So I’m starting getting to the point that I need a little money coming in. Sure I’ve got my savings, and thanks to my younger self and a few investments I made, I can go for a little bit longer with no discernible source of income. But that time is fast approaching. Work must begin.
So part of that is not actually a bad idea. I need the day job, the thing to rally against. Dédé, god love him, has lined up a few options in that regard. A few at home contracts in design. And at present, he lines up a job working part-time shifts at his factory. This could be good, low level, honest work. Require not much thought on my behalf. Just the clean, simple employment of manual work. But therein open’s a dilemma. It smacks of nepotism. It’s once again me just falling into a job based on who I know. My entire work history has been that. It’s this I think I need to stop.
I need to actually look for a job. Actually apply somewhere that might interest me. Do you know I don’t even have a resumé? I haven’t been very active on that front.
I lack the will, or interest, in sitting down and writing about my past history. I like the now; and find the past so troubling. It’s here I struggle to begin. Describing myself through my past accomplishments. Finding them to begin. I look upon that as something I did. That I can still do. Not much pride in that.
A work history of sorts.
I worked. From 22 on I was in design. Before that, Beckers and beyond in the world of sideline jobs you work as a student. Hanging out with an older man in his garden was a good one. My dad lined that one up when I was in my teen years. I guess I was 14. I helped an older gent in his garden for a few hours every week during the summer. I remember he used to drop buy the manse in his oval taurus. Or wait, was it his wife? Not sure really, the Taurus was new at the time, and my car magazines were all raging about the radical new design at Ford. Think it won car of the year at Motor Trend, so that puts the year around 1994-1995. Anyway, man or women would pick me up for the drive out of town to his house. He had such a large property and a John Deer tractor. The tasks were simple. Some weeding here, trim a bush or two, dig a hole. He planted trees at the back as part of some evergreen project. We’d have to oversee that too. He’d ride along side me in his tractor as I’d attend to whatever gardening tasks he saw fit. We’d walk all over his property, doing this and that, I as his aide, just tending to task. You might imagine we talked somewhat. And I guess we did. There really wasn’t that much to do. But we’d dutifully do our chores each week.
I had my first tomato sandwich there. When they were fresh, just pulled from the garden. His wife prepared it for me as we sat on the sunroom taking in the late July afternoon. We might have talked then too. But I think we mostly just had a respectful silence. No awarkard silence. We spoke. But we had grown to a kind of understanding in the things that are not said. I as a youth and he as an older man approaching the end. He had problems with his kidneys. He knew his time was ending. That was the unspoken accord. But I could taste the worry of his wife in that sandwich. How time was coming short. Death was present in that afternoon respite.
It was not long after he did die. I believe he made it through the summer. He eventually grew too weak to make it to his rider mower in the shed. Sometimes we’d just sit and chat. Then that too came to a close. I just went on. School, or life interfered. Must have been that year though, when I saw the for sale sign on his house. He had passed, and his wife couldn’t go on with that property. The acres of trees and landscaping beyond her, and most anyone at that age. She took that oval Ford Taurus to a nursing home. Or maybe it was family. I honestly don’t remember. The car was grey though, but I remember thinking it looked better in the red, and the radio was weird but futuristic. The car itself was oddly purportioned, all bulbous, and alien looking. Sort of sci-fi. For the time it was kind of cool. Different anyway from what it was before. Star Trek shuttle pod if you sorta angled your head down and looked up at it and let you imagination run wild. For 14 year old, car obsessed, Star Trek nerd me, it worked.
Other things I like
I like driving. 8 or 9 year old me was thrilled to be driving a 1940s tractor on a farm. It was driving. Even better was the newer 1970s John Deer that was the good tractor. Sometimes I’d get to drive that and the power steering was a revelation. It wasn’t fast or anything, but the power to just drive over anything. Or scoop up something with it’s front loader. It was great. I used to work on this farm for summer jobs. The family was great, and the farmer kind of took me in. I used to go over there and just do whatever. Tractors were the best part. But he was a beef farmer. He had livestock to tend to. Hay to grow, and harvest to feed them. Acres of land for them to graze. Calfs that needed naming. Barns that needed cleaning. Grass that needed cutting. Farm work for the young farm hand. The treat was when I’d get to drive the tractor.
I’d accompany that farmer everywhere. Barry was his name. He worked at a GM factory for most of his life while he built his farm. He had a wife and family. His children grown and out of the house. Or mostly anyway. His youngest had moved back home. He had a white Dodge Dart, from the 60s, and it had some kind of police package motor so it made V8 noises. Was kinda cool, but smelled a little funny. Sunbaked decades old vinyl seats is not a good smell. But it was still fun to go for rides with him as he’d speed along country roads.
So I got to know the whole family really well. His wife was really nice. She’d sorta watch out for me and I’d sometimes chat with her. I was too young to do some of the farm work, and I started just being in the main house while some of the more tractor intensive duties were carried out. They had a pool, which I loved. And his wife would make me snacks. She was diabetic, so she had to eat multiple times a day, and very carefully to keep her insulin managed. Her food was good though. She liked to bake. Small cinnamon rolls where her specialty. Those were for us non diabetics. And I could plow into those.
Barry would bring me to the house when the work got too dangerous. As much as I found bailing hail interesting and thought I could do it, he was not about to let a 8 year old run that. I’d sit beside him as he operated the equipment. He’d show me how to do it safely. I understood how to connect different attachments and what not. Trailers were fine. Cotter pins no prob. Grease a few nipples, on it. But to really operate the front loader, or one of the power attachments, that was never happening without Barry right beside me. And it was understood by young me. I had seen the shock farm accident videos they used to show kids in schools. I knew that thing could easily take an arm and wasn’t about to try running it alone.
That red 1940s tractor was fun though. Not too big. At least approachable to a young me. It was all metal. Solidly so. Probably weighed several tonnes in iron and steel. The seat was metal. Everything was durable, built to last, something almost Victorian in it’s approach. It was all manual. Manual gearbox, brakes, steering. No hydraulic assists. Nothing really to go wrong. Designed to survive the elements and the tasks on a farm, for a long while. It probably still runs today.
That tiny tractor (by modern terms) could pull a trailer fully loaded with round hay bails across farms fields. And at harvest, that’s what I would get to do. Drive that tractor trailer. Barry would gather up the bails with the bigger John Deer and load them onto the trailer that I was driving. We’d go back to the barn where it was off loaded then back again to the fields. I loved that so much. I felt like I was doing real work, and I was driving.
The cows were good too. They are really friendly creatures once you get to know them. They kind of come up and respond to you as a greeting. You can scratch their heads, they love that; and the calfs can be playful. They sorta hop run along while the mother cows plod through grasses. You talk to them and they do sort of moo back. And look at you with those big round eyes. They are engaged with you, cognizant of your presence. Of coarse, there is the sad guilt you feel that they will eventually be eaten. The goal of any good farmer is too make their short life be as problem free as possible. Keep them well feed and protected. In a way you love them, and want the best for them. A happy cow is good meat.
So you view the cows for what they are. Food. But you also love them for what they are, life. Living being, sharing this planet with us. They feel fear, or joy. Eat, and sleep. Grow older, and die. Maybe have children. Or don’t. They experience living, and we decided they taste good too. And they do. The things you can do with ground beef are endless, and a dry aged steak, or just a good cut of meat, impressive. A flavour all it’s own. Cow.
I was aware of that then, as a child, talking to the cows. They would one day be on my plate. It always made me feel a little bit odd around them. Like we both knew what their fate had in store. There was no getting around the fences and I was on the other side. They were never going to be free, and they knew it. And I wondered if they knew too they would be eaten. Or did their limited intelligence shield them from that ugly truth. Did they simply not remember that one day all the older, bigger cows disappeared. Or that half their calfs were gone within weeks of being born. Did they not mind that almost all the population were female and the males were either castrated or kept separated from them. Did they not think it odd they could not mate in the normal manner, but always with the same, aggressive and likely insane bull let out of segration only a few times a year. I hope they are too stupid and pacified to notice. We’re killing and eating them. Can they smell that on my breath?
Painting summer camps and buying bell shares
That’s another job I did one summer. Did that with my brother and his friend Rob. Think I was 15. There was this campground up in the Laurentien mountains that need a few building painted. Mostly the administrative offices. It was a summer camp. Children from the cities would come there to be in nature for a few weeks. I did a summer camp once as a child and hated it. Barely lasted a few days before my parents had to come pick me up, early; yet somehow these kids could do multiple weeks. I guess their days looked fun, these wild and rambunctious kids set free into the woods with minimal adult supervision. They would charge from their cabins each day screaming and cheering as they ran to whatever activity, trailed along by some bored teenaged councillor. It was precisely that that I hated when I was a kid. This sort of unstructured structured mess where kids rule kids we call summer camp. Anyway, we had to paint one.
It involved striping off old paint and a lot of sanding. The job was a bit of bore really. But we had music. And we’d chat. My brother and Rob would try to out do each other with stories of their sexual escapades. Like really getting into details, describing the women intimate regions, how they had exactly gotten into the sex act, that kind of thing. It was all a bit much for my virginal self. That and being gay, and too shy to admit it, rendered me mute through most of the sex talk. But we spent a summer doing painting, and I made some good money. 700 just off that campground, and we did a Church and a few other jobs after that. I bought my first bell stocks with that money. An investment I’m living off of today.
The stock did exceedingly well. Split twice and at one point had some Nortel shares too. Nortel tanked but I still had BCE. That I held onto. I still have the original shares I bought, but I did cash out most of the dividends.
So back to work before I cash that out too. Main dilemma is do I work at Dédé’s job, or actually try to find a job elsewhere. And if I chose elsewhere, I have to write a resume. But for what job? What do I want to do for a day job? I’m honestly not too sure.