Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I've Always Depended on the Kindness of Farmers

This handy little cup is the reason I survived my first two days back at work.

It's really weird. I was telling this to my boss earlier (and to Jason last night), but I spent the last week of being home feeling like I totally had the energy to go back to work, trying to clean the house when I could, thinking that it was time to start painting, and cut up my gourds, and do some drawings, and work on my plans (I have something exciting planned for the new year!), and do everything. I can do everything.

Then I went back to work yesterday, and by the time I came home, a measly five hours later, I was so exhausted that I became too tired to sleep. Have you ever lived in that too-tired-to-even-nap place? Because it is a terrible place.

I let the dog out, laid down on the couch, and tried to nap, but no dice. I read for a little while, but the words were just buzzing and not landing anywhere in my head.

I got up and tried to clean, since Jason plans to have people over on Friday, but I was too tired to do that.

The dog, meanwhile, is sort of dancing around me with his Kong Extreme toy we bought him (for anyone with a chew-happy dog, I highly recommend it; that thing is the best toy we've gotten him yet), and I can hardly even stand to play with him.

So, that is a weird part of recovery. Which I am apparently still doing.

Jason likes to remind me, whenever I get frustrated at not being allowed to lift more than five pounds still or that I just can't seem to keep going with the same amount of energy I had before, that even if I can get off the couch... I'm still in recovery. I still had (the easiest possible version of) major surgery less than a month ago, and I need to respect that.

So basically right now I am running on caffeine and gritted teeth. I'm going to try a whole day tomorrow; if it isn't any more tiring than the half-days have been, then I think I'm back full-time. I want to be back full-time. I like my job, and I like my coworkers, and I'd really like to be done with all this silly recovery nonsense now please thank you.

Driving up to my little mountain-town job was kind of an adventure today. It dumped rain, in the kind of overturned-bucket way that meant that even with my wipers going at full blast, I was crawling at forty miles per hour at best.

I kept driving past place where the ditches were starting to well up into the road; not enough that I actually had to drive on water, but definitely enough to make me nervous about the return trip afterward.

Which, by the way, was fine. It was mostly just drizzling on my drive home, and I didn't have any issues. But anyway, back to my story.

On my way in, I actually had to stop because the road was closed. I was so very close to work, and I didn't know any other way to actually get into town at this point other than turning around and adding almost twenty minutes on to what's is only really a half-hour drive. I was sitting there talking to a coworker  on my cell phone trying to figure it out, with my hazards on, about a quarter-mile from the pile of cops and tree-cutters working on the road closure.

A blue truck pulled up behind me, and just kinda sat there. After a minute, I got off the phone with my coworker and walked in what was now a light drizzle over to the truck.

"Do you know another way to get into town?" I asked him.

He was an older man, elbow out the window even in the rain, every inch the picture of every elderly farmer I've ever seen in my entire life, right down to the seed-corn-brand hat. He grinned at me. "I was wonderin' how long it was going to take y'all to come ask me!" He said cheerfully. I feel like I should note here that his dialogue is, as close as I can recall, word-for-word exactly what he said to me. I am not making one little bit of it up.

"... what?" I'm not always witty, folks; that was the only thing I could think of to say.

"Yeah! I been sitting behind you waiting for you to ask; you seemed a mite confused. I didn't get the feeling whoever you was talking to on the phone was helping you very much."

South Carolina, man.

If I were back in Illinois, there would have been a man stopped behind me because he recognized my car and knew I was Randy's youngest, or maybe might have recognized me as Laura's daughter, or sometimes I get recognized as George and Audra's granddaughter with the red car, and could probably use the help. I actually have had people stop when they saw my car break down and just ask first thing if I've already talked to my dad or if he was still in the field.

Here, a man I have never met and who knows no one else I know pulled up behind me, stopped, and waited for me to get off the phone and come ask for help, because he thought I looked like I wasn't getting any from whoever I was talking to.

So I answered that yes, I could use the help, and thanked him until he was vaguely annoyed by my gratitude. Elderly farmers (and all farmers), I have found in my life, do not like too much attention being drawn to anything one particular thing they do.

He jerked his thumb at a line of cars that had built up behind us in the minutes we were talking. "I figure if I pull out, and you follow me, that whole mess'll just get in line with us. Let me back out first."

I hopped in my car and pulled out after him. A white SUV followed me, and three or four trucks and one small car followed that guy, and we made our way into town in a convoy of confused people and one very knowledgeable old man in a blue truck. Once we hit the first stoplight on the road I had to turn left, and he went straight. He waved at me as he drove away.

Even his wave was cheerful.

So there you go.


  1. That's a perfectly excellent story. I'll reread it any time my faith in humanity is dwindling. :)

    1. Say what you will about small towns, they are much the same anywhere you go.


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