friends and family were making informal bets about how long I would last. If you know anything about me, you know I can be quite stubborn. I decided I would make it my mission to not quit or get fired from corn detassling, whatever the hell it was.

The Monday of my first day of work, I was dropped off in the parking lot of a nearby high school around 6am. Other high school aged kids stood around the parking lot, not unlike me and that is to say, frowning. I'm sure I was probably wearing a t-shirt and shorts. The other people waiting were wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, and hats that covered the back of their necks. I had a bad feeling about it immediately.

Eventually a school bus arrived and we all got on. We drove south to Wallaceburg and they literally crammed the bus so full, there were 3 and 4 people to a bench. The bad feeling in my stomach only intensified. What the hell was this?

Every time we drove alongside a corn field, I prayed we'd keep driving. Of course, at one point after about 20 minutes of driving, we stopped and filed out. The sun was out and I squinted as I stood next to the newbies and was explained how to detassle corn. Basically, get in the damn field and detassle your heart out. If you're caught not doing anything, caught helping somebody else, caught lying down, caught doing basically anything but detassling your butt off, you're fired. I walked up to my first stalk, found the tassle, and ripped it out. Lather, rinse, repeat. Until 4pm.

During the first day, several people quit and sat on the bus until 4pm.

By the end of the second day, I had what we in the biz called "corn rash." My skin is especially sensitive to plants and flowers touching it and to say I wanted to die of itchiness is an understatement. I remember my mom picked me up after work and brought me to Shopper's Drug Mart and I really thought I was going to die. I was in an itchy hell. Did I want to quit? You bet. Would I? No way. I had to prove everybody wrong. I could work hard when I had to, I wasn't lazy.

I made a few friends and learned how to dress for detassling, and learned to wear chap stick and keep your mouth covered lest your lips would be destroyed from the edges of corn leaves, like repeated paper cuts to your mouth.

I ended up being a pretty good corn detassler. I was quick and missed only a few tassles per line. Someone (I forget who) noticed I was doing well and complained to our supervisor that I was doing a terrible job. I don't know why this happened and I wish I'd had the brain to stand up for myself. I think it was a team "leader" who complained, in fear I'd become a leader, too. Or something, who knows. The next morning of work, I was forced off the bus and taken to a "test" (read: smaller) field with managers from the company. There were a few of us and we had other detasslers supervise us and make sure we weren't goofing off. They realized there was nothing wrong with me and sent me to the team of more experienced corn detasslers, where I knew nobody.

Fortunately the whole job only lasted 8 days as I had been hired on at the end of the season. But those 8 days, I tell you, are etched into my memory as clear as any year of my life. The heat, the sunburns, the fatigue after 4pm, the nauseating idea of ever eating corn again, corn rash, and of sympathizing with slaves of the 19th century. I used to come home from work, take a shower, and collapse into bed, unable to move. Sometimes I wouldn't even wake for dinner, despite not having eaten since my 30 minute break at lunch.

I never heard anymore taunts about being lazy from my family after that.

1 comment:

  1. i was reading this as procrastination. you have inspired me to stop procrastinating haha. no more lazies!

    ReplyDelete

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