I never intended for my life to turn out this way. I feel like a lot of people say that, but, really, it’s true. When I got this job—strawberry picker at Huckleberry Farm—I thought it would an after school/on the weekends sort of job. Then after school turned into after graduation, and after graduation turned into indefinitely. I didn’t think to find the off switch until it was too late. I was hooked.
When my teachers asked me what I wanted to be, I always said a pharmacist. I know. Though I would always say this, I was never sold on it. I just thought it would get me more money than other jobs, and I thought that I could probably be able to get the qualifications for it. That’s the me that my parents wanted me to turn out like; not like the Farmer Ted I now am.
I love being out in the sun, planting, watering, crouching over the rows, monitoring ripening, and finally plucking each juicy fruit from their leafy green shelter.
Admittedly, the fruit incites hunger that I had never before experienced. Being around enticing food constantly, is difficult when you aren’t allowed to eat it.
‘Declan!’ Harriet’s voice floats from the door of the small shop.
‘Yo!’ I straighten and wipe my forearm across my forehead.
‘Could you check row 240 for snails? I noticed yesterday they were chomping on the leaves. I put bait out, but I haven’t checked to see if it needs more.’
‘Sure thing, Harriet!’ I sigh, placing my bucket of strawberries at my feet and readjusting my hat.
A car rolls down the driveway. The drum beat of the music playing inside it is thumping loudly. I could see a girl about my age nodding her head to the beat. I could almost guarantee she is on an errand for her mother. They always are.
Leaving the bucket there, I head in the direction of row 240 on the back of the farm’s four-wheeled motorbike. We have three hundred of these two hundred metre long rows of strawberry plants. Frank, Harriet’s partner, and I are the only pickers and maintenance men.
They work me to the bone. That’s the way I like it.
That way, I can go home knowing, I have earned every cent of my wage. I can shower and feel cleansed. My head can hit my pillow and I can fall asleep in the same instant. Those are just some of the perks of a job like this.
So, yeah, maybe my life isn’t the way I intended it to turn out.
Maybe it’s better.
There you go! I will see you Tuesday!
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