Last weekend saw me back at the farm trying to complete my farmwork hours as slowly as humanly possible. We volunteers meandered our way to the field in question, which turned out to be the winter squash patch. My smile immediately disappeared. That was the last thing I wanted to help harvest. I already have a small pile of winter squash and no plans for them whatsoever.
The tasks were assigned to two groups: the Lucky and the Unlucky. The Lucky got to locate the squash and then clip their stems. The Unlucky got to pack them into crates and carry them halfway across the field to the pickup truck. Can you guess which group I was in?
Man, those bins were heavy. After the first few trips, I tried to fill them up only halfway to make it easier on myself, but then one of the other helpful volunteers would helpfully stick a few more in there to fill the headspace. Thanks, I said. Thanks on behalf of my imminent groin pull.
It was made all the more difficult by the hundreds of twiny squash vines that were conspiring to trip me in retaliation for all the bad press last winter. Squash are vindictive. Still, I wasn’t about to look like a wuss in front of the Farmer. I tried to summon one of the more encouraging voices in my head to spur me along. She was sleeping on the job, as usual:
Me: Run away.
Me: I can’t. Everyone will see.
Me: You’re going to hurt yourself.
Me: Pipe down. These are the sacrifices you have to make for love.
Me: At least lift with your legs.
Me: I am lifting with my legs.
Me: No, you’re lifting with your back.
Me: My knees are bent, see?
Me: But you’re still bending at the waist.
Me: How the fuck am I supposed to pick up the crate if I don’t bend at the waist a little?
See? So encouraging.
At some point I lost all feeling in my arms, so I just started promising sexual favors to anyone who would carry the crates I had just filled over to the truck. Armless sexual favors, I guess. You know the kind. The takers were not who I had hoped for.