Monday, May 24, 2010

Post back up

The new job that I took up about three months ago I quit the week before last. One ought to be more careful in the matter of saying something was of a certainty God's will. Maybe it was, for three months. The job previous to the three-month one, I took back up; so it is old but new - in more ways than one.

The productivity of landscaping winds down, naturally, in the winter. That limbo in December through to February left me to take up the new job (at my boss's own prompting no less; he's the one who showed me the opportunity) at a [certified] organic farm - the one I just quit. (I'll let the reader catch his breath for a minute while he takes in the unprecedented glamour and rarity of the jobs I presently earn money by.)

The prospect of the learning I would acquire at the organic farm (one that is quite "high-end") that is minutes from where I live, coupled with the people who operate the place, and many other factors that I won't get into, seemed the way.

By "high-end" I am not being sarcastic. They are and well-known in the city's top restaurateur ranks; and it would, I take it, be the sort of job wherein my own creativity and "inroads" could be formed (in case no one noticed, I'm sort of into the growing/raising of things - though really, secondarily to the painting). Not that the previous job which I have now taken back up will not afford those things as well; on the contrary, my boss has land galore - virgin soil - and nothing between us and it but our own experimental insanity.

But High-end can also be a synonym for precious. And preciousness can be a crushing force unlike any other - never mind the sort of precious to be discovered in the organic community; a kind that can come too close to the cultish for my liking; and if not the cultish, then a kind of self-pleasing complacency, that is at least wrong enough to take the truth (and the organic community does have the truth on their side) and turn it, or let it stagnate, into the "alternative niche", so very twee; so very much dependent on the corporate, chemical, industrial bad guys to provide their counterfoil, their shared enemy - who they simply mirror in many ways.

Organic? Organic? You mean Normal?

This is an observation of an air, an atmosphere. The people I worked for, and with, are kind and generous. In fact my boss was very antagonistic towards this cultish, precious tendency. There were not any unconscious initiations that typically occur with cultish groups. I'm grateful for having been there; it was a place I often wondered about.

On a physical level, there was simply too much oscillating between different tasks on any given day; not in the sense of finishing one task and then doing another (I can do a flurry of different tasks in a day), but breaking the task you're presently doing, and going to another; and then breaking that one, in mid-task, and going to another. That's just wrong; people need their stations or else insanity ensues. On top of that, they wanted me often in the store. On the cash register. Dealing with customers.

What, says I, are you deliberately looking to lose your business? Don't get me wrong. I deal surprisingly well with money and numbers and customers (I worked at a grocery store for ten years); I'm a regular renaissance man extraordinaire (that's sarcasm). But frankly, I'm not the kind of guy for it.

Above and beyond all this though was an inner torture at the thought of not having done any painting, or drawing, for close to three months. It's a torture that is hard to describe; sometimes showing itself in spontaneous weeping out of nowhere. Now, you may be saying, who is the one being precious? I say, this last reason was my main reason.

In this sort of atmosphere, you can imagine what my longing must have been for the sort of work (work that pays better hourly and is more accomodating to the art pursuits) we were doing last summer (some of which can be read in this weird post).

Just three august men of us, driving in a truck to the mountains where there is the very real possibility of a cougar attack - yet not likely - to clear brush and trees with all manner of power tools and feeding the ever-dangerous wood-chipper all day in the blazing heat; the kind of work wherein time is told by how many times you refuel your pole saw, or trimmer, or weed-whacker, or chainsaw (45 minutes a tank; after four tanks how about we have lunch?); viewing the high, clear, close mountains while you work; catching the breezes; the blowing of the grass; quenching thirst with ice-water (one of the greatest pleasures this side of heaven), or deciding to forego some water for a couple hours out of sacrificial spirit and plowing ahead with brute force (one of a sort of interior pleasures this side of heaven); cutting into thick, half-hour areas without once letting up on the trigger; accidentally burning your elbow on the metal of the small engine; throwing the wheelbarrows into the back of the truck with the nonchalance that only strong weariness knows towards the cooling down of day: it's not exactly parachuting into Central American jungle, bypassing booby-trapped wires and mowing down bad guys with a .223 caliber mini-gun while sucking on a big wad of sweet tobacco - but it's the next best thing.

And sometimes money-grubbing is just money-grubbing, but recognizing the fact does not contradict the care with which one is supposed to carry out their job; in fact, it can be a good place to start.


Enbrethiliel said...


After reading this, I just realised something . . . If they ever make a movie about your jury duty, Mike Rowe could play you!!! =D

Paul Stilwell said...

OMG, that would certainly be a step down - or up - for him into more clean realms.

I remember one episode, I can't remember what the job was specifically (I think inseminating cows) and he had to reach (with an arm glove of course) all the way inside...yeah, from the other end.

I couldn't continue to watch.

Enbrethiliel said...


LOL!!! I remember an episode in which he had to inseminate horses, and I certainly screamed enough to raise the roof; but maybe he worked with cows later on, too. =P

But he also has some "clean" jobs. He'll do anything that people don't think is very glamorous, to make the point that the people who have those jobs make everyday life more comfortable for those of us who do more "civilised" work. =) He changed diapers in a day care centre once! =D